USA Edition Guest Blog – La Reine’s Day Trip to Litchfield County, CT
La Reine is back with another exciting Guest Blog for Antiques Diva Readers!!
In early March, the sun peeked out of the NYC clouds, the temperatures skyrocketed to nearly 60, and The Big Guy and I decided the open roads beckoned and it was time for a day trip. Our former home in nearby Litchfield County, CT, is only about 90 miles northeast of our home in NYC, in the northwest corner of Connecticut, and since it had been nearly 15 years since we’d returned, we decided to take a little walk down memory lane combined with a little antiquing, lunching and shopping.
Litchfield County is known for its rolling hills, picturesque Revolutionary-era villages, prep schools, horse farms, and of course, antiquing. For 3 years we lived halfway between Litchfield and Woodbury, two villages known for their shopping and antiquing. We drove up I-95, crossed over to I-84, and found our way to route 6, where we slowly cruised through the countryside and enjoyed the melting snow and barren trees, watching winter slowly dissipate. After the obligatory stop in front of our former Victorian-style home, we took photos to text to our kids, pointing out how few changes the present owners had made.
Then onto Litchfield, where we had spent many weekend afternoons browsing, shopping and lunching, often after an afternoon cross-country skiing in the nearby White Memorial Park. As we were only there for the day, we decided to limit our Litchfield excursion to West Street on The Green, the “main drag” or town center of this charming town. Our first stop was Les Plaisirs de la Maison, a French-Country antiques store which conveniently had a parking spot directly in front. While I was investigating the dishware and tabletop accessories, TBG was checking the framed maps of France, looking for maps that included our favorite holiday spot, Corsica (often missing from old French maps as it went back and forth between France and Italy). Despite the 20% off all inventory promotions in effect, we didn’t find anything we desperately needed or wanted, although if I go back, a magnifying lens in the shape of a fleur-de-lys was intriguing. However, we enjoyed watching another couple trying to decide if a 6 foot by 3 foot table with 6 leaves was big enough for their entertaining needs: we have a small 2 bed/2 bath on the Upper West Side, where I’m not sure this table would make it in the elevator: I know it wouldn’t fit in my dining room!
Then, it was well past noon and our Starbucks cups were long empty, so on the advice of several shoppers, we strolled to the corner and tried a recently opened restaurant, @the corner. We were not disappointed. As usual, TBG tested the burger, and I ordered the Thai chicken wrap, and my only regret was that I hadn’t ordered the other half to take with: it was far too large to eat in one setting, but I was afraid of it sitting in the car all afternoon.
After a hot and foamy cappuccino, we wandered into Kitchenworks and Gourmet Gifts, which I did not remember from previous visits. The owners assured me it’s been in Litchfield for 30 years, but had recently relocated from around the corner. After purchasing a few kitchen necessities (including a microwave egg cooker, which we have used quite successfully several times), I continued on to Workshop Inc, where I scored some hugely discounted Christmas napkin rings (for my gift drawer!) and a new summer top, sadly full-price. TBG had spotted a long-ago favorite, R. Derwin Clothiers. This men’s store is clearly for those with English-country aspirations: Hunter boots, Scottish cashmere, Italian suiting, TBG was happy happy! After wrapping up a silk pocket square and brightly knit cashmere socks, I reluctantly dragged TBG along to our next stop, and the next, and the next. Soon, TBG was stocking up on teas at Flora & Fauna; the Harney and Sons Paris blend is delicious, and appropriately housed in a white and blue tin!
Before we knew it, the sun was lowering in the sky and we hadn’t even been to Woodbury! So back down rte 6, past White Flower Farm (unfortunately closed for the season, but there will be a Part Deux: we will be back in the spring!) Shortly we were stopping at Mill House Antiques, on Main Street in Woodbury, one of my long-time favorite antiquing wonder-amas. The grounds and buildings alone are worth the visit: the 17th century shop is situated on the Nonnewaug River, with a grist mill out back, 7 out buildings, and luscious gardens, all carefully restored.
While The Big Guy entered into a long conversation on the limited edition Lionel train on display (the owner hopes to open a train store on one of the out-properties soon), I wandered the 4 buildings filled to the brim with tables, chairs, chandeliers, clocks, end tables, paintings, pottery and glassware: all gorgeous, all quality, all pricey. My favorite discovery was the “Rolodex Table”: a round English landowner’s drum table, with the perimeter constructed of drawers, one for each renter, so the landowner could keep his accounts straight. Too clever! Keep your eyes open at this well-known antiques haven: you never know who you might see here!
C’est triste, we had reached Saturday 5pm closing times for the shops, and we sadly drove past many more antiques and specialty shops in
Woodbury, all along rte 6. However, we know we’ll be back when White Flower Farm gets their tomatoes and herb plants in stock, this time we’ll leave a little earlier, and lunch a little quicker!
A la prochaine,