A gateway to the Litchfield Hills, New Milford was founded in 1703 and functions as a commercial center for the smaller villages that surround it -- Roxbury, Bridgewater, Washington, and Brookfield. It is also at the high end of a long stretch of overdeveloped Route 7, which is clogged with strip malls.
New Milford is a welcome stop on the drive north, if only for lunch and a short stroll. Turn right on Route 202 where it splits from Route 7 and crosses the Housatonic River and a railroad track. Up on the left is one end of the long town green. A 1902 fire destroyed many of the buildings around the green, so this isn't one of those picture-book New England settings. Rather, it is a mix of late Victoriana, early Greek Revival, and Eisenhower-era architecture, not to ignore the requisite Congregational church.
Otherwise, there are no obligatory sights, so a walk down Bank Street, west of the green and along Railroad Street, with its crafts shops, a bookstore, and an Art Moderne movie house, won't take long.
Getting Outside -- Candlewood Lake (tel. 860/354-6928; www.candlewoodlake.net) is the third-largest man-made lake in the eastern United States. It has a finger that pokes into New Milford, but the area with the most recreational facilities is a few miles to the west. From New Milford, drive north on Route 7 about 2 1/2 miles, turn west on Route 37 toward and through Sherman, then south on Route 39 to Squantz Pond State Park (tel. 203/797-4165; www.ct.gov). With over 170 acres along the lakeshore, it offers swimming, fishing, hiking and cycling trails, picnic grounds, rental canoes, and a boat launch. In the winter, there's ice-skating.
Where to Dine -- There are many dining choices along Bank and Railroad streets and out on nearby Route 7.
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