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Classic Connecticut Weekend

This Autumn was been pretty good to us; beautiful, warm weather allowed for extended foliage and lots of time for apple picking and visiting pumpkin patches. Alas, that time is over, and while it's only early November, the time to start thinking about Christmas shopping is upon us. The Berkshires and Hudson Valley offer many independently-owned stores and producers but for a charming early winter trip, no other area sets the charming, bucolic tone quite like Connecticut, Litchfield County to be exact.

It's no secret that the town of New Preston is on the rise and for good reason. The charming village is unique for being walkable, so it's the perfect day trip for shopping. The variety of stores run the gamut from kitchen supplies at New Preston Kitchen Goods, clothes at J.Seitz, unique plants from Pergola or locally sourced food items at The Smithy. There are several places for antiques in New Preston and Privet House truly has something for everyone. Every storeowner and employee in town is friendly and very knowledgeable, so even if you're at a loss for what to give someone, you're sure to find it in New Preston. When that mid-afternoon shopping slump hits you, walk over to 9 Main Cafe for a cup of coffee or a sandwich, or if you're really famished, up the road is The White Horse Pub that is fantastic for a big lunch or dinner.

Nearby New Preston is Washington and Washington Depot. These charming villages are as picturesque as it gets, rivaled only by Main Street Stockbridge as the perfect New England town. The Hickory Stick Bookshop has been in business for over 60 years and for good reason; they have a huge, huge selection of books, every genre is covered. The childresn’s section features toys; one can also find laptop covers, stationary and knick-knacks. Walk over to Marty's Cafe for tea or coffee before continuing your shopping trip or ambling around the green.

For dinner, Community Table is widely popular for farm-to-table cuisine and is fine dining at it's best; just be sure to make a reservation. G.W. Tavern is much more relaxed dining and Norimaki has great sushi. Looking for an overnight? You have options; The Inn at Kent Falls and Winvian in Morris or the Mayflower Grace in Washington, a premier hotel and spa, one of America's most distinguished luxury getaways.

Another wonderful borough worth a visit is Bantam, about 15 minutes up the road from Washington on Route 202. There are not as many shopping opportunities but the Bantam Theatre is a great reprieve from the spending and afterwards, Arethusa al Tavolo is worth a stop for dinner or a drink. Right next door at Arethusa Dairy one can find perishable and non-perishable food items that would make a fantastic gift basket.

While we love these shops and stops in the towns mentioned above, discovering an antique store or hole-in-the-wall restaurant in a sleepy New England town while on a drive is always fun. So stick to our guide or go it alone; just enjoy your day or night in classic Connecticut.