Begin the experience with a picnic at Topsmead State Forest in Litchfield. This was once the country cottage and rolling estate of Edith Morton Chase, whose fortune came from the not-to-far-away Chase Brass Co. in Waterbury. Take a stroll on the extensive grounds (there are marked trails) and a look at the cottage and summer garden. Spread a blanket on the lawn, unpack the picnic hamper and uncork a bottle of wine.
Downton Abbey for Two
Missing Downton Abbey already? Then heed the call to the Connecticut countryside, where you can spend a getaway in the lap of good taste and luxury in the manner of the Grantham clan.
Route 6, known in Woodbury as Main Street, is an antiques browser’s paradise. The town’s reputation for fine old things began more than 60 years ago when well-known dealers established their businesses in many of the historic houses that line the street. Today, 15 professional dealers are still on the job, displaying items with English, American and French pedigrees. You can spend a very pleasant afternoon browsing through their shops.
One of Connecticut’s brightest new shopping destinations is Middlebury Consignment in Middlebury, another browser’s domain, where consignment home furnishing goods, antiques, new items, a kitchen shop and a café all come together under one roof. Some of the consignment items are truly spectacular and worthy of Downton or any other abbey. You may also want to check out:
The impeccable furnishings and feel at The Mayflower Inn & Spa in Washington are definitely “English Country House,” so it’s a place that even the upstairs contingent at Downton Abbey would feel comfortable with. Come in for a drink and dinner, and possibly even an overnight.
Just how over-the-top do you feel like getting? If it’s all-in, book the “Library Cottage” at Winvian in Morris for your overnight. Here you’ll find a stand-alone accommodation, very comfortably appointed, with book-lined walls and a big stone hearth (you’ll be hoping for a chill in the air). A perfect place to catch up on your Hardy and Dickens.
Horses, Of Course
Riding to the hounds is still an activity much enjoyed in Connecticut (see the Fairfield County Hounds website for details), but you might be better off seeing if you can time your visit in order to take in an event held under the auspices of the Connecticut Horse Shows Association. There’s an extensive calendar of shows in every season. And if it’s polo you’d like to see, get down to the Greenwich Polo Club for a good long look at the action and the polo crowd. It won’t take long for you to feel a part of the horsey set. Tally ho!