About an hour north of our inn, in the Northeastern corner of Connecticut, is what is known as the “Quiet Corner”. The Quiet Corner is much more rural and country-like than our inn’s southeastern CT waterfront location and is especially noted for its rural and rustic small towns, great antiquing, unique dining options, boutique shopping and vistas like no others. Getting there is just one of the highlights as we send our guests up Route 169, a 32-mile National Scenic Byway which runs north-and-south through the region.
The Quiet Corner has been written about as a great place to visit by numerous travel writers in several well know publications such as Yankee Magazine, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Connecticut Magazine, Worcester Living and more. While that part of our state is beautiful all year long, it is most popular during fall foliage season when blazing autumn colors draw leaf peepers from all over the world.
Why visit the Quiet Corner you ask? Well, we personally think it is as beautiful as any place one could visit during the autumn season, and one of the best places anywhere to view the beauty of autumn’s fall foliage. With its winding and stonewall flanked scenic roads, rolling hills, old faded red barns and farmhouses amid fields of corn and hay, well simply put, it’s the quintessential New England setting. Without a doubt, it is one of our most recommended “Day Trips” during the autumn foliage season (i.e., from late September thru October).
As you head up to the northeast hills of Connecticut via Route 169, it becomes very clear why this corner of our state is called the Quiet Corner. Few visitors to Connecticut ever get to experience the old-fashioned ways of the state’s “Quiet Corner” where sparsely populated towns seem a world away from the rest of the state. The ‘Quiet Corner’ has a reclusive allure: people who use to leave New York City for the Litchfield Hills; now seek the uninterrupted tranquility of the Quiet Corner.
As you begin your day trip passing through the town of Lisbon you can’t help but notice weathered-clapboard homesteads around every bend. Continuing up Rt. 169 you’ll see tons of stone walls and never ending fields as you come into Canterbury. Here you’ll find the Prudence Crandall Museum that honors a courageous white woman named Prudence Crandall who was ahead of her time when she educated African American girls from 1833 to 1834 before a club-wielding mob brought an end to her school.
Continuing your journey you will eventually come to Brooklyn, CT, which was settled in the 1600’s and is known for their famous Brooklyn Fairgrounds, site of the oldest agricultural fair in the country. For a special treat, visit The Golden Lamb Buttery, a 1,000-acre estate just off Route 169. Enjoy a late-afternoon hayride or relax with a cocktail while sitting on their deck overlooking the lake, and their roaming and meandering stone walls. In our opinion, they are one of the most unique restaurants in the state, and if you can get a reservation, try their roast duckling, a house specialty that’s so tender it falls off the bone. Even if you don’t feel like visiting for lunch or dinner, do stop by just to see this gorgeous setting and take a few pictures; we guarantee you won’t regret it.
As you travel on, a stunning path of giant trees cast long shadows as you pass faded red barns, orchards thick with apples and picked out cornfields, rolling hills, farm houses and ancient stone walls all set with breathtaking beauty as autumn’s colors surround you. Another place you may want to visit is the Vanilla Bean Café, voted Connecticut’s Best Country Café by Yankee Magazine. The Vanilla Bean opened in 1989 with a seating capacity of 16, but today seats 90 inside and 40 outside! It is located in a restored, early 19th century barn in scenic town of Pomfret and features home-made soups, sandwiches and decadent desserts. This small country town is also home to Sharp Hill Winery and Celebrations Gift Shoppe and Tea Room ~ both worth more than a casual stop!
As your ‘day trip’ continues through the country side you will enter the antiquing capital of Connecticut, and maybe all of New England ~ historic Putnam, CT. Putnam is home to the largest antiques market in the state, the Antiques Marketplace. While perusing their 350 showcases and booths, 22,000 square feet on four levels, you will most certainly find a treasure that you must have for your own! Finally, if at this point you’re feeling a bit fatigued from your travels this is the place to take a stop to refuel. Try the 85 Main Bistro, The Crossings Restaurant & Brew Pub, Bellas Italian Bistro or The Courthouse Bar & Grille where you will find some wonderful food in this small town location.
Finally and sadly, we’re onto our last little town on this autumn adventure. Woodstock is just twenty-six miles from the start of your trip and is host to a historic huge annual country fair every Labor Day weekend. Stop and visit Taylor Brook Winery for a relaxing glass of wine and continue through this little town to historic Roseland Cottage, a beautiful raspberry colored Gothic Revival house built by a local boy who struck it rich. He and his family returned to the cottage every summer and their original furnishings are still on display here.
As we end, we hope the above adventure is something you get to experience one day, and hopefully during one of the most beautiful times of the year ~ Autumn in New England!