Explore the nearby spots on your bucket list and still make it home to relax on the deck
Photograph: Courtesy of Florence Griswold Museum and Sharpe Hill Winery
August vacation booked? Check! Kids shipped off to summer camp? Check! With back-to-school shopping still far off in the horizon, you could just sit back and enjoy the season. But now’s the time to explore those nearby spots on your bucket list that you never seem to get to. So mark your calendar and hit the road to these dream escapes. They are all within state lines so you'll have plenty of time to soak in the culture and still make it home to relax on the deck.
In Good Spirits
Ready to discover the Connecticut’s Wine Trail? Then get out your GPS (wineries are spread over back roads throughout the state) and set aside a few days. Plan on visiting two or three in one day, tops; and don’t forget your passport, available at all twenty-five wineries. After a couple of stops, you’ll discover what makes each one unique—Sunset Meadow in Goshen offers chocolate and wine pairings; Sharpe Hill’s weekend restaurant in Pomfret is so popular, reservations are suggested weeks in advance; Jones Winery in Shelton makes hump day specials with Wednesday night wine dinners; and Friday night concerts at Stonington Vineyards is the place to unwind with a picnic dinner and glass (or two!) of wine. Insider Tip: Have your passport stamped at each stop on the trail and you’ll be entered into a contest to win one of sixty-five prizes, including a trip for two to Spain. For more information, visit ctwine.com.
Woodbury takes its antiques seriously, as it has so for some fifty years. Known as our state’s Antiques Capital, more than thirty dealers call Woodbury home. In fact, in just a few short miles along Main Street you are enticed by all manner of things old; virtually every antique category, period and style is represented. Happily, you’ll also find related accessories, gifts and bench-made reproductions from all over the world. This little town has some pretty fine dining too, including Carole Peck’s Good News Café, ranked by Zagat as one of the best restaurants in the country; John’s Café for a true Bistro-style/New American cuisine experience; or Ovens of France for freshly baked artisanal breads, sweets, cheeses and jams.
Art lovers should head to Old Lyme where the Florence Griswold Museum—home of American Impressionism—takes center stage in a town filled with art. But don’t stop just there. The Lyme Art Association, which opened in 1921 as a permanent exhibition home for the Lyme Art Colony artists, is another must-see. Then let your imagination—and your feet—wander to the Cooley Gallery, which some call an oasis in historically rich Old Lyme, and, for a change of pace, the Diane Birdsall Gallery for contemporary art. Tummy growling? Relax over lunch in the Old Lyme Inn’s restaurant.