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Connecticut's Best Attractions 2011

Connecticut’s Best Attractions 2011
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by in May 2011

BEST BALINESE IMPORTS
Agabhumi: The Best of Bali, Westport
Filled with beautiful, diverse jewelry, handbags, scarves, and sandals, all fashioned far away, but a good fit here. The prices will keep you coming back for seconds. 165 Post Road East. 203-557-0188; agabhumi.com

BEST GARDEN & PICNIC PARK
Wickham Park,
Manchester
Gardens inspired by England, Italy, and the Orient are among the eight ornamental enclaves amid these 250 green acres. The playground and nature center attract youngsters, while the picnic tables and grills offer the perfect pit stops for any age. Plus aviary, bird sanctuary, tennis and volleyball courts, software diamonds, hiking and biking trails, and 18-hole disc-golf course. Rates: $4 per car weekdays; $5 on weekends and holidays. 1329 West Middle Turnpike. 860-528-0856; wickhampark.org

BEST GATHERING OF GALLERIES
Artists, Artisans & Fine Art Galleries,
Chester
Works in a mix of media and styles by emerging and established artists are displayed in an eclectic collection of nearly 40 galleries. The fine and the funky all make their home in the village center, within steps of one another and easy parking. Look for exceptional eateries across the way. visit-chester.com/chester/merchants/artists_galleries.html

BEST RIVER HIKE
Falls River Preserve,
Ivoryton
Accessible by canoe or on foot, this 40-acre section of the Essex Land Trust features hardwood forests, ancient ledges, an 18th-century dam, and waterfront terrain, all detailed in the excellent trail guide and online maps. Listen for songbirds and waterfowl; then fetch bass, perch, or catfish with your fishing pole. Falls River Drive (trailhead). 860-767-7916; essexlandtrust.org

BEST FARM STORE
Hurst Family Farm,
Andover
Local honey, maple cream, strawberry-almond jam, fresh peaches, and plump pumpkins are among the family recipes and farm-grown specialties lining this cheerful hilltop store, run by the fourth generation of Hursts. Shippable custom baskets are available; hayrides also. 746 East St. 860-646-6536

BEST MUSIC ON A MOUNTAIN
Music Mountain,
Falls Village
After 80 years, chamber-music concerts here remain energetic and intimate. Brahms and Beethoven pair well with picnics on the grounds. Need new sounds? Try Saturday jazz or the free Family Festival (August 13 this year). Tickets: from $27. 225 Music Mountain Road. 860-824-7126; musicmountain.org

BEST MODERNIST HOUSE MUSEUM
The Philip Johnson Glass House,
New Canaan
No one throws stones touring this architectural icon with walls of floor-to-ceiling glass. Strolling through the meticulously balanced landscape, visitors may also venture into Johnson’s private art galleries and guesthouse. Tours: from $30. 199 Elm St. 866-811-4111, 203-594-9884; philipjohnsonglasshouse.org

BEST BOOKSHOP
R. J. Julia Bookseller,
Madison
Owner Roxanne Coady cultivates relationships with both new and widely known writers (including Wally Lamb, Rachael Ray, and Julia Andrews), whose visits highlight an outstanding selection of titles. No author in the house? Curl up in the cafe. 768 Boston Post Road. 203-245-3959; rjjulia.com

BEST PRESIDENTIAL-WORTHY RETREAT
Roseland Cottage,
Woodstock
Pretty and pink, this Gothic Revival treasure welcomed four American presidents to Fourth of July picnics; Ulysses S. Grant once bowled the long lane out back. Don’t miss the flourishing, fragrant gardens. 556 Route 169. 860-928-4074; historicnewengland.org/historic-properties/homes/roseland-cottage

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