Begin here at the stunning Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, regarded as one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire Style country houses in the United States. Built between 1864 and 1868 by financier and railroad baron LeGrand Lockwood, the Gilded Age mansion combines jaw-dropping interiors and architectural flourishes.
The Victorian Era happened to coincide with Connecticut’s great manufacturing epoch, the result being many buildings and houses that summon up that earlier day in great style. For fans of Victoriana (and there are many of you), here’s a tour of some of our best.
What better place to view art of the Victorian era than at the newly refurbished Yale Center for British Art (re-opening in May), where some of the artists on display literally labored under the watchful eye of Queen Victoria herself. Here you’ll find paintings of the mid-19th century by J.M.W. Turner, Whistler and Millais, for example, and many scenes taken from life at home and abroad by talented British hands.
On your way to dinner and your B&B, be sure to stop at Sundial Herb Garden in Higganum. Here you can stroll through the gorgeous gardens and then visit the Tea Chest for all sorts of teas, tea accoutrements and specialty foods. There’s something very Victorian about an herb garden, don’t you think?
After breakfast at your B&B, head up to Woodstock, where Roseland Cottage stands as a remarkably well preserved example of Gothic Revival architecture that captures what summer must have been like for the wealthy inhabitants and their staff. Built in 1846, the elaborate cottage is colorful both inside and out, and the grounds include the original boxwood-edged parterre gardens, an icehouse, aviary, carriage barn and the nation’s oldest surviving indoor bowling alley. Roseland opens for the new season on June 1.