The past few months I have been traveling a lot, mainly out to the other New England states. I’ve been cheating on Connecticut as my first love has always been Vermont. I’m a Vermonter at heart, what could I say! I live for simple days, and an era that has gone by. I live for those enjoyable days spent in the great outdoors as well as exploring new sights. It’s been a while since I spent any time at all traveling around Connecticut, even Litchfield County for that matter. Any tine spent, has been minimal at best.
Today, I decided to do something about it once and for all. Like Occupy Wall Street, I decided to Occupy Litchfield County. After all, this is my home and it’s always great to see the ever changing landscape. After seeing Geoff Fox post a blog yesterday about Kent, I decided to take a drive down and see what has been happening in my absence. Come to find out, so many glorious things! For starters, Kent has again been named the number one foliage town in all of New England by the readers of Yankee Magazine. If you peek through some of the pictures in this column, you’ll have every idea as to why! Kent is a favorite small town here in Connecticut. It’s old world charm has certainly tied in well with the new world. It’s a destination where you could easily lose your sense of time as you explore the unique shops and eateries, and don’t forget about Belisque Chocolatiers. It’s home to the best hot cocoa in all of Litchfield County. Chocolate straight from Belgium. It’s like chocolate heaven! Trust me, I’ve tried it and ended up on cloud nine. Can someone deliver that chocolate to Torrington?
As I made my way through the shops of Kent, I decided I should continue my journey up through Route 7. It’s a scenic road traveling through western Litchfield County and up through the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. It snakes it’s way around the Housatonic River passing an old covered bridge in Cornwall and on up through Canaan. I ended up veering off towards Lakeville passing Lime Rock Park and making my way up to Salisbury, home of the great American Ski Jumps. Is it ski season yet?
Salisbury is another town I have fallen in love with over the years. It’s quaint and it’s home to the highest elevations in the state. It is this part of northwestern Connecticut where the scenery really gets interesting and the way of life is majestically different. It’s called Berkshire Time. For those of us who live in northern Litchfield County, we’re fortunate enough to know about this time. It’s not only a little bit backwards from the hustle and bustle of the world today, but it’s also a sense of place. A time that just makes you sit back and unwind. Take a load off. Unplug. Unschedule yourself! Berkshire Time is a time out from the rest of the world, and I love every minute of it.
As I strolled through Salisbury, I couldn’t help but get a kick out of the scarecrows scattered around town. They were just too cool! So many creative people helped to put these on display for all to see, and the tourists up from New York and the like seemed to get a real kick out of them too as they snapped away with their cameras.
There was something on my mind as I walked around Salisbury, however. It was a bit of confusion. In my travels in Vermont and New Hampshire, I noticed that many of the local stores had cool gifts that promoted the area. Everything from bumper stickers to apparel. The states in northern New England really seem to promote their tourism industry. I wondered, shouldn’t we be doing the same thing here in Litchfield County? We do, of course, have little odds and ends here and there, but it’s not well enough defined. We have plenty of tourists who visit the area per year, and it’s certainly a profitable industry for us here in bucolic northwestern Connecticut. It remains to be seen what the future may hold, but it’s certainly worth looking into.
Making my way out of Salisbury and up past the farms in Canaan, I made my way to Norfolk, the last stop on my journey. What a beautiful place. It’s referred to the icebox of Connecticut, and when I got out of the car, I could feel that icebox! Just a tad cooler than the rest of the places I had been to. I got out of the car and strolled on into a place called The Artisans Guild, a place where local meets mainstream. Much of what is in here is made by local artisans, and wouldn’t you know, I ended up finding something to promote the land I live in! I purchased a sweatshirt made by my friend Rachel Hannon Harrell who is the maker behind the brand Quallies Kids Apparel. Don’t let the name fool you, she does make adult apparel and it is readily available. The sweatshirt I purchased had the famous Norfolk directory on the town green on it. I couldn’t resist purchasing it. I knew Rachel well, and I knew that supporting the local economy is important, now more than ever.
As I made my way back to Torrington, passing down rural Norfolk Road viewing the foliage that was about, I couldn’t help but to think what a wonderful place I live in. I’m blessed. It’s a world filled with good people, and even better scenery to go along with it all. If there was a time in your life that you were truly happy, I think I reached the pinnacle after this weekend. An amazing weekend capped off with a beautiful day trip through scenic Litchfield County, CT.