Connecticut Drive: Litchfield County
By Carol Cambo
Yankee‘s driving tour of Litchfield County in the northwest corner of Connecticut follows a 56-mile tour in a counter-clockwise direction, beginning in the town of Litchfield and a visit to nearby Goshen to meet the animals of Action Wildlife.
Boitano the poitou donkey was playing hard to get. Jim Mazzarrelli, owner of Action Wildlife in Goshen, Connecticut, told us an offering of fresh grass would coax his distinctive whinny. My friend waved greenery in front of Boitano’s snout, rewarded only by indifferent silence.
We fared better, noise-wise, in the rare-animal farm’s petting barn, where children shrieked as their hands were snuffled by bleating baby goats. And later, as we walked around the vast property, zebus and oryx, llamas and ostriches — 300 animals in all — greeted us from their spacious pens with snorts and grunts.
This was our first stop on a tour of Litchfield County. Action Wildlife surprised us because these lush hills have earned much of their mystique from being home to the likes of Mia Farrow, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, and other Hollywood emigres — not Persian red sheep and fainting goats.
From the farm, the road west to the Cornwalls (Route 4) is bounded by pastures rimmed with stone walls. There are walls of shale and fieldstone, stacks of massive granite boulders, and still other walls made from stones that look polished as if plucked from a riverbed.
From Route 4, follow Route 128. The road will dip sharply into the village of West Cornwall. At its heart is a prime photo opportunity: an 1864 red covered bridge spans the Housatonic River. Most days you can see fly-fishermen along the riverbanks, filament flashing in the sun as they tempt the trout.
You can’t (and shouldn’t) miss the rustic Wandering Moose Café right next to the bridge, where alfresco diners can listen to the Housatonic hurrying south. Choose from standard deli fare for breakfast and lunch, plus creative salads. The dinner menu is fancier, featuring gourmet pizza, duck, and, fittingly, trout.