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A Recommended Drive: Connecticut

A Recommended Drive: Connecticut
7 votes, 3.29 avg. rating (67% score)
by in Jul 2007

As you drive along Route 169 in the eastern part of the state, it soon becomes clear why this section of Connecticut is called the Quiet Corner. This route, located just off I-395, offers 32 miles of uninterrupted tranquillity.

In Lisbon, weathered-clapboard homesteads appear around every bend. Stone walls flank the road as you come to the Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury. Prudence Crandall was a prescient white woman who educated black girls from 1833 to 1834 before a club-wielding mob brought an end to her school.

Back on Route 169, giant trees cast long shadows as you pass faded red barns amid fields of corn. The apple orchards and hiking and biking trails just off the road will have you making a mental note to return in the autumn.

Continuing on, you soon reach the town of Brooklyn, settled in the 1600s. Past the Brooklyn Fairgrounds, site of the oldest agricultural fair in the country, is a charming 18th-century bed-and-breakfast called the Friendship Valley Inn. Inn-keepers Beverly and Rusty Yates greet guests with glasses of homemade iced tea.

For a special treat, visit The Golden Lamb Buttery, part of a 1,000-acre estate just off Route 169. Enjoy a late-afternoon hayride (you just might find a glass of Pinot Noir hand-delivered in a ’53 Jaguar), then relax with a cocktail on the deck overlooking the lake and meandering stone walls. For dinner, try the roast duckling — the house specialty — which is so tender it falls off the bone.

Twenty-six miles from the start of your trip, in Woodstock, stands Roseland Cottage, a resplendent raspberry sherbet-colored Gothic Revival house with maroon trim and dark-green shutters. The cottage was built by Henry Bowen, a local boy who moved to New York and struck it rich. He and his family returned to the cottage every summer, and their original furnishings are still on display here.

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Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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9 Responses to A Recommended Drive: Connecticut

  1. Susan A. Clark July 25, 2008 at 11:53 pm #

    It’s difficult to chose which of the northern corners of Connecticut are the best. The quiet corner is indeed a lovely place. The Golden Lamb Buttery an unusual dining experience, but pricey.
    Winding roads and beautiful scenery make this a lovely drive.

  2. MARYANN OLGIN September 4, 2009 at 6:59 pm #

    My husband and I recently just took a drive one beautiful summer day and we went to Litchfield, CT in Litchfield County. The center of Town could be walked through with little effort. The stores, antique, clothing, boutique, etc.. were simply beautiful. The people were friendly. One gentlemen who was just sitting on his stairs getting some fresh air with his dog Noah, was very friendly, and told us his “favorite” restaurants. They are all fabulous.

    On another trip there, an architect was sketching one of the older Churhes in town. He too started a converstaion with my husband, and we found out that he lived in Branford, as well.

    I would strongly suggest that if you have never been to Litchfield before, you should do yourself a favor and take a drive there. MaryAnn Olgin

  3. John Barrett October 7, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    As an Anglo Scot visiting our son and family in New Milford I agree with Mary Ann Oglin,
    My wife and I pay a visit to to Litchfield,visit the museum,etc, every time we cross the pond
    from Scotland It is one of our favourite towns in the area.
    We find that the local people in the Housatonic valley make us very welcome and we will be back over in the spring.
    John and Margaret Barrett
    Ayrshire U.K.

  4. Bridget Hayes September 23, 2010 at 2:44 am #

    Having been born and bred in Litchfield my heart skips a beat when I drive into the hills and most especially the center of town. So it may be just my heartstrings tugging but whenever I bring a friend to town that has never been there before (and even if they have) it never fails to take their breath away. Always perfect and the maple trees rarely fail to perform. I urge you to walk through the Borough and dine at any of the super restaurants that the center has to offer. You will be back.

  5. Erin Kasik October 12, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    Ditto, ditto, ditto on your comments about Litchfield! I also am born and bred (just outside of) Litchfield and it is such a quaint little town w/ a wonderful town center…perfect for leaf peeping, shopping, eating, visiting the 1st Law School in the U.S., hikes, and so much more!

  6. Joan Paul October 14, 2010 at 7:54 am #

    Agreed that the Litchfield County area is spectacular – no doubt. I would also suggest a different kind of foliage experience – no less spectacular – in the lower Connecticut River Valley area. A wonderful autumn experience can be enjoyed in the charming “storybook” village of Essex. Certainly one can access this historic seaport village traveling Route 9 (Exit 3) – which is a pretty drive in itself. Once you arrive in the village enjoy walking along the quaint streets lined with boutiques, galleries and Sugar Maples! To really view the fall spectacle one must get out on the majestic Connecticut River: board a schooner at the Foot of Main for an historic sail or enjoy a ride along the River aboard the Essex Steam Train which connects with the Riverboat Becky Thatcher. Both experiences offer a wonderful opportunity to view the natural beauty that defines the Lower Connecticut River Valley. Gorgeous in ALL seasons, but never more than this time of year! Experience Essex!

  7. Sean Condon January 7, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Litchfield is beautiful, but the Quiet Corner has one beautiful town after another. From routes 169, 171, 197 and 131 to all the little side roads, this is a a drivers paradise. I am an avid motorcycer rider (sorry about the noise) and can tell you this is the nicest area to drive in New England with the possible exception of parts of Vermont. If you’re coming from NYC, then sure, stop in Litchfield, it’s gorgeous. But if you are in Boston, this part of CT is the closest piece of old New England and a gem on it’s own. If you want to get out and walk a little, the town of Putnam is having a revival with new upscale restaurants, art galleries and even two live theatres. The Vanilla Bean in Pomfret is a national treasure. There’s so much more to the Quiet Corner than this article lets on.

  8. Kimberly Johnston September 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Hello. My two sisters and I are planning on taking our 71 year old mother on a weekend trip through Connecticut to see the foliage in October (we are from Bucks County PA). We have been thinking that we would travel to Mystic on Friday and then head north up 169 Saturday, staying in or near Woodstock Saturday night. Sunday we would travel west through Litchfield before returning home Sunday evening. We are looking for suggestions of places to stay in both Mystic and in the Woodstock area. We do have some ideas from this article as well as all of the wonderful comments, but we are also looking for any must see’s or must do’s. It would be greatly appreciated.Thanks much!

  9. Brian Losee September 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    Can’t really help you with Mystic and Woodstock. But US 7 from New Milford to the Mass. border (and beyond) is an outstanding ride! There are lots of great views and stops along the main drag along with some really interesting side trips on lesser known byways that include covered bridges, state parks and preserves, resturants on lakes and little ice cream shops. Rts. 202 and 4 are excellent examples of what I mean. If you do end up on Rt. 4 in Sharon there’s a St. hiway that runs from there thru Salisbury that is one of the best view roads I know!

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