What’s the best time to visit Western Connecticut?

While there is never a bad time to visit Western Connecticut - there’s plenty to see and do in the area year-round - we recommend making your way to this section of New England in the fall, when the colors of the leaves start to turn and the weather becomes cooler and more comfortable - a benefit for when you’re out jogging, hiking or biking on local trails. Rest assured that whenever you decide to take in the lush beauty of Western Connecticut, you won’t be disappointed.

  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is Western Connecticut’s restaurant scene like?

    The dining scene in Western Connecticut and the surrounding areas is eclectic and exciting, with a variety of dining experiences to choose from, including plenty of New American bistro fare. Community Table, which uses locally sourced ingredients, serves up fresh, seasonal delights in a farm-to-table experience and features a menu that changes daily.

    Savor the classical, colonial charm of the area - and fine American dining - at Adrienne in New Milford, where you can cozy up to a fireplace or dine alfresco on the patio while savoring such dishes as crab-stuffed shrimp wrapped in prosciutto and pepper crusted, farm-raised venison. For the latest in New American cuisine, head over to Carole Peck’s Good News Café in Woodbury, which features many classic meals with a twist, like baked lobster macaroni drizzled with truffle oil, the antelope cheeseburger on toasted brioche roll and the open-faced BLT with mozzarella and falafel fries.

    In New Preston, Oliva serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes like Moroccan eggplant, spinach and ricotta ravioli, and grilled garlic bruschetta. Savor everything from homemade ravioli of the day to hoisin-glazed beef short ribs at West Street Grill, On the Green in Litchfield, featuring fresh and eclectic modern American fare, as well as a French bistro menu.

    If you seek fresh sushi and other Japanese fare, Norimaki in Washington Depot will satisfy your cravings. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes, overseen by executive chef Makoto Sekikawa, is the black cod in miso sauce; the vegetarian Goma Dufu - a.k.a. sesame tofu - is also a favorite.

    All things combined, we think you’ll find the dining options in Western Connecticut surprisingly varied and fresh - not exactly what you’d expect outside a big city, but that’s what makes the Western Connecticut food scene distinct.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where can I go to watch sports in Western Connecticut?

    You can catch all major sporting events - from the Super Bowl to the World Series -on the two large, flat-screen televisions at the Shepaug Pub and Restaurant in Washington Depot, which brims with classic sports bar feel, full of pictures of famous athletes on the walls. Local sports fans pack this place for just about every big sporting event. Starting in the fall of 2011, the pub and restaurant will be open on Monday nights for that venerable American tradition, Monday Night Football. In nearby Litchfield, the Village Restaurant - recently voted the “Best Neighborhood Restaurant” by Connecticut Magazine - will whet your appetite for the big game with up to four screens devoted to sports. So while you may prefer to look out the picture window of your cabin, nobody says you have to completely shun the warm glow of a television (and the fire of those all-important Red Sox-Yankees games) while you get away in Western Connecticut.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best Western Connecticut food experiences?

    Western Connecticut has its own distinct geography, flora and fauna, and many of the area’s restaurants focus on bringing that wonderful stuff to your table to showcase local flavors. Here’s our list of the five best Western Connecticut food experiences:

    1. A visit to the Silo, a unique country kitchen store, museum and art gallery, as well as a cooking school - in other words, a cultural center where you can immerse yourself in a complete food adventure. Located in New Milford, the Silo sits on a 200-acre farm, where you can take seasonal classes in cuisines from such distant lands as Mexico, Tuscany and Morocco, and learn from such celebrated chefs as Suvir Saran, Rick Rodgers and Daniel Rosati.

    2. If you wish to share your high-quality dining experience in a relaxed, farm-to-table setting, then a trip to Community Table, in Washington, Connecticut, is a must. Using locally sourced ingredients, executive chef Joel Viehland, who worked at critically acclaimed Noma in Denmark, prepares seasonally-inspired, light and healthy meals without sacrificing flavor.

    3. If you’re looking for artisanal breads, “rustic” desserts and products made with local ingredients like seasonal organic fruits and vegetables, go to Bantam Bread Company in Bantam.

    4. And in Litchfield, you’ll find Arethusa Farm Dairy, which produces natural, fresh milk and yogurt products. The farms’ purebred cows, of the Holstein and Jersey varieties, roam on the pastures of the Litchfield Hills and benefit from outdoor exercise to make the very best dairy products. Be sure to sample the delectable handmade ice cream.

    5. We’d also recommend making a stop at the Pantry in Washington Depot. A mainstay of the area, this outpost features picnic boxes of gourmet and specialty foods, and also serves up a continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea at its café tables.
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  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to hear live music in Western Connecticut?

    Aside from being known for its food and comfortable atmosphere, the G.W. Tavern in Washington Depot features local bands, particularly of the jazz variety. If you’re a jazz fan, you’ll also want to flock to Litchfield Performing Arts, a non-profit arts organization that’s home to the annual Litchfield Jazz Festival, and the Project Poetry Live, a program that brings professional musicians and poets together with students from local schools.

    If classical music is more your thing, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the offerings of Armstrong Chamber Concerts, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the appeal of chamber music through educational efforts and performances. And we can’t leave out the Saint John’s Concert series, which take place at the Episcopal Church in Washington, and features jazz and folk music. While none of these music venues are quite Carnegie Hall, that’s kind of the point; you can still hear some great tunes without all the hustle and bustle you’d get in the big city.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What’s the best time to visit Western Connecticut?

    While there is never a bad time to visit Western Connecticut - there’s plenty to see and do in the area year-round - we recommend making your way to this section of New England in the fall, when the colors of the leaves start to turn and the weather becomes cooler and more comfortable - a benefit for when you’re out jogging, hiking or biking on local trails. Rest assured that whenever you decide to take in the lush beauty of Western Connecticut, you won’t be disappointed.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best things to see and do in Western Connecticut?

    Western Connecticut holds a whole host of different activities that’ll appeal to you if you enjoy the great outdoors. With that in mind, here are the five best things to see and do in Western Connecticut:

    1. Antiquing, which is such a popular pastime in the region that Litchfield Hills is sometimes referred to as “America’s antique capital,” especially the town of Woodbury, whose streets are lined with a variety of antique shops.
    2. Hiking and biking in Steep Rock Nature Preserve and Lake Waramaug, where you can take in beautiful vistas, or go canoeing and kayaking on the scenic Bantam River. Just be sure to pack your hiking boots.
    3. Golfers will want to take advantage of popular courses such as the Stonybrook Golf Course in Litchfield and the Fairview Farms Golf Club in Harwinton. This part of the country has some of the finest courses the U.S. has to offer.
    4. At Lee’s Riding Stable in Litchfield, you can learn horseback riding and discover the region’s rolling hills with an experienced guide.
    5. Hot-air ballooning in Watertown makes for a romantic and exciting activity that will present grand views of the area, especially in the fall foliage season, will surely be the highlight of any trip to the area.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Which five Western Connecticut restaurants are best for brunch?

    Brunch, that all-important meal we associate with weekend leisure, holds a firm place in Western Connecticut, just as it does in our hearts. Here are the five best brunch locales in Western Connecticut:

    1. On Sundays at the Mayflower Inn, you’ll enjoy executive chef Justin Ermini’s seasonal menu that highlights such favorites as vanilla bean and ricotta pancakes and sweet English pea soup, all while seated in a stunning setting that overlooks the property’s finely manicured Shakespeare Garden.

    2. At the G.W. Tavern in Washington Depot, you can savor organic salmon and Chesapeake Bay oysters, along with traditional favorites like buttermilk pancakes and eggs benedict.

    3. Community Table, a restaurant that relies on locally sourced ingredients, serves Sunday brunch in a farm-to-table experience; you can choose from among a number of quality dishes, such as poached eggs with house-cured ham or, for a taste of Europe, the Scandinavian breakfast board, which includes a soft-boiled egg, toast, cheese, cured meat, preserves and butter.

    4. In New Milford, Sunday brunch is served at Adrienne’s - a charming colonial house restaurant with fireplaces and a patio - where you can partake in dishes as varied as seafood crepes, eggs ranchero and the omelette du jour.

    5. Finally, be sure to try the Sunday brunch at West Street Grill, On the Green in Litchfield, which features fresh and eclectic, modern American fare.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best things to do on a romantic trip to Western Connecticut?

    Western Connecticut provides you with a terrific getaway from life in the big city; that means more rustic, outdoors activities that will make you forget all the worries of a metropolitan life with your special someone. Here’s our list of the five best activities to do on a romantic trip in Western Connecticut:

    1. We thinking taking a hot-air balloon ride - while sipping champagne - in Watertown, Connecticut with your loved one is hard to beat. Arranged by Watershed Balloons, these rides are the perfect way to celebrate an anniversary or special occasion high above it all.

    2. Once on solid ground, you can go hiking and bike riding around Lake Waramaug in New Preston, and absorb the unspoiled beauty of this body of water. Lake Waramaug also features 77 camping sites and opportunities for picnicking, swimming and ice-skating.

    3. You and your beloved can also absorb the region’s breathtaking beauty on horseback. Nothing says old-fashioned romance quite like a young mare and stallion galloping through the meadows - we’re referring to the horses, if you were wondering.

    4. If you’re in the mood to watch a quality film with your sweetheart, no visit to Western Connecticut is complete without a stop at Bantam Cinema in Bantam, which opened in 1927 and screens classic and independent releases.

    5. And you can close out an activity-filled day with a romantic dinner at Adrienne. Located in New Milford, the restaurant features a fireplace and is designed to evoke classical, colonial charm - the perfect place to share cozy, intimate moments.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best Western Connecticut museums?

    The best museums in Western Connecticut include the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, a museum and research center dedicated to studying and preserving Native American culture, full of artifacts and crafts. Another local favorite is the Gunn Historical Museum, where you can view exhibits on the Civil War and other topics of historical importance. The museum’s adjoining library hosts numerous events, including antique shows and an annual book sale, as well as activities for kids.

    On Route 7 in Kent, the Sloane Stanley Museum features the works of American artist, illustrator and collector Eric Sloane, along with an impressive collection of early American tools and the remains of the Kent Iron Furnace, which began production of pig iron in 1826. After a trip to the unique American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, you’ll want to return and spend even more time poring over the museum’s collection of more than 1,500 clocks and watches, some of which date back to 1595. You might even lost track of time, there’s so many to see - well, maybe not, after all, since you’re in a museum full of clocks.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What should I pack for a trip to Western Connecticut?

    For a trip to Western Connecticut, you should definitely pack a pair of comfortable shoes and sturdy hiking boots, as you’ll want to take advantage of the numerous trails and other natural delights of the surrounding areas, including Lake Waramaug - where you can also go biking, so don’t forget to bring your trusty ten-speed and safety gear; you can also cycle to your heart’s content at White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield. Be sure to pack a jacket and other outerwear to protect you during inclement weather and for those cool New England nights - you don’t want to spend your vacation all soggy, or even worse, just plain freezing.

    Since golf is a popular pastime in the area, we recommend bringing your clubs along for the ride, which you can use at public courses such as Stonybrook, a nine-hole course, and Candlewood Country Club, an eighteen-hole course in New Milford. We also recommend packing your digital camera - and some extra memory cards - to fully capture the beauty of this section area of New England. Those snapshots will make some mighty fine desktop backgrounds and facebook photo uploads - and will surely make all your friends envious.