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Litchfield, CT City Guide {UPDATE}

Photos by Jacque Lynn Schiller

Today’s Litchfield, CT City Guide Update comes from Jacque Lynn Schiller, a writer and the co-creator of the goods and get-togethers design studio, larks & japes. One year ago, she happily made the transition from weekender to full-time resident of the Northwest Hills with her mister, Tom. In this update, Jacque takes us through the scenic parts of this East Coast haven. Thank you, Jacque, for this wonderful (and fall colored) guide! — Stephanie


Read the full city guide after the jump . . .

“I’ll be your girl for all seasons, all the year through. Your girl for all seasons, ’cause I love, yes I love to be everything to you, just you.” — The Pink Ladies

That’s right, I just dropped a Grease 2 reference in this Litchfield guide. Weren’t expecting that one, I bet. And that’s the point I’d like to make. If you’re aware of bucolic Litchfield County, located just 100 miles north of NYC, it’s likely for its (well-deserved) reputation for stellar leaf peeping and apple picking. Fall is stunning, and name a New England cliché, and you will find it here in abundance: covered bridges, colonials, cardigans. But did you know that there’s also a winter CT wine trail? County fairs, rummage sales and greenmarkets? Fly-fishing and a Junior Olympics ski jump competition?

If seeking the Connecticut of a certain classic Christmas film or Mr. Blandings’ dream house, head up the Saw Mill, hop the Harlem Valley MTA line or mosey down Route 7, and there it is. Just know there’s also a modern, sophisticated side with yoga studios, art galleries and restaurants dedicated to sustainable food.

Each little town is big on character, so this guide is by no means exhaustive. This is also purposeful, as I want to encourage you to poke around and take the scenic route. Just don’t tell the locals that I let you in on the secret.

To make the mapping more manageable, I broke things down into four quadrants moving clockwise. Pick a corner, any corner. Pick a season, any season . . .

NW

Eat & Drink

@ the corner

Muffins in the morning, a glass of wine at night. New American cuisine with a bustling bar scene.

Bantam Bistro

New American, seasonal dishes in a sophisticated but inviting space.

Black Rabbit Bar & Grill

Casual atmosphere but well-executed plates. Start with house-made chips with truffle oil.

Bohemian Pizza — 342 Bantam Road Litchfield, CT (860) 567-3980

Humongous pies, kitschy décor and a bar popular with the locals. Unpretentious with a bonus double-sided fireplace.

Chaiwalla — Main Street Salisbury, CT (860) 435-9758

Honest tea brewed properly; sip a cup of Masala Chai while perusing the dessert table. But look away from Devil’s Food Cake. In case I stop in, I’m calling dibs.

Caro Caffe — 9 Calkinstown Road, off Route 41 Sharon, CT (860)364-0879

Some of the best focaccia we’ve ever eaten, and if you’re lucky, lemon-spiked rice pudding will be available.

Doc’s

A modern take on Italian classics. The porch is divine in the summer, as is the Sicilian lemonade.

Fife and Drum

Stop in for a caesar salad as Dolph Traymon tickles the ivories.

Le Laurentis Brasserie

Authentic French cuisine in an atrium setting. This place knows their floating islands, and the house wine is sold, at a fantastic price, by carafe. Oui!

Mockingbird

Truly creative cuisine in the cozy old Tollgate Inn, vegetarians will also be pleased to find many phenomenal plates sans meat.

O’Hara’s Landing

This one’s off the beaten path but worth the trip for the view and pancakes. This funky little throwback overlooks Twin Lakes and is a favorite of boaters and land lovers alike.

Pastorale

An elegant, warm setting with a cheerful atmosphere (especially at the bar), the standard bistro fare is elevated here to extraordinary through the use of local produce and inspired ingredients. Case in point, Vanilla Lemongrass Pot de Crème.

Peaches n’ Cream — 632 Torrington Rd Litchfield, CT 860) 496-7536

Homemade ice cream, friendly service and creative flavors. The sorbets are also excellent.

The Country Bistro

Squeeze in to the quaint dining room for delectable French-American comfort food and an amazing — and very popular — brunch.

When Pigs Fly South — 29 West Main Street, Sharon, CT (860) 492-0000

Tiny digs but big BBQ flavor. As a Texan I can attest that they’re doing it right.

Antiques, Boutiques & Books

Barbara Farnsworth, Bookseller

Two floors of bibliophile heaven, especially those interested in horticulture and cuisine. (Closed during the winter months.)

B. Johnstone & Co. — 4 North Main Street Kent, CT (860) 927-1272

Upscale apparel and thoughtfully curated vintage collectibles. If you’re in the market for a deco cocktail shaker or designer label, you’re likely to find it here.

Backcountry Outfitters

Gear and apparel for active outdoor adventures (leisure ones, too).

Darren Winston Books and Prints — 81 Main Street, Sharon, CT (860) 364-1890

The namesake bookseller has an eye for treasures, making the hunt for eclectic ephemera effortless but no less fun.

Heron American Craft Gallery

Specializing in artisan-made ceramics, glass and jewelry, there’s also a nice selection of clothing.

Ian Ingersoll Cabinetmakers

Simply beautiful, expertly crafted Shaker furniture.

Jeffrey Tillou Antiques

A showcase of period antiques and fine arts, the museum-quality pieces here are impressive and a wee bit intimidating. Fortunately, the owner is not. Look, touch and, by all means (if you have the means), buy!

Kitchenworks & Gourmet Gifts

You need not be a cook to appreciate the vast number of gadgets and equipment found here. A go-to source for quality products when entertaining or being entertained, this is hostess-gift heaven.

Oliphant

Big, bold jewelry designs — look for the eye-popping orange signage.

Pauline’s Place

Dazzling estate and antique jewelry to encourage any romantic notions, apropos a proposal.

R. Derwin Clothiers

Tweeds, waxed cotton and wool — oh my! Look the part of a Yankee Doodle Dandy or Lady Who Lunches, Connecticut style, in smartly understated bespoke clothing and preppy ready to wear.

R.T. Facts

We were once tempted to purchase an old fun house mirror, if that gives any indication of the surprising relics turned objet d’art you might discover here.

The Wish House

An eclectic array of house wares, apparel and children’s gifts. There’s a gallery of local artist’s work in the back and a greenmarket on the lawn in summer.

Farm, Artisanal & Specialty Foods

Belgique Chocolatier

Fit for the queen and a number of presidents, Belgique’s whimsically shaped pralines are superb, and the hot chocolate is a necessary winter indulgence.

Dutch Epicure

Your pantry could use more spaetzle and morning toast, a sprinkle of vlok feest. Eet smakelijk!

Ellsworth Hill Orchard & Berry Farm

A pick-your-own berry bonanza, with plum-plucking, apple-cidering and corn-mazing, too.

J.P. Gifford Market & Catering

A small grocery and delicatessen stocked with choice foods, baked goods and meals made from scratch. Fill your Kent Falls picnic baskets here.

Kent Coffee & Chocolate Company

A dizzying assortment of candies paired with the best grounds around.

Paley’s Farm Market

“The Good Earth Farm” is known for its sweet corn and heirloom-abundant garden center. Your window box ready for a refill? Their annuals are phenomenal.

Rustling Wind Creamery

For the love of cheese! Cows’ milk Cheshire, an herbed goat spread — all of the enticing wedges are made on site with natural ingredients. You’d be wise to purchase a jar of pure maple cream, as well.

Gardens & Florists

Kent Greenhouse and Gardens

I can’t drive past this nursery without being compelled to stop. One can never have too many hostas! From landscaping trees to flowering shrubs, green inspiration surrounds.

Trade Secrets (usually held in May)

THE garden lovers event of the year, dealers tender rare plants and unusual accessories while special talks and tours raise funds for Women’s Support Services.

Cultural Interest & Attractions

Morrison Gallery

Contemporary collectors flock to this light-filled space, ideal for contemplating large installations and paintings. Open year round, receptions are as much social occasions as a celebration of the arts.

Music Mountain

Since the 1930s, beautiful chamber music has been made in this intimate woodland setting. During the summer, Saturday nights feature jazz concerts and star gazing (of the celestial variety).

Ober Gallery

Known primarily for showing important and contemporary Russian art.

Tri-Arts at Sharon Playhouse

Broadway plays and original musicals performed by regional community actors, often to a sold out room. There’s a lot of talent in these Hills.

White Gallery

Showing the works of well-known artists in the practice of abstract paintings, photography and sculpture.

Play Outside

Appalachian Trail

The “longest continuously marked footpath in the world,” the picturesque trek between Georgia and Maine cuts through the northwest corner of Connecticut.

Audubon Sharon

Fascinating workshops and easily negotiable hiking trails. The maple sugar shack is an educational sweet treat, and the raptor aviaries thrill. Owls!

The Bicycle Tour Company

Really get to know the rural and rolling landscape with a custom-tailored or self-guided two-wheeled trip.

Bulls Bridge

A historic bridge and a serious waterfall, just down from where the ice breaks in the spring.

Clarke Outdoors

Paddle your way or white water raft down a dramatic section of the Housatonic River.

Lee’s Riding Stables

Whether back in the saddle or your first time in the ring, a horseback ride makes for a relaxing, memorable afternoon.

Lourdes in Litchfield

An enchanting replica sanctuary of the French pilgrimage site, this serene hillside grotto includes a café and one-of-a-kind gift shop.

Mohawk Mountain Ski Area

If you grew up in the area, this is likely where you strapped on your first pair of skis. Lessons are available for those late to the sport (raises hand), or try your duck feet at snowboarding. Fourteen light trails are available for night carving and butt plants.

Lime Rock Park & Skip Barber Racing School

That’s not thunder you’re hearing but the roar of engines from this world-class venue nestled in a majestic setting. From NASCAR stock car races to a “Sunday in the Park” vintage Concours, both seasoned motor sportsmen and novices will appreciate the scenery on and off the track.

Regarding the school, “The racetrack is the perfect intersection of adolescence and adult continuing education. Learn to go fast, very fast, from the best instructors on one of America’s most storied road courses,” so says a friend with a need for speed.

White Memorial Conservation Center

Environmental Education Center and wildlife sanctuary situated on 4,000 pretty acres of fields, wetlands and woodlands with campgrounds and facilities for recreational pursuits.

Lodging & Spas

Breadloaf Mountain

An historic lodge and adorable but luxurious cottages, the property boasts an Orvis-endorsed outfitter, Houstaonic Meadows Fly Shop.

Cathedral Pines Farm

Llamas, lilacs and period antiques at a beautiful 18th century-style farmhouse.

Charym

This heath and yoga center focuses on wellness through holistic therapies in a reclaimed structure befitting its Bhutanese name’s meaning.

Ellora

Spa and sanctuary at Interlaken Inn offering skin care, massage and pilates classes.

The Falls Village Inn

Graceful Connecticut Inn with an interior designed by Bunny Williams. The tavern is cozy, and the wrap-around porch is delightful when it’s warm out.

The Inn at Kent Falls

Chic B&B that fulfills the “weekend in the country” Connecticut fantasy but with unexpected touches, such as pilates instruction and an outdoor pool.

The Sharon Country Inn

Remodeled rooms in a bucolic setting near many attractions.

NE

Eats & Drinks

Blue Sky Foods

Seafood and awesome burgers are served with a sense of humor at this quirky landlocked beach cottage. BYOB.

Chatterley’s

An appealing Victorian dining room with a New American menu.

The Green Room

The folks behind the fender blender whip up crazy-tasty victuals on a daily basis. Check out their grilled peanut butter sandwiches with choice of toppings. Trust.

Las Delicias Latina — 433 Main Street Torrington, CT (860) 462-8833

Park on the street, grab a beer from the freezer and dip into a bowl of fresh salsa. Completely unassuming, an example of better Mexican food since leaving my home state of Texas.

Rocket Fine Street Food (truck)

Track down these guys for rich mac-n-cheese, though I’d bet that whatever’s on the locally sourced, fresh-made board will be scrumptious.

Station Place — 10 Station Place Norfolk, CT (860) 542-2555

Just up the hill from Infinity Hall is a tiny café dishing up gourmet soups, salads and sandwiches, all house-made with fresh ingredients. The coffee also deserves a mention.

The Venetian

Classic Italian in time-warped rooms you must see to believe. Forty years of experience makes for consistently good, homemade pasta plates.

Antiques, Boutiques & Books

Collinsville Antique Center of New Hartford

Gigantic complex with over 100 dealers representing every kind of antique and vintage ware imaginable. Sometimes you just doesn’t know what you want until you see it. Get to searching.

Joseph Stannard Antiques

Impeccable French Country imports and a “savvy classic” line from the owner/artist himself.

Remember When

A little bit of every era, from Victorian times to the 1970s, is on display here. The original and restored lighting section is particularly interesting. Upstairs, you’ll sometimes find a speakeasy. Shhh . . .

Still River Antiques

Remarkable and extensive collection of Hitchcock furniture.

Farm, Artisanal & Specialty Foods

Freund’s Farm Market and Bakery

Fresh-baked homemade goods line the shelves inside while cowpots keep the plants happy outside and in the greenhouse.

Nodine’s Smokehouse

Bring a link of their andouille sausage to your next backyard barbecue, and a return invite is guaranteed. The smoked provolone is another sure hit.

Passiflora Tea Room & Café

Herbal apothecary and tearoom offering organic nourishment and a soothing nook to read.

Sweet Williams Bakery

Popular cookies, including ginger molasses, but we’re also fans of the sour cream streusel.

Cultural Interest

Gilson Café Cinema

Dinner and a movie (as in during), the perfect date all in one.

Infinity Music Hall & Bistro

Housed inside a spectacularly shingled Victorian opera house, both the entertainment schedule and dining menu offer an incredible variety.

Motherhouse

Offers a monthly series of workshops devoted to rediscovering rural wisdom.

Warner Theatre

Authentic, resplendently restored Art Deco hall with diverse programming ranging from touring Broadway and children’s productions to big name acts. If you have a minute before a show, next-door Backstage has more than 20 craft brews on tap.

Play Outside

Aer Blarney Balloons

I haven’t been brave enough to try this yet, but friends who have raved about the encounter. Says the outfit, “Every season offers a special uniqueness and beauty, which makes flying in a balloon a perfect year-round endeavor.”

Farmington River Tubing

Having grown up on a river, I was thrilled to learn of a nearby opportunity to shoot the rapids. Granted, the water temperature is a bit cooler, but a wild, refreshing ride nonetheless.

Loon Meadow Farm

Dash through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh.

Main Stream Canoe

If you’d rather paddle the clean and clear Farmington River, here’s where to book a trip downstream in kayak or canoe.

Pleasant Valley Drive-In Theatre

They still exist! There’s nothing like catching a flick — make that two, all showings are double features — from the upholstered recline of your own seat car, old-school style. Let’s all go to the lobby.

Ski Sundown

Well groomed with decent-length trails and a 625-foot steep vertical drop. There’s a separate area for kids and moonlit sessions with unbeatable views.

Lodging & Spas

Old Riverton Inn

Turn back the clock at this Nationally Registered Historic stagecoach inn. Chock-full of antiques and character, the meals are terrific, and the owners are helpful and pleasant.

Rock Hall Luxe Lodging

A fully restored Mediterranean Revival Estate, this is boutique lodging at its best. Every detail has received attention, from the immaculately manicured grounds to the wood-burning fireplaces in each room. The spa and wellness services are said to be spectacular.

The Manor House

Tiffany windows, a library and a heated sunroom are just a few of the wonderful aspects of this Victorian Tudor B&B. Recognized as a “Romantic Hideaway,” The Manor House is a member of the distinguished inns of North America.

SE

Eats & Drinks

Carole Peck’s Good News Café

The celebrated restaurant of cookbook author and chef Carole Peck and her husband, Bernard Jarrier, the interior is as colorful as she is and the menu just as imaginative, with an emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients. Even the salads are brilliantly conceived.

Dottie’s Diner — 740 Main St S Woodbury, CT (203) 263-2545

The chicken potpie is home-cooked fabulousness, but it’s the doughnuts that warrant a jig.

The Woodward House

Splendid New American in a striking 1700s Saltbox. The three-course comfort menu — hello, risotto! — is a great value.

Antiques, Boutiques & Books

Artisans Guild

Hand-made crafts, demos and art from more than 30 local artists.

Farm Fresh Home — 107 Main Street North Woodbury (203) 263-6400

The owner has a knack for repurposing old effects, such as farm paraphernalia, into conversation pieces. Artisan-made and custom pieces in the same eco-friendly vein also abound.

George Champion Modern Shop

Pristine Herman Miller in the middle of the country. Indeed.

Jennings & Rohn

Seventeenth- to twentieth-century sundry curios, décor and collectibles.

Mill House Antiques

Fine English and American antiques, specializing in 18th- and 19th-century furniture.

Monique Shay

Exemplary French-Canadian furniture, decorative arts and objects.

Wayne Mattox

A second-generation antiques dealer and expert in American furniture and folk art with “historic appeal.” The engaging Mr. Mattox likewise directs a lively auction.

Woodbury

Woodbury is known as the Antiques Capital of Connecticut, and as the categories sold run the gamut, this directory may prove useful.

Farm, Artisanal & Specialty Foods

Collinsville Baking Company

I double-dog dare you not to eat at a carb company renowned for fresh rolled, nothing artificial everything — biscotti, bialys and bread.

March Farm

Three generations and growing strong. Veggies, fruits and a market carrying other locally made products, such as Goatboy soaps. Oh yes, and cider donuts. PYO berries, peaches and apples.

Litchfield Hills Blueberry Farm

Find your thrill on 30 acres of blueberry hills. Ten varieties of Violet Beauregarde’s downfall can be your reward, no expansion necessary.

The Pasta Gallery

Fresh pasta nirvana.

Woodbury Sugar Shed

If you happen to be in the area during tapping time (typically March), stop in for a demo. As the maple trees can be fickle, it’s best to call ahead (203-263-4550), but produced syrup is available at all times.

Gardens & Florists

Cricket Hill Garden

It’s all about the peony — the variety here will take your breath away.

White Flower Farm

Retail store of the drool-worthy catalog. Exquisite grounds transport you into a world of tranquility and botanical inspiration, perhaps with a wheelbarrow of envy.

Cultural Interest

Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden

Landmark property with an intriguing history, the formal gardens contain notable roses and lilacs.

Glebe House Museum & Gertrude Jekyll Gardens

“Birthplace of the Episcopal Church in the New World and graced by the only extant American garden planned by England’s most venerated designer.” Circa 1750.

Naugatuck Railroad Museum

All aboard, railroad enthusiasts and fall-foliage fanatics. Take a heritage-filled ride through the dramatic countryside in a vintage car. Reservations for special holiday trips, such as the Northern Lights Limited to Santa’s Workshop, fill up fast (860-283-RAIL).

Thomaston Opera House

A grand hall, the Marr & Colton Theater organ is a point of pride for area residents and the many people who participate in regional-based theater throughout the year.

Play Outside

Flanders Nature Center

Promoting the understanding and appreciation of nature, this important land trust possesses (and shares) hikes along arresting trails.

Woodbury Ski Area

Ski in the winter, zorb in the summer. That’s right. The phenomenon has reached the hills of Connecticut.

Lodging & Spas

Longwood Country Inn

Exceptional New England meals, antique decor and fashionably appointed chambers equate to lavishness without the stodge factor.

Winvian

Fantasyland. Seriously. Ever wanted to sleep in a helicopter? Probably not, because where on earth could you? Here. Should you opt out of staying the night, gawkers are welcome for dinner or a drink overlooking the sprawling property.

SW

Eats & Drinks

Clamp’s Route 202, New Milford, CT (near Marbledale)

No sign, but a damn good burger. This little roadside stand has been around since the ‘30s and is loved for its attitude (open only in summer, closes promptly at 2pm) and daily-butchered beef.

Community Table

Minimalism extends from design to the concept of the menu. There are no heavy sauces to hide behind here, allowing the vibrant flavor of daily-procured ingredients to sing. Chef Joel Viehland seems to be setting the new standard for sustainable, inventive Connecticut cooking.

G.W. Tavern

I’m not sure if Washington actually slept here, but he definitely would have approved of the American fare, like the Meatloaf and Cobb Salad. Check their website for live entertainment, best enjoyed from the patio overlooking the Shepaug River.

The Hopkins Inn

With a magnificent panoramic view of Lake Waramaug, waitresses in Austrian garb, and a plate brimming with backhendl and lingonberries, you’ll be transported to the Alps. Take home a bottle of the famous house dressing.

Marty’s Cafe

Sip a latte and spy some art (and maybe a celebrity or two).

Oliva Cafe

The recently revamped menu retains outstanding staples, such as Sweet Potato Gnocchi ala Romana, while new dishes with a North African influence are sure to become favorites. The Old World setting, liberal use of herbs and ubiquitous oil make for a memorable meal. And that’s not just the wine talking.

White Horse Pub

An Anglophile Indian motorcyclist’s dream. Settle in for some prime rib on the deck overlooking Aspetuck River, or dine on a genuine tavern table from the 16th century.

Antiques, Boutiques & Books

Bank Street Book Nook

Who doesn’t love an independent bookseller, selling indie titles, no less?

Bantam Tileworks

Handcrafted tiles in astonishing color palettes. Rethink your bathroom, make over a table, maybe take up the game of chess — they create cool boards.

Dawn Hill Antiques

An essential source of reference and inspiration for Swedish antiques and French furniture in original condition. The bright shop carries pleasingly patinaed garden appointments, as well.

Dynamite Angel

Funky pre-loved and vintage clothing, many designer items among the mix.

Elephant’s Trunk Country Flea Market

Sundays since 1976 (April–November), this verdant field is given over to dealers hawking everything from vintage tchotchkes and house plants to cottage furniture, military memorabilia and old signs. So basically, a little of everything. Get their morning-mist early, fill your thermos and begin your rummage. There’s no such thing as junk at the Trunk!

H. A. Dunne

If you’re a fan of black and white photography, especially of New York City, or collectible paper items in general, here’s a fount of posters and prints made from original negatives.

J. Seitz & Co.

With a discerning eye for the decorative, this specialty retailer of “distinctive furniture, home accents, clothing for men and women, jewelry, gifts, and folk art” overlooks a waterfall, to boot.

Pergola Home

Gorgeous layout and artful botanical displays of “natural curiosities [that] offers a highly sensual shopping experience for home & garden.”

Privet House

An emporium of the extraordinary brought to you by the Lambertson Truex designer and antiques maven and neighbor Suzanne Cassano. The swell duo offer a plethora of beautifully merchandised objects found abroad and locally, such as dbO Home pottery.

The Housatonic Trading Company

“An eclectic selection of unique objects, artworks, antique & vintage furniture acquired from across the country and around the globe intermixed with new handmade high quality furniture and accessories.” What they said.

Food Shops

Bantam Bread

A bottle of red, a wedge of cheese, a loaf of BB’s kalamata olive sourdough and a chocolate truffle tart — my kind of square meal.

Maple Bank Farm

No matter the time of year, the cornucopia of natures’ bounty is mind blowing. It’s also one of the oldest family-run farms in the United States, stewarded by a Hurlbut since the 1700s.

The Pantry — 5 Titus Rd. Washington Depot, CT (860) 868-0258

Accoutrements for haute cuisine kitchens and backyard barbecues. After encountering a “have to have” utensil or selecting an exotic condiment, tuck into a generous slice of quiche or glorious bowl of soup.

The Smithy

This lovingly rebuilt blacksmith shop now functions as a resource for local agriculture, crafts and home implements. Highlights include Arethusa Farm dairy products, Boxed Goodes and Stone Wall vegetables.

Sugar Hoot Bake Shop

As if a mom-and-daughter-run bakery wasn’t cute enough, these enterprising gals also make sweet-as-can-be cupcakes and custom cakes in bold flavors and designs.

Sullivan Farm

Founded in 1841 as a “place to grow,” vegetables are tended along with the emotional needs of teens. Operated by the New Milford Youth Agency, there is fruit production and a maple sugar house.

Gardens & Florists

Angevine Christmas Tree Farm

The quintessential charm of harvesting your own Tannenbaum.

Cultural Interest

Bank Street Theater

Jewel art deco surroundings with surround sound. First-run films.

Bantam Cinema

Connecticut’s oldest continuously operating movie house, independent and art house releases are screened in this snug venue.

Institute for American Indian Studies

The longhouse classrooms and research library provide summer day camps and various workshops, exhibits and entertaining educational programs stressing the history and crafts of Native American Peoples.

Silo Hunt Hill Farm Trust

Cultural center, farm trust, gallery and cooking school co-founded by the late Skitch Henderson. An astounding range of classes along with the permanently protected public space make a visit here truly enlightening and unforgettable.

TheatreWorks

An award-winning, volunteer professional non-Equity theatre company, “City Arts on Pearl” now houses the single largest concentration of non-profit arts organizations in the state. Hartford’s off-Broadway.

Washington Art Association

High-caliber exhibits and studio courses from an endeavor spanning many decades and schools of art.

Play Outside

Gerard’s Canoe

Launch into Candlewood Lake and be freed from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Averill Farm

Opposite Lake Waramaug, the orchard-covered hills of this centuries-old farm offer hay rides, apple picking and a peerless view.

Sunny Valley Preserve

Almost 2,000 acres of sublime farmland, forests, wetlands and meadows — something for everyone, including open field hikes and fern glades.

Lodging & Spas

Mayflower Inn

Where the taste level reaches the rafters and valets are often seen parking Bentleys, this Relais & Chateaux spa resort spoils with unimaginable amenities. Holidays are an especially festive affair.

Rooster Tail Inn

Six natty suites located in the not-so-sleepy hamlet of Warren. There’s a gym, sitting room and welcoming tavern.

Good to Know

Buy CT Grown

Greenmarkets and farm stands, and keep an eye out for charming family-run stalls operating on the honor system.

Connecticut Wine Trail

Personal vineyard favorites include Sunset Meadows, Hopkins and Haight-Brown.

Got Kids?

Check mommypoppins for what to do in Connecticut with tots in tow.

Lakes

Row your boat or make a splash.

Libraries

Many of the libraries are a sight in and of themselves and often hold interesting talks and art exhibits.

NW Corner Arts Council

Valuable directory and calendar of upcoming events

Rural Intelligence

What’s happening in Litchfield and surrounding counties of Berkshire, Columbia and Dutchess.

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29 Comments

openhouse

what an AWESOME guide! I’m a born and bred southerner, but my family is originally from Litchfield and I just love that little place. Had no idea there was so much going on! Looking forward to getting back up there soon and marking a few of these great places off my list!

Meg

I grew up in Cornwall and am very impressed by this exhaustive list, well done!
I wanted to add, there is also Cream Hill Lake in West Cornwall where you can go sailing, swimming and fishing.

Sowilo

You had me at “Grease 2″, totally one of my guilty pleasures. I’m about to move to CT from Washington, DC, and this post was really great. I look forward to a blog about Bloomfield, (my future home)

Christine Catarino

There’s a new vintage and hand made shop called Serendipity on the main strip in Litchfield too. They carry such good gifty gems, it’s definitely a go-to now that the holiday season is upon us.

WoodsyWeddings

Thanks for the super-comprehensive guide! I’ve been wanting to visit New England forever (to see fall colors just like those featured here!) and when I finally do I hope I can stop in Litchfield. Somehow I bet autumn is just more autumn-y in Connecticut.

acornsquash

So glad to see the Dutch Epicure Shop & Carole Peck’s Good News Cafe. Also, rumor has it that Carole is the inspiration for “Sookie St. James” on The Gilmore Girls, which is supposedly based on the Litchfield Cty. community of Washington.

SP

This is a great overview! My family has owned the fife’n’drum restaurant mentioned in here for nearly 40 years. I am partial, yes, but Dolph Traymon, my grandfather, plays the piano every night there during dinner, and the author is right, the cesar salad made table side makes me homesick to even think about — Yummm!

Karen

Wow! I’ve been up to Litchfield several times and had no idea how many gems could be found. Thanks for a great guide, and inspiring me to poke around more!

Caroline

This is a great guide! Very complete, I was born and raised in CT and I do “heart” Connecticut! Wonderful choices for an amazing place. Litchfield County in fall is spectacular!

Erika

I went to high school in Litchfield. Its been at least a decade since I was there but it is great to see that so many of the businesses that were around then are still there! Also great to see so many new businesses joining their ranks. If you make it down to the New Preston area driving around lake Warmaug is really beautiful.

Karen

The Litchfield Historical Society is also a great place to visit and the other local historical societies can teach you a lot about the place you are visiting!

LLHH

I lived in Kent for a few years on Cobble Brook Farm, which would definitely be a nice addition to the list, at least to do a nice leisurely walk by. Fife n’ Drum was a great place, and I miss Kent dearly.

Bulls Bridge is nearby on Rte 7, too. Great covered bridge, kayaking, and trails.

Glory

Since these places are scattered, it would be nice if each point of interest also stated which town it was in – so we don’t have to click every link to see exactly where each place is.

But, great guide! Love Litchfield county and what a great time of year to feature this area!

Kelly

My boyfriend grew up in CT, and I went with him there for the first time in early Sept. I didn’t get to see fall in all of its glory like in the pics above (it was just starting, but we were there for Irene!), but what a beautiful place!

Adriana

I spent some of my favorite summers in Cornwall like 15 years ago. I´m from Spain and love so much this lovely place. The Cream Hill Lake and “Cadwell´s” where we use to go for breakfast. Miss so much all the lovely people…Bee and Marc Simont who is a georgeous local illustrator that has shown and share with me so many good things of life.
Maravilloso lugar, el paisaje, el modo de vida, la gente, la artesanía…. Besos desde España!!!!

Stacey

I would definitely add the West Street Grill in downtown Litchfield to this list. They’re driven by organic, locally sourced food and their cuisine is truly excellent.
Also Truelove Farm in Morris is awesome. They’re sustainable and all of their animals are grass fed etc. They’re super friendly and they’ll let you go into the coop to pick out your own eggs or chase their pigs.

Jess Pearson

Hurray! This is where I live! My favorite blog and my favorite place in the world have finally met.

Caroline

We used to have a house in Salisbury – such a great list! It’s not in CT but Harney Tea’s tasting room in Millerton, NY is nearby and worth a visit if you are in the area: http://www.harney.com/ Also, the tomato pie at Chaiwalla is a favorite.

Liza Oneglia

Arethusa Farm has by far and away the best ice cream and other dairy products made in Litchfield/ Bantam. Excellent list that we will definitely put to good use!

Meghan

We have had the pleasure of staying at Winvian and for anyone who doesn’t know about it, they should seriously check it out. It is like no other place in the world.

Jacque

Thanks, all, for additional recommendations! We’re still discovering on a weekly basis ourselves. Please keep the tips coming – and come for a visit!

Sarah

I must add Topsmead State Forest to this list, it is one of my favorite places to go in Litchfield. You can enjoy a hike, have a picnic and take in the beauty of nature. There is a lovely old house there and tours are available in the summer. I often go there, sit on the back terrace and imagine that I live there, it is absolutely dreamy.
Also, Husk, in Collinsville is a nice little restaurant!
http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?A=2716&Q=325076
http://www.huskct.com/

Bianca

Thank you Jacque,
I am so glad to see a site that does interconnect our so veratile and spread out living enviroment of Litchfield County since rural intelligence has ended doing so this year.
Cornwall for instance has such amazing number of authors and artists that often get featured at the Cornwall Libray cornwalllibrary.org .
“NEW YORK FROM THE AIR a story of architecture – text and maps by John Tauranac” is currently available at The Wish House and can be signed by John as one desires.
Have a tranquil Season,
Bianca

Keia

I am from CT and I love seeing my home state on my favorite blog! I haven’t visited some of these places since high school! What a pleasant mid morning piece to come across! Great job!

KDC

tabielle

Fantastic List! I might add, though it is technically in NY…The Moviehouse in Millerton is just over the border and offers a wide range of entertainment and cultural events. I’ve seen The MET Live in HD, National Theatre Live Plays, and they are now showing Indy and Art films in a new Screening Room-outfitted with couches and side tables just off the Cafe (serving Irving Farm Coffee and Harney & Sons Fine Teas)…a truly hidden gem on Main Street.

Naomi

I grew up in Cornwall and don’t live far from there now. It’s the best place on the planet. The other towns are great too, and I still have many friends and relatives who live in the area.

Liz

You will have to check out Foothills Delery in New Hartford. One of my favorite spots for lunch. It’s a husband and wife team cooking up creative sandwiches as well as fresh as can be bakery items.

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