Begin things at the Guilford Art Center, a nonprofit school, shop and gallery that’s been around since 1967. The Shop features fine, handmade American crafts; an annual highlight is the Artistry Holiday Sale of Fine American Craft, which includes works by more than 300 artisans.
Looking for the real thing? Get out on this unique road trip that will take you to an array of talented Connecticut artisans, farmers and one very good candymaker. There’s no doubt but that you’ll be bringing stuff home with you.
You may not time it right to do your own picking, but you’re never too late for the delights to be found in the Apple Barrel, the resident store at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield. Here you’ll find apples galore, along with other fruits and vegetables, fresh fruit pies and other baked goods from the in-house bakery, along with honey, jams and preserves.
The drive to Waterbury brings you to Fascia’s Chocolates, where you can not only find absolutely fresh chocolates of all kinds, but also tour the chocolate-making process.
Next morning, it’s out to the always-interesting Main Street of Woodbury (lots of Colonial-era and early 19th-century structures). Here you’ll also find Woodbury Pewter, which manufactures more than 350 stock pewter products and sells many of them onsite. Truly a taste of old Connecticut and old New England.
Last stop is Cornwall Bridge Pottery in West Cornwall (right near Connecticut’s pin-up postcard Cornwall Covered Bridge). You’ll find lamps, garden pots, tableware and specialty items, and you’ll probably want a look into CBP’s workshop and its 35-foot-long wood-fired tube kiln, based on a design that goes back to 10th–century China.