On a winding road connecting Essex and Deep River are two protected areas, side by side. Smyth Sanctuary and Pratt Cove Preserve both overlook the freshwater marshes here that feed the Connecticut River. They are areas best explored by a kayak or canoe.
Pratt Cove Preserve was donated by Susan Haig and is managed by the Nature Conservancy. The preserve includes a short trail, along with a launch area. Despite being freshwater, the cove is tidal, with a current that looked fairly strong when I visited.
Across the street and slightly south, is the Smyth Sanctuary. This is a wooded area maintained by the Deep River Land Trust. There did not appear to be any trails, but a viewing platform provides an attractive view overlooking the marshlands that make their way to the Connecticut River.
Nature Conservancy: Pratt Cove
CT Coastal Access Guide: Pratt Cove