Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

Two hours from Manhattan are the beautiful green hills, small towns, and solace of the Litchfield Hills, in northwestern Connecticut. The area is true New England, with beautiful forests, white churches from the 1700s, and quaint main streets.

Lake Waramaug, outside of Washington, CT

Lake Waramaug, outside of Washington, CT

Thistledown Farm

Feeding the goats Tostitos at Thistledown Farm, Roxbury

We were up in this part of Connecticut to take advantage of a wedding gift we received last year for a two-night stay at the Mayflower Grace hotel in Washington, CT. It’s a gorgeous property dating back to the 1700s. The meticulously kept grounds, complete with gardens and mazes, were a pleasure to amble around in. The hotel is known for its luxurious spa. Emily really recommends the water aerobics class. I posted a few pics of the property and I’ll let those do the rest of the talking.

The Mayflower Grace

The Mayflower Grace

The Spa at Mayflower Grace hotel

The Spa at Mayflower Grace hotel

If you find yourself up in this area for a day or two, here are a few activities to consider.

Litchfield: This capital of Litchfield County, the town Litchfield (pop. 8,000) had its heyday in the late 1700s and early 1800s, and is principally known as the residence of the Beechers, as in Harriet Beecher Stowe. If you only have an hour or so, check out the Litchfield Historic District, centered on a nice little main street with stone buildings from the 1800s. Off this main street is the wide South Street with 18th and 19th century mansions with white paneling and black shutters.

Main Street, Litchfield, Connecticut

Main Street, Litchfield

White Memorial Conservation Area: A mile or so west of Litchfield is this beautiful, 4,000 acre conservation area with a nature center and about 60 miles of trails through forest and marshland. I was only there for 1 hour so only scratched the surface on what to see, but had a nice time walking around the pond near the parking lot and a few walking trails leading out from it.

Marshland in the White Memorial Conservation Area

Marshland in the White Memorial Conservation Area

Marshland in the White Memorial Conservation Area

Pond in the White Memorial Conservation Area

Washington Depot: There’s not too much to see in this little town but a small collection of shops and government buildings in a nice green valley. Washington is the site of the First Congregational Church, a beautiful example of Protestant New England church architecture from the 1700s. I was walking around the grounds at 7am and the pastor’s husband came up to me and let me inside to take a look at the nave of the church. He also invited me to the Parish breakfast but when I told me I was staying at the Mayflower Grace and was planning on having breakfast there he warned me that the food might taste a little better at my hotel. I politely declined.

First Congregational Church Washington

First Congregational Church Washington

The Nave of the First Congregational Church, Washington CT

The Nave of the First Congregational Church

Quick reviews of some of the establishments I’d recommend:

CafeMarty’s Coffee, Washington Depot: Everything I want in a cafe–comfy seating and warm decor, cool music, and of course, strong coffee.

Marty's Cafe, Washington Depot

Marty’s Cafe, Washington Depot

Farm stand: Kimberly Farm stand, New Milford CT: Emily and I will always stop at farm stand if given the time. This one stood out for its good selection of dairy, meat, and honey, syrup, and a few other things. Good prices. Best of all, and quite unsettling, is its use of the honor system. It was unmanned when we were there; following the instructions on the sign, we simply opened up the lockbox and paid what we owed, taking change from the cash already in the box.

Honeys at Kimberly Farm, New Milford CT

Honeys at Kimberly Farm, New Milford CT

Kevin is based in Washington, DC and writes about his travel adventures in the Mid-Atlantic region and around the world. Through entertaining writing and eye-catching photography, he aims to provide readers with useful information as they plan their next trips.

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