There is something alluring about Litchfield County in upstate Connecticut. Why else would famous authors such as Bill Styron and Frank McCourt hang their hats in the quaint town of Roxbury? Dustin Hoffman, too. And Joan Rivers is nearby as well. But don't let the celebrity content scare you. You won't find paparazzi near the local store or at the church tag sale. You'll only find charming streets blanketed by tunnels of trees and green fields and forests as long as the eye can see. You'll see fruit stands and pie shops and antique stores and small country inns and boarding schools and local restaurants and good old-fashioned peace and quiet. In towns such as Cornwall, Kent and Lakeville, you can walk to and fro in complete silence in the dead of the night or the afternoon sun. While costal Connecticut might draw travelers cruising up and down, I-95, Litchfield County is as much a tranquil New England retreat as you can find.
With a website as easy to maneuver, as the country roads out there are windy, Litchfield County has much to offer. Start planning your trip at www.litchfieldcty.com. Located about an hour and half from New York City in the northwest corner of Connecticut, Litchfield County is an easy drive from all three New York area airports and Hartford, capital of the Nutmeg State. The simple site lists real estate listings, restaurants, arts and culture, and of course lodging. It's a good launch pad for your trip.
For a stay in quiet Kent, try the popular Fife'n Drum Inn (tel. 860/927-3509; www.fifendrum.com/inn.html). With a total of 11 rooms, three of which are in a separate Victorian house, the Fife's small size is ideal for a little country anonymity. Room one has a four-poster bed and a stunningly beautiful stonewall. The adjacent restaurant has won numerous Wine Spectator Awards for its wine selection and offers fine dining or a pub menu. Rates start at just $125 for a mid-week stay from April through October and go up to $140 on the weekend. For more information on the Kent area, check out www.kentct.com.
Spend some time in West Cornwall, another darling town in Litchfield County, at the base of the Berkshire Mountains. It's an antiquarian's dream. The town is full of antique booksellers, cabinetmakers, pottery shops and other craft-oriented sellers. The Hilltop Haven Bed and Breakfast (tel. 860/672-6871; www.hilltopbb.com) is an inn perched at 800 feet above the Housatonic River situated on 63 acres of gorgeous wooded property. Two-night stays, which are recommended, run approximately $145 per night plus a twelve percent service surcharge and hotel tax. (A one-night stay costs $160.) A gourmet breakfast is served on vintage china. The rooms are dark and cozy, the grounds light and airy with incredible views of the surrounding valley. The hotel is perfect for a romantic escape or a quiet reading weekend.
If you can wait to August to visit Litchfield County, you'll in luck. The Litchfield Jazz Festival (tel. 860/567-4162; www.litchfieldjazzfestival.com) turns ten year's old this 2005 with musicians and entertainers performing from August 5 to 7. Taking place at the Goshen Fairgrounds in Goshen, Connecticut, this year's program includes such greats as McCoy Tyner, Dave Brubeck, and TV's former Catwoman and diva extraordinaire, Eartha Kitt. A three-day pass to the festival will run you $96 for a general admission spot on the lawn or $149 for a seat in the up-close tent area. In addition to music, the festival will hold an art and craft fair and showcase some great eats.
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