Things To Do With Kids In Litchfield County Ct
With tons of open space and charming New England main streets, Litchfield County is day-trip heaven for Connecticut families. Although its the states largest county, the northwestern corner of Connecticut has the lowest population density in the state. This makes it an ideal location to plan a family getaway without spending hours on the road.
From farms and flowers to skiing and skating, Litchfield County is the perfect spot to take a deep breath, recharge your batteries, and make some family memories.
2020 note: Several attractions will have or could implement reduced hours or capacity restrictions due to COVID-19, and many annual festivities and events are postponed to 2021. Be sure to check in with each venue before visiting, and pack your mask and be sure to follow social distancing guidelines whenever out in public.
From berries to apples, fruit is ripe for picking at Ellsworth Hill. Photo courtesy of Ellsworth Hill Orchard
And An Extra #: Autumn Colors
So what about the fall foliage? Leaf-peeping, as its sometimes known? I couldnt possibly write about Litchfield Hills highlights mentioning the change of seasons.
After all, experiencing the colors of autumn is a primary driver of visitors to the area. And for good reason! New England is known for fantastic displays of red, orange, and yellow leaves, and the Litchfield Hills doesnt disappoint visitors.
But heres the thing: Everything on this list, with the exception of skiing, is more beautiful, and more impressive if you come in September or October. Youll LOVE the drive to out-of-the-way Thorncrest Farm because youll pass fantastic scenes along the way.
Campbell Falls is fabulous when nestled among the colors of fall. You cant make it to Arethusa Dairy without passing by beautiful vistas. You wont be the only ones appreciating the areas beauty, but it will be worth every bit of hassle.
And the other parts of the year? Lets just say the area isnt lacking in charm, great food, and a multitude of activities to keep visitors entertained.
Looking for more information to plan your trip to the Litchfield Hills? Check out our Litchfield Hills travel guide for more ideas on eating, activities, and lodging.
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Best Things To Do In Litchfield Ct
Visit Litchfield in Northwest Connecticut to experience the vibe of a classic 18th century New England town.
Originally named Bantam, Litchfield was incorporated in 1719 and subsequently became the seat of its namesake county.
There are many points of interest in Litchfield, as it also includes several unincorporated villagesMilton, East Litchfield, and Northfieldand the borough of Bantam.
In addition, Litchfield covers part of the 947-acre Bantam Lake, Connecticuts largest natural lake.
Many historical places in this town figured prominently during the American Revolutionary War.
The Continental Army maintained two military store depots and a workshop in Litchfield from 1776 to 1780.
The leaden statue of George III, torn down in New York City in 1776, was brought to Litchfield and melted into bullets for the American revolutionary army.
Tracing more of such historical trivia alone can liven up a visit to Litchfield, as this list of 15 things to do in this town suggests.
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View The Daffodils At The Laurel Ridge Farm
Visit Litchfield in late April or early May for a chance to see the amazing daffodils in full bloom at the Laurel Ridge Farm on Wigwam Road.
The Laurel Ridge Foundation opens this daffodil field to the public for viewing each spring.
The Morosani family of Litchfield started cultivation of daffodils in their farm Laurel Ridge in 1941 and has continued since then.
They even have daffodils planted on an island in the farms large pond, further enhancing the beautiful sight of the flowers in bloom.
Admission is free on this working farm, with cattle fenced off in nearby pastures adding to a refreshing rural atmosphere.
Relax At The Tapping Reeve Meadow
The outdoor space surrounding the Tapping Reeve House is a popular community gathering place for events in Litchfield.
This site is perfect with its historic landscape developed with several charming elements.
Tapping Reeve Meadow flaunts an education pavilion, a childrens garden, a small orchard, a wet meadow, a chestnut grove, stone walls, and traditional fencing.
The community activities held here are typically kid-friendly, such as outdoor story-telling sessions by the towns KidsPlay volunteers.
Scavenger hunts and bocce ball games, plus scarecrow displays during Halloween are also among the events usually held at the Tapping Reeve Meadow.
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Fun Fall Activities To Do With Kids In Litchfield County Connecticut
There are so many opportunities for fall fun in Litchfield County. Apple picking, hiking, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches always hit the mark. Enjoy this list of fun things to do in Litchfield County and for even more fall fun, check out our CT Fall Fun and Halloween Guide.
1. Go apple picking at scenic Averill Farm in Washington Depot. This family farm, which has been operated continuously by the Averills since it was purchased in 1746 from the holdings of Chief Waramaug, is a favorite of the locals. Perfect way to start a beautiful Fall day. After picking a bushel, try their fresh cider doughnuts with hot apple cider and enjoy the views from their outdoor seating area. See our post on other great apple picking farms in the Litchfield area.
2. Experience a replicated Algonkian Village at the Institute for American Indian Studies. I love walking through their trails which have lots of interesting information about the plants and trees and how the Native Americans used them.
3. Watch a costume parade with a real marching band and enjoy carnival-type games, kids’ crafts, a petting zoo, professional face painting, and hay wagon rides during Sharon Audubon Kids’ Day. After the parade, find your way through a hay bale maze that’s been constructed from 100 hay bales. Best for kids in pre-k to 2nd grade. .
Macricostas Preserve. Photo courtesy of Steep Rock Association
Originally published 9/23/11.
Where To Stay In Litchfield County
The Mayflower Grace in Washington offers 25 antiques-decorated rooms and suites, plus several cottages scattered around the property. As a bonus, the formal dining room and more relaxed taproom are among the regions best dining options.
The White Hart in Salisbury, another Yankee favorite, is a classic 19th-century country inn complete with a wide porch perfectly situated for sunset-watching. The 16-room inn has been restored under the leadership of high-profile investors including writer Malcolm Gladwell and artist Jasper Johns, and the on-site restaurant has been critically acclaimed by everyone from The New York Times and Condé Nast Traveler to Bon Appétit.
The Milestone Inn in Woodbury blends timeless sophistication with modern flair in a comfortable environment. Pet-friendly rooms are available.
Legends on the Farmington in Barkhamsted, meanwhile, offers a classic fishing lodge experience thats right out of an Orvis catalog: The six B& B rooms are steps from the trout-filled Farmington Rivers best dry-fly hole, and fishing guides are available. But with a plethora of other outdoor pursuits nearby, guests are lured by the cozy vibe even if they never intend to cast a line.
What are your favorite things to do in Litchfield County?
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.
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Get Ice Cream At Arethusa Dairy
Everyone has their guilty pleasure, right? Some of my friends are on the lookout for the best donut in the country, while others seek amazing cocktails. Maybe its barbecue, fudge, steak, or cupcakes? For us, its ice cream.
We regularly drive an hour out of our way for the perfect scoop, and seek our out favorites in all corners of the globe. Were devoted ice cream eaters, and weve got waistlines to prove it. So let me say that the ice cream at Arethusa Dairy is one of the best Ive tasted in New England. Youll find it in Bantam, CT.
One lick and youll agree: its impossibly silky smooth. Perhaps thats due to 16% butterfat? Super premium is what they call it. I cant disagree. If you feel compelled to pay your respects to the cows, you can visit them on Saturday afternoons in nearby Litchfield, CT. Theyre ultra-pampered and award-winning. Taste the ice cream you can tell.
While youre there, get a loaf of bread at Bantam Bread across the street.
Village Restaurant Litchfield Ct
The Village Restaurant on West Street has been a Litchfield institution since the 1950s Litchfield locals came to the Village as kids and still return today with their own families to enjoy the convivial atmosphere and delicious comfort food. You can expect generous portions of tasty traditional American pub fare made from locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant offers a selection of local craft beers and a good choice of wines by the glass or bottle. Besides the extensive menu of starters, entrees and desserts there are always a couple of chefs specialties like Baked Stuffed Sole, Chicken Saltimbocca or Herb Roasted Prime Rib to tempt your inner foodie.
Village Restaurant, 25 West Street, Litchfield, CT 06759, Phone: 860-567-8307
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Eat At The Kingsley Tavern
There are a surprisingly large number of delicious restaurants in the Litchfield Hills, considering that the area is mostly rural. Our favorite meal, however, came from the Kingsley Tavern in Kent, CT.
Its all a tavern should be, with a great beer selection, friendly staff, and a variety of cozy seating options. Try the poutine for an appetizer and the lobster macaroni and cheese for your main dish.
Boyd Woods Audubon Sanctuary Litchfield Ct
Operated by the Litchfield Hills Audubon Society, the Boyd Woods Audubon Sanctuary is located on Route 254 in Litchfield. The sanctuary comprises over 100 acres of diverse habitats where bird watchers will be able to spend many happy hours. There are several marked and well-maintained trails for walkers and hikers, all of which are less than a mile long and suitable for families. You will find bird feeders strategically placed near the start of some of the trails which help to insure that you will have a successful birding day. Due to the nature of this wildlife sanctuary you are not permitted to bring dogs onto the trails.
Boyd Woods Audubon Sanctuary, Litchfield, CT 06759
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Before You Travel To The United States
With specific exceptions, noncitizens who have been in certain countries during the past 14 days may not enter the United States, either as immigrants or nonimmigrants. For more information, visit Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States.
For information about COVID-19 requirements for land travel, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Securitys Fact Sheet: Guidance for Travelers to Enter the U.S. at Land Ports of Entry and Ferry Terminals.external icon
Laurel Ridge Farm Litchfield Ct
Laurel Ridge Farm is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Litchfield area around April and May. Many years ago hay farmers Remy and Virginia Morosani planted a modest field of 10,000 daffodil bulbs in a rocky valley on their farm. Nurtured for years, this original daffodil display has grown by leaps and bounds and now covers over fifteen acres. The daffodils are at their peak around April and May each year and everyone is invited to come to the farm and enjoy the magnificent displays. The daffodil fields are open to the public from sunrise to sunset and visitors are encouraged to send in their photographs of the flowers for display on the website.
Laurel Ridge Farm, Wigwam Rd, Litchfield, CT 06759
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Play At The Litchfield Country Club
This country club is located on Old South Road Warm, offering family-friendly facilities and activities.
Nestling within the White Memorial Nature Conservancy, the Litchfield Country Club offers a scenic 9-hole golf course overlooking Litchfield Hills.
This course plays at par 35 over 2,829 yards from its longest tees.
Litchfield Country Club also features swimming and wading pools, a platform tennis court, and four clay tennis courts.
During summer, the Litchfield Country Club offers ClubKids Sports, a popular childrens program among locals and visitors.
Historic Churches In Litchfield
Besides Lyman Beechers First Congregational Church on the green, there are several other historic houses of prayer.
- The United Methodist Church was dedicated in 1885. Its intricate jigsaw decoration is an example of the Carpenter Gothic style.
- St. Michaels Episcopal Church was opened for public worship in 1746 by members of the Church of England. The church was rebuilt in 1812 and dedicated in 1851. The current church building was erected between 1919 and 1921 a storm blew down the churchs spire years ago.
- The St. Anthony of Padua Church was built in 1867. The original Gothic-style church was dedicated in 1888 and was destroyed by fire in 1944. On October 24, 1948, then Bishop Henry J. OBrien dedicated the new St. Anthony Church, which stands today.
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Spend a Weekend in Connecticut: A perfect place to visit for a few days, Connecticut has a ton of fun attractions on offer. Whether you’re hoping to hit the beach, visit a charming small town, or ride a rollercoaster, you won’t be bored in this lovely state.
Get Outside in Connecticut: One of Connecticut’s most prized features can be found in its natural surroundings. From hiking along thundering waterfalls to swimming in vast, sparkling lakes, you’ll love spending time in the great outdoors in the Nutmeg State.
Things To Do Near Litchfield Hills
While you may be in the area to visit our forest, Litchfield Hills is worth visiting as itâs one of the best surviving examples of a late 18th century New England town. There are plenty of things to do in Litchfield, CT, and the surrounding areas.
- Litchfield Historic District: More than 475 buildings in the historic district are listed on the National Register of Historic Places! Stroll the area and visit the local shops and restaurants to soak in the local charm.
- Wine Tasting: There are several vineyards near Litchfield Hills, including Hopkins, Sunset Meadows, and Miranda. Whether you take a tour or just stop in for a tasting, itâs a nice way to enjoy the countryside.
- Knife Shop Falls: Located in Humaston Brook State Park, the Knife Shop Falls are a series of three beautiful, cascading waterfalls. If the weather is warm, go for a swim in the pool of the upper fall.
- Bantam Cinema and Arts Center: Visit the oldest continuously operating theatre in Connecticut to see the latest indie film or live comedy or music event. Set in a rustic barn, the current owners support the community by bringing in food and drink sourced from other local businesses.
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Visit A Covered Bridge And Take A Hike
You arent traveling all the way to Quintessential New England and NOT viewing a covered bridge, are you? The Litchfield Hills offers two historical bridges: The West Cornwall Covered Bridge and Bulls Bridge. Of the two, Bulls Bridge, in the town of Kent, CT, gets my vote because theres a great hiking trail there as well.
Part of the path even encompasses the Appalachian trail if youre feeling extra ambitious! Just be careful: The Housatonic River has claimed many lives over the years near the bridge, and this stretch is fraught with boulders and sinkholes that make it treacherous for even the most advanced kayakers, especially after a rain. Its best to stay a safe distance away from the water if you decide to do some hiking.
Haight Brown Vineyards Litchfield Ct
Wine lovers who find themselves in the Litchfield area over a weekend can enjoy a great day of wine tasting at the Haight Brown Vineyards, the oldest winery in Connecticut. The vineyards were originally established in 1975 and now produce a fine range of wines showcasing several unusual cultivars such as Seyval Blanc, Marechal Foch and Dechaunac alongside the more traditional Chardonnays and Cabernets. Visitors can order cheese and meat platters to enjoy in the tasting room or on the outside patios and you are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the Picnic Grove. You can check their website to see if one of their music or wine courses will coincide with your visit.
Haight Brown Vineyards, 29 Chestnut Hill Rd, Litchfield, CT 06759, Phone: 860-567-4045
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