Newfane was originally founded on a hill a few miles from the current village in 1774; in 1825, it was moved to its present location on a valley floor. Some of the original buildings were dismantled and rebuilt, but most date from the early to mid-19th century. The National Historic District comprises some 60 buildings around the green and on nearby side streets. You'll find styles ranging from Federal through Colonial Revival, although Greek Revival appears to carry the day. A strikingly handsome courthouse -- where cases are still heard, as they have been for nearly 2 centuries -- dominates the shady green. This structure was built in 1825; its imposing portico was added in 1853. For more details on area buildings, get a copy of the free walking-tour brochure at the Moore Free Library, on West Street, or at the Historical Society .
Explore Newfane's history at the engaging Historical Society of Windham County, on Route 30 across from the village common. Housed in a handsome 1930s Colonial Revival brick building, it has an eclectic assemblage of local artifacts (dolls, melodeons, rail ephemera), along with changing exhibits that give intriguing snippets of local history. It's open from late May through mid-October, Wednesday through Sunday, from noon until 5pm; admission is by donation.
More than two dozen antiques shops on or near Route 30 in the West River Valley allow for good grazing on lazy afternoons; they are also fine resources for serious collectors. At any of the shops, look for the free brochure Antiquing in the West River Valley, which provides a good overview of what's out there. Among the options: Riverdale Antiques Center (tel. 802/365-4616), a group shop in Townshend with about 60 dealers, selling some country furniture but mostly smaller collectibles, open daily year-round; and Schommer Antiques and Art (tel. 802/365-7777), on Route 30 in Newfane Village, which carries a good selection of 19th-century furniture and accessories in a shop that's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Treasure hunters should time their visit to coincide with the Newfane Flea Market (tel. 802/365-7771), which features 100 or more tables of assorted stuff, including a few of the "12-tube-socks-for-$8" variety. The flea market is held on Sundays from May through October on Route 30 just north of Newfane Village.
On Route 30, between Townshend and Jamaica, you'll pass the weathered Scott Covered Bridge below the Townshend Dam. It dates from 1870 and is an example of a Town lattice-style bridge with an added arch. It was the longest single-span wooden bridge in the state until it was reinforced with a concrete pier in the 1980s, and is worth a look; you can't drive over it anymore, but there are pullout spaces where you can park and take photographs.
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