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.
Pick Blueberries Strawberries Apples Or Pumpkins At Ellsworth Farm
Depending on the time of year you visit, theres likely something available for picking at Ellsworth Farm in Sharon, CT. Theres nothing so tasty as fresh-picked produce, whether you consume it immediately or turn it into pies and jams at a later point. This is a great place to go apple picking in CT in the fall months!
We went blueberry picking this past summer at Ellsworth Farm, and while we were up gathering the fruit, we got to take in the views of the rolling hills around us. Picture perfect, not to mention delicious.
The owners and staff are incredibly helpful and kind, and even gave my son a baseball cap when the hot sun was bothersome. If you decide to go, be sure to bring cash.
White Memorial Conservation Center
If you’re looking for serenity, you’ll find it at the White Memorial Conservation Center. Boasting 4,000 luscious acres of forest, wetlands, and fields, this natural wonderland is a lovely spot to visit. If you’re hoping to take unbeatable photographs, arrive in mid to late October for the most magnificent autumn hues.
The center’s sprawling grounds include 10 ponds and 40 miles of trails fit for bikers, hikers, horseback riders, cross-country skiers, and snowshoers. Along them, you’ll find signs to teach you about the area’s remarkable trees, shrubs, and wildlife. You can also camp on-site.
The Nature Museum is housed in “Whitehall,” which once served as the summer home of original owners Alain and May White. It’s here that visitors are introduced to interesting information about the area’s natural history.
Ongley Pond is a perfect place to visit to spot turtles sunning themselves. Near Beaver Pond, you’ll find ruins of a Japanese Tea House once used by the Whites. The top of the viewing platform on Apple Hill provides unbeatable views of Bantam Lake.
Address: 80 Whitehall Road, Litchfield, Connecticut
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Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy
The Livingstone Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy is dedicated to conserve water fowl and their wetland habitats for future generations to enjoy. To this end they house and protect one of the largest collections of waterfowl species in the country consisting of flocks of over 500 birds representing over 80 species. Numbers of rare and endangered species are boosted by their breeding programs and they operate several educational programs aimed at increasing public knowledge about conservation. You can visit the conservancy on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from May through November. Members may book private weekday tours and schools and groups are welcome to book field trips during the week.
Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy, 55 Duck Pond Rd, Litchfield, CT 06759, Phone: 860-567-2062
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Lees Riding Stable Litchfield Ct
Lees Riding Stable is located on the Windfield Morgan Farm, surrounded by the scenic rolling hills of the Litchfield countryside. The stable welcomes equestrians of all ages to join their daily trail rides which take place from 9am to 5pm. The stable has a herd of well-trained patient horses expert trail guides to ensure that your riding experience will be one to remember. Children over the age of seven can join the trail rides while younger children can get a taste of horse riding as they enjoy pony rides in the indoor or outdoor riding rings. You can book private, semi-private or group lessons if you and your family have always wanted to learn how to ride.
Lees Riding Stable, Windfield Morgan Farm, 57 East Litchfield Rd, Litchfield, CT 06759, Phone: 860-567-0785
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Litchfield First Congregational Church
The Litchfield First Congregational Church reminded me of the Lee Chapel in Lexington, VA. The interior has an old-fashioned wraparound balcony, but is very modest. The white exterior follows suit, but the contrast between the church and surrounding grass, trees, and sky is what makes it remarkable.
It is most notable for having Harriet Beecher Stowes father as one of the first ministers of the congretation.
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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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.
Go Fly Fishing On The Housatonic
Housy, as the river is known locally, is a nationally sought-after spot for fly fishing, and its best spots are in the Litchfield Hills. Best known for brown and rainbow trout, its a strict catch-and-release area. If you lack the skills or gear, you can hire a guide and learn the sport for yourself.
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Take A Drive Through The Litchfield Hills
As you meander from town to town, youll pass covered bridges, waterfalls, farm stands, and rolling hills even more soul-stirring in the fall, when the foliage is magical.
One good route is from Kent through Warren on Route 341 drive south to New Preston and continue on Route 47 to Washington drive east on 109 to Route 63 and then back up to Litchfield. Other lovely New England towns a bit farther north include Sharon, Canaan, and Cornwall .
This northwest corner of Connecticut was known during the 18th and early 19th centuries as Connecticuts wilderness. Today it is not quite so wild, but you dont really have to close your eyes to imagine how things might have been in the earliest days of American history. History is right before your eyes.
Back In Time At The Hotchkiss
A 15-minute, six-mile drive northwest of Litchfield will transport you to the early-20th century at the Hotchkiss-Fyler House Museum. Also known as the Torrington Historical Society, this picturesque property features two large homes and a carriage house.
The main museum and Torrington Historical Society’s headquarters are housed in a burgundy, chateau-style house circa 1897. Built as a home for Torrington politician, Orsamus R. Fyler and his family, the home was bequeathed to the society upon his daughter’s death.
A stellar example of a Queen-Anne-style Victorian home, the estate has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1987. The second neighboring home is where you’ll find the Torrington History Museum, which follows the area’s past from pre-historic times to today.
Address: 192 Main Street, Torrington, Connecticut
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Take A Picnic To Hopkins Vineyard
Perched on a hill overlooking Lake Waramaug sits Hopkins Vineyard, a perfect spot for wine tasting and tasty snacks. The farm has been in the Hopkins family for over 225 years, having been transformed from a dairy into a vineyard in the 1970s.
Visitors are able to take a tour, taste a variety of enticing wines, and shop for the perfect gift. Our favorite option, however, is to pack a good picnic on a pretty day. You can purchase a bottle of your choice at the wine counter and bring it outside to enjoy with your food. The vineyard is happy to provide glasses, and picnic tables are available in the large adjoining field.
Take a stroll along the vines and view Lake Waramag from above. If youre interested in vineyards, Hopkins is actually just one stop on the Connecticut wine trail there are 11 others in the Litchfield Hills alone.
Why Litchfield County Connecticut Is The Perfect Weekend Getaway
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Long a popular country retreat for New York City finance types, Connecticuts Litchfield Countywhich includes the picturesque towns of New Preston, Kent, New Milford, Litchfield, Bantam, and Washingtonhas become a go-to getaway as travel begins to ramp up again. Theres something for everyone: art galleries, outdoor activities, shopping, great food, explains Cheri Bowen, a talent manager at The Society Management, who put down roots in the picturesque region a few years ago. With its covered bridges, forests, and rivers, the scenery is gorgeous. In fact, every season challenges the next for which is more beautiful.
Below, a look at where to stay, shop, and eat should you decide to go. Just be warned that, according to Bowen, there is one tiny downside: The drive back home when you realize there are five whole days to wait until you get to come back again.
Mayflower Inn & Spa
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Go Canoeing Or Kayaking At Lake Waramaug
Its picturesque, and then some. Lake Waramaug is located near the charming town of New Preston, CT. Rent a canoe or kayak at Lake Waramaug State Park and enjoy an area mostly untouched by commercial interests.
Instead of condos and shops, youll find seasonal cottages, boathouses, and rolling farmland. If youre headed there to check out the fall foliage on a weekend in October, you wont be alone, but it will be worth it for all of your Instagram-worthy shots from the water.
Tapping Reeve House And Litchfield Law School
While the Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School are impressive, it’s the grounds that will have you wishing to move in.
The meadow was once a kitchen garden behind the school. Today, it houses a children’s garden, educational pavilion, small apple orchard, wet meadow, and a chestnut grove. It is free to wander around and often hosts educational programs and activities.
Inside the house, visitors are taken on a journey back to the 19th century. Through interactive exhibits and role-playing , you’ll experience what it was like to be a law student at this time.
Insider’s tip: Don’t skip the introductory video. It will teach you about the influential people who studied here.
The school was founded by Tapping Reeve in 1784. The judge and educator began teaching out of his living room before constructing the school next door. Aaron Burr, his brother in-law, was his first student.
Address: 82 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut
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Free Things To Do In Litchfield
A vacation in Litchfield need not blow your budget. You won’t even need your wallet if you go to:
Litchfield Historical Society Museum – Approach the staff or curator and find out about the interesting collections housed at this museum.
Topsmead State Forest – Appreciate the stark difference between the big city and nature’s beauty at this breathtaking location.
Litchfield Town Green – No matter if you know your daffodils from daisies, you’ll no doubt find beauty in this stunning display.
Get Chocolates At Thorncrest Farm & Milkhouse
The magic is in the milk, farm owners Kimberly and Clint Thorne claim. Each cows milk is used specifically in the chocolates where its best suited. That means that a cow named Valor makes the milk for a dark chocolate ganache but Daydreams supply goes into making caramels.
Pull up to the picturesque barn and peek in at the cows and workers inside. Every part of the cows experience is planned meticulously, from the cross breeze in the barn to sweet hay they munch on, to maximize the output of deliciously sweet milk.
Walk down to the end of the barn and find a small door to the chocolate shop. Youll forget youre in rural Connecticut as soon as you spy the rows of exquisite chocolates theyre just as beautiful as any Ive seen in Paris. And the taste? Sublime.
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And An Extra #1: 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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Looking for weekend activities? We have 8 ideas for you!!!
On Saturday, five Killingworth farms will open their doors to the public for free for tours, demonstrations, gift shop strolls, and treats.
Check out the Shoreline Arts Trail Open Studios Weekend, a once-a-year opportunity to meet artists, explore their workspaces, and see beautiful art.
All weekend, browse around the Wethersfield Antiques Show at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum. Check out treasures from New England dealers.
On Saturday, attend the Honoring the Veterans Powwow at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum with beautiful performances, regalia, and traditional music with dancers and drummers.
See a performance of Shakespeares A Midsummer Nights Dream performed by Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater. Reservations are encouraged.
On Saturday, enjoy a classic! Steely Dan brings his Absolutely Normal Tour to the Toyota Oakdale Theatre. Hell perform iconic hits.
Sunday, Daughtry performs at the Mohegan Sun Arena with special guests Sevendust, Tremonti, and Travis Bracht. Its part of a 30-date tour.
The Canton Historical Museums 13th Annual Gallery of Trees kicks off on Sunday. The beautifully decorated trees are donated by local businesses and families.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
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Humaston Brook State Park Litchfield Ct
Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers who are visiting Litchfield can take a short detour to Northfield, where you will find the Humaston Brook State Park nestled along the banks of Humaston Brook. The park covers an area of around 140 acres and offers a large undeveloped recreational green space offering a variety of outdoor activities. In summer you can enjoy a exploring the walking and hiking trails and visit the ruins of the old knife factory. You can try fishing on Northfield Pond or simply do some wildlife watching. If you would like to spend a few nights under the stars you can camp at one of three near-by campgrounds.
Humaston Brook State Park, Knife Shop Rd, Northfield, CT 06778
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