The Orange Gild Bed and Breakfast and Spa Area

 
   
 

Towns around Washington

Old Connecticut map of 1923 with the area around Washington

Our place is located in the lovely town of Washington where you will find wonderful vistas in a landscape that is characterized by rolling hills, high plateaus, and river and stream valleys. The town is separated into five villages: Washington Green where you will find the Gunnery and the Mayflower Grace. Washington Depot, with its characteristic Town Hall and shops. Beautiful colored trees in the Fall Washington CT Town Hall Wetlands landscape New England landscape New Preston is close to Lake Waramaug and has a nice selection of shops as well. Then there is Marbledale with the nice White Horse County Pub and finally you will enjoy Woodville where you can find real upscale farm-to-table dining at the Community Table.

 

Sign to Bethlehem March Farm Our bed and breakfast is located close to Bethlehem, a nice little village where you can have a nice dinner in the Woodward House restaurant (closed in the winter). The March Farm has a lot to offer in the fall season, including picking your own fruit. Also in the season there is the savory Garlic Festival in October, followed by the the picturesque Christmas Festival in December that gives you the opportunity to send your seasonal postcards with a neat stamp from Bethlehem.

Grist water mill in Bridgewater, Connecticut Our bed and breakfast is located close to Bridgewater, normally a rustic, quaint and authentic New England town but that changes in August each year when the wonderful Bridgewater Country Fair is held. The town is also associated with the Bridgewater Chocolates and these can be bought in the local Village Store.

Birds eye view of boarding school in Kent Our bed and breakfast is located close to Kent. This town has a very nice Main Street with lots of shops, galleries, and restaurants. Bulls Bridge, one of two covered bridges open to vehicles in Connecticut, is also located in the town, the other one - West Cornwall Covered Bridge - is located to the north of Kent. Outdoor activities can be found on The Housatonic River and in Macedonia Brook State Park and Kent Falls State Park. Education plays a big role in Kent's economy with three boarding schools within its borders: The Marvelwood School, South Kent School, and Kent School.

Old Postcard of Litchfield Main Street Our bed and breakfast is located close to Litchfield, the former county seat of Litchfield County. The Main Street still holds the charm of a quaint New England town with its shops, galleries, and restaurants. Nature lovers should definitely pay a visit to the White Memorial Conservation Center, a huge area where you can find hiking trails, boating facilities, campgrounds and much, much more! To the south in Bantam you will find the notable Arethusa al Tavolo: a fine-dining restaurant serving upscale New American dishes with area-sourced products.

Water tower in Camp Columbia State Park in Morris, CT Our bed and breakfast is located close to Morris, named after the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 officer and educator James Morris III (1752-1820). In Morris you can go for a hike in one of Connecticut's newest state parks Camp Columbia State Park and Forest or in the beautiful White Memorial: Conservation Center, a 4,000 acre nature sanctuary, located partially in Morris. You can also see what's going on at The Morris Market, a cute farmers' market that opens in June for the seaon.

Lovers leap bridge in New Milford CT Our bed and breakfast is located close to New Milford, a nice town on the Housatonic River with one of the largest town greens in the state. Walking from the green into the gradually restored Bank Street you will notice the once struggling movie theater that is now a four-screen theater playing first-run films. The theater is a major draw, as evidenced by the surrounding array of restaurants and specialty shops. Leaving downtown you might want to visit Lovers Leap State Park, a walk-in park with hiking trails, scenic vistas and historic ruins. The 160 acre park is divided into three sections, each featuring a different appreciation for the park history.

Roxbury Iron Mine Our bed and breakfast is located close to Roxbury where you can find three memorable places that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Roxbury Center (CT 67, Weller's Bridge Road, South and Church Streets) with 32 buildings in the designated local historic district, the Roxbury Iron Mine and Furnace Complex and the Roxbury Station Historic District (CT 67, Botsford Hill, Hodge, and Mine Hill Roads) that was added in 2009. The Roxbury Land Trust has a nice website where you can explore all the activities in Roxbury like hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing and more!

Warren congregational church Our bed and breakfast is located close to Warren. This is a small rural town that was named for Revolutionary War General Joseph Warren. The quiet village borders on the beautiful Lake Waramaug where you can go camping, boating, swimming, canoeing and kayaking. Next to the lake you will also find Hopkins Vineyard where you can take a tour, taste the wine or visit the charming gift shop.

Woodbury green monuments Our bed and breakfast is located close to Woodbury, nestled in the scenic hills of Litchfield County. This quaint town is known as the Antiques Capital of Connecticut. Woodbury´s reputation began more than 50 years ago when renowned dealers founded their businesses in historic homes on and around Main Street making Woodbury a favorite rural antiquing destination for collectors, decorators and dealers alike.

like waramaug birds eye view Our bed and breakfast is located close to Fairfield, the county that shares Candlewood Lake with Litchfield county. It is a popular lake where you can find all kind of activities like fishing, boating, and golfing. Most of it is only accessible if you are a member so if you are looking for those activies a visit to Lake Waramaug near Washington is a better option. Driving into Fairfield county you can visit the Danbury Fair Mall, one of the largest in Connecticut and a great place to go shopping if you have seen enough of the beautiful Litchfield countryside or if you're on your way home towards NYC.

 

Dining

Dinging room with fireplace at the GW Tavern in Washington CTLet's start the list of the great restaurants in this dazzling area with our personal favorites. The G.W. Tavern here in Washington is on the top of the list because of its atmosphere, the food and - above all - the desserts!

Red circular logo with MP in white letters on wooden boardsNext on the list, located in Bantam, is Arethusa al Tavolo, also farm to table restaurant. They also have a dairy shop next door and a lunchroom (across the street). We end our list with a fairly new restaurant that is located in our neighboring town Woodbury and it is called the Marketplace. Great atmosphere and food and a very skilled and friendly staff.

This is only the top of the iceberg, there are many many more restaurants in this beautiful area within 30 minutes driving so continue reading to explore!

 
 

Leisure

Kayak with man rowing upstream between the poles You're in rural Litchield County and you'll see it is surprisingly alive with all the the things you can do in and around Washington! Luckily there are a lot of good restaurants in the area and Washington has a lot of them within its town borders. You can read all about those in the previous section, in this section you will find everything else that you can do to relax...

Hiking and (State) Parks

Landscape with rollings hills, trees, meadows and a few buildingsIf your looking for a nice hike we are not exaggerating that Washington has a lot to offer! That's because there is the Steep Rock Association, a land trust, and they offer hikes in three of their preserves, ranging from easy riverside walks to a decent bit of climbing. Check out their maps for Hidden Valley, Steep Rock, and Macricostas. Each preserve has several unique features with great viewpoints, go and see for yourself!

 

Mount Tom State Park is a state-operated, public recreation area lying south of US Route 202 in the towns of Washington, Litchfield, and Morris. Bridge crossing wetlands brook with blue and white skies It is a very short hike but the view from atop Mount Tom is one of the best in the state! There is a 34 foot stone tower on top of Mount Tom which yields a 360 degree view of the surrounding area and distant landmarks. Massachusetts, New York, and a large part of Connecticut are seen from here. On the same route to Litchfield you can find White Memorial Conservation Center. They have a nice visitor center and they offer great hiking trails. Our favorite is the spectacular boardwalk hike around a beautiful lake.

To the Northwest of Washington is Kent and in this area you will find Kent Falls State Park. A beautiful paved path leads you to the top of Kent Falls. Each turn reveals new views of the falls and pools. White covered bridge crossing a brookThe river splashes down over boulders, sending up sprays of mist. Both sides of the falls are lined with trees and plants. It is especially breathtaking in the fall when the foliage is at its peak.

The hike is a little bit strenuous, but it's worth it to go all the way to the top and see the view from above the waterfall.

Also near Kent, a bit further South is the Iron Mountain Preserve with a nice hike. The two-mile loop trail leads the observant hiker through a variety of habitats, and the human influence on the landscape is evident. has a history typical of much of Litchfield County. Early clearing for grazing, cultivation, and timber cutting in the 1700s was followed by a gradual abandonment of the land starting in the early 1800s. Predator flying in a blue skyBesides the stone walls and forest road, scattered segments of barbed wire fence give evidence of former fields in the upland forest. After much of the area was reforested, the charcoal industry again cleared nearly all of the drier forest in the mid-to late-1800's. After the charcoaling ended, the cleared areas were again left to reforest. The upland oak woods today are 60 to 100 years old, and remnants of charcoal pits are still visible.

Art and Antiques

Building of an art associationWe will start this section with The Washington Art Association. Over the years, The Washington Art Association has earned a reputation as an important participant in the Litchfield County art scene. More than 450 exhibitions have been on view showcasing the art of both aspiring and established artists from all over the country including such celebrated artists as Alexander Calder, Andre Masson and Yves Tanguy.

 

The Northwest Connecticut Arts Council has an informative website with tons of information about art - ranging from dance to cooking to traditonal art, all in the Litchfield Hills.

Painting of Frank Henry Shapleigh - Bridge at Jackson New HampshireThere are a lot of interesting art galleries in the region. Bantam Fine Arts, located 352 Bantam Lake Road in Bantam is one of them and they specialize in New England artists. Bantam Fine Arts also has watercolors, etchings, Gouaches, and some European art in its inventory. You can find more galleries at this website.

Three antique pocket watchesBesides the wine trail, the barns trail and the chocolate trail there is also the Antiques Trail in Connecticut and this one runs through the antiques capitol, our neighboring town Woodbury!

Fishing

The Housatonic River Outfitters provide Guided Fishing Trips. They have great, handpicked guides. Whether you choose to fish the Housatonic River, Farmington River, Upper Naugatuck or many of the smaller tributaries and lakes, you will find these guides to be an invaluable resource for learning more about fishing these premier waters. These guides have more than half a century of fishing and guiding experience between them.

Trout fisher walking in a river with his rodThey will meet you at the shop, get you outfitted with any equipment you need, help you with your casting or fishing techniques (if needed), supply you with a gourmet meal and then take you out for for your day of fishing.

There's a six-mile stretch of freestone river in northwestern Connecticut that, come October, rivals any trout stream in Montana. Because the six-mile stretch of the Housatonic River above Cornwall Bridge is entirely catch and release, the biggest fish have been lurking, and growing, for years. The state Department of Environmental Protection a few years ago banned trout-killing controlled releases from an upstream dam, restoring the river to a natural-flowing state.

 

The current is slow, wading is easy, and the fish are swimming, but you'll be shoulder to shoulder with the next guy. Head upstream to Turnip Island, where the river forks, and wade through fast, hip-high water to the far bank. See Tight Lines Guide for more information.

park ranger posting troutIf you want to have fishing fun with your children then check out the Trout Parks. Trout Parks are located in easily accessible areas to enhance trout fishing opportunities for young anglers and novice anglers as well as for those with mobility challenges. The frequent stockings, generally between Opening Day and Memorial Day, will greatly increase an angler's chances of catching a fish, making it a more attractive "fishing hole", particularly to children and families.

Skiing and X-Country

Ski lift exit in the snowConnecticut, the Nutmeg state, offers skiing close to home in southern New England, at areas that make up in history and quality what they lack in vertical drop. Four areas provide fun and affordability for the Constitution State's skiers and riders.

Walter Schoenknecht, the visionary behind Vermont's Mount Snow, created Mohawk Mountain in the Southern Berkshires, near Torrington. This is the oldest and largest ski area in Connecticut, and dubbed "the home of snowmaking."

 

A group of the ski team at Mohawk Mountain, Connecticut Schoenknecht was a snowmaking pioneer and was already figuring out how to make snow in 1948. The resort's 24 trails are all covered by snowmaking today, and most of them are available for night skiing. Mohawk is a private corporation working in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection at Mohawk State Park. Mohawk State Forest has cross-country trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing at the top of the mountain but are not maintained or connected with the Ski Area.

Mohawk's summit is 1,600 feet above sea level, and affords a vertical drop of 650 feet, with the longest trail 1.25 miles. A triple, four doubles and a carpet provide access to the area's trails, 95 percent of them covered by snowmaking.

Snowboarder on an obstacle Woodbury Ski Area offers downhill skiing serviced by a chairlift, two magic carpets, a rope tow and a handle tow. Woodbury caters to snowboarders and jib park enthusiasts with many features and a 1/4 pipe. They are usually the first to open and the last to close in Connecticut and Southern New England.

There is a very good ski school, plus several racing programs. The 380 foot long magic carpet serves the some of the most exhilarating tubing runs in all of New England. Woodbury Ski Area also has x-country and snow shoes for rent that can be used at some local state parks within a 5 mile distance from the resort.

Shopping

Shelves with vases in white and pastel colors Nowhere else but in New Preston can you find Litchfield County's most charming village filled with fine eateries and shops run by highly creative local people selling antiques, home design & clothing collections, culinary curiosities, all perched atop one amazing waterfall nestled along the East Shore of beautiful Lake Waramaug.

 

To the Northwest you can spend hours of shopping fun on the Main Street in Kent that has long been a refuge for Manhattan fashion designers and writers looking for elbowroom. Now this lovely Litchfield County town is also becoming a stop on the East Coast shopping circuit.

Glass jars filled with cookiesOn your way to shopping the Main Street in Litchfield you should definitely plan a stop in Bantam: The Dutch Epicure is a Litchfield tradition, and for good reason. If you are looking for baked goods, pastries, cheeses and european specialties, it is the best source in town. Dutch Epicure is a family business, which probably explains why everything they prepare tastes so wonderful. Don't miss the homemade cookies.

For your power shoppers, bargain hunters and browsers, be sure to check out one of the best shopping malls in Connecticut: Inside view of a large shopping mallThe Danbury Fair Mall can easily be argued as the best mall in Connecticut. With two levels and 180 stores, the mall has a broad range of stores that span all price points, from low-end discount and bargain stores to high-end boutiques and brand name labels. The Apple Store always attracts customers along with Bare Escentuals, Build-A-Bear Workshop and Elite Farmers Market. While this is a great shopping experience for grown-ups, Danbury Fair Mall is the most fun for children. The mall features a carousel, play area, children's rides and a bungee jumping cord. In recent years, a carnival has set up rides in the parking lot, and the event has come to be known as the "Danbury Town Fair."

Wineries

Log of the CT Wine TrailConnecticut has one of the most exciting and fastest growing wine regions in the United States. A tremendous variety of wine styles and stunning scenery are to be enjoyed as you meander throughout the beautiful state. The Connecticut Vineyard and Winery Association's blue wine trail signs will help guide you to the 25 wineries comprising the Connecticut Wine Trail.

 

Red barn that belongs to the Hopkins Vineyard WinerySet on the northern shore of Lake Waramaug, Hopkins Vineyard, a family-owned Connecticut Century Farm, proudly maintains a tradition of making fine wines of award-winning quality. In 1787 Elijah Hopkins, returning from the Revolutionary War, chose this rich and fertile site on Lake Waramaug to settle his family and start the Hopkins Farm.

The farm has witnessed many diversified forms of agriculture over the years including the raising of sheep, race horses, grain crops, tobacco, and in the more recent past dairy farming. In 1979 the first vines were planted and our 19th century barn was converted into a state-of-the-art winery.

The unique location of Hopkins Vineyard makes it the only vineyard in Connecticut with a micro-climate influenced by an inland lake; this allows an extended growing season and successful growing of grape varieties which ordinarily would not thrive in our northeastern climate. Classic grape varieties are grown on 30 acres adjacent to the winery.

Festivals and Fireworks

Birds eye view of a country fairFairs and festivals include year-round, multiple-day celebrations of music, food, sports, ethnic holidays, crafts, events, delicious food-themed events, and more, both indoors and outdoors. Often, vendors presents great original crafts, gift items, home-made seasonal and regional food and other great gifts and mementos to take home from your Litchfield Hills vacation. One of the many calendars can be found here.

 

One of the best fairs is The Bridgewater Country Fair which is a long standing tradition, preserving the character of the country fairs of yesterday, when farmers and other country folk congregated to compete with their prized livestock, produce, and arts and crafts. It was also, and still is a place where one can compare the latest farm and lawn equipment and haggle on the price of a new vehicle.

Two children standing next to a cowBesides the displays, there is a fantastic midway, featuring rides provided by Tufano Amusements, Inc., as well as great food tents all through the fairgrounds featuring our famous roast beef sandwiches, chicken breasts, or if you are in the mood for a hotdog, well, they have them as well.

Orange sky with fireworksIf you happen to be in the area on the 4th of July don't forget to see the Washington Fireworks! People come from all over the country to watch this flashing local event. You can purchase tickets for the event at town hall but a cheaper and maybe better way to see this event is right around the corner of our Bed and Breakfast. From Painter Ridge Road you have a perfect view into the valley and - a bonus - you can also see the fireworks miles away in the neighboring towns!

In the holiday season you should visit Bethlehem's Christmas Town Festival. A visit to the Bethlehem Post Office to send holiday mail has become an annual tradition for many families. You can select one of the 80 "Christmas Cachet" designs to hand-stamp your holiday greetings before mailing them off to friends and family with the Bethlehem Post Office cancel mark.

Farms and Gardens

Landscape of a farm with white buildings and silosMerely a few miles after you have passed Painter Ridge Farm where they sometimes sell seasonal products you will find Toplands Farm, located on 650 acres in Roxbury. Historically a dairy, the farm transitioned largely into hay production in the mid-90s while also raising beef, pork, and eggs for friends and family. In addition to their expanded beef herd, the farm is home to a collection of farm "pets" including donkeys, cows, goats, chickens, and occasional visitors from other farms.

To the east you will find a nice familiy destination in Bethlehem: March Farm is a third-generation family farm in the rolling hills of Litchfield County. It's a perfect destination to take the kids for a day of fruit picking and fun. Strawberries, blueberries, peaches and apples can be picked through the seasons. Stop by the farm store for delicious goodies including pastries, honey, jam and ice cream.

 

Right in the Washington Depot a new Farmer's Market started a year ago in 2015. It is located on the property where the old gas station used to be. Now it is a nicely renovated communal area where the local people of Washington gather every Saturday morning during the Season.

Landscape with English type garden and houseBeautifully situated on a sloping, terraced site in the rolling hills of Litchfield County in northwestern Connecticut, Hollister House Garden is an American interpretation of such classic English gardens as Sissinghurst , Great Dixter and Hidcote, formal in its structure but informal and rather wild in its style of planting. Begun in 1979 by George Schoellkopf and Ron Johnson, the garden since that time has evolved under George's direction into a unique synthesis of the formal and the natural, the right angles of paths, walls and hedges melting seamlessly into the lush surrounding landscape, which forms a magnificent backdrop to the garden's exuberant plantings. Since 1993 Gerald Incandela has contributed greatly to the garden's development with his artist's eye trained on redefining the surrounding landscape.

We end this section with White Flower Farm whose history dates back to the late 1930s when the company's founders William Harris and Jane Grant moved to Connecticut and promptly caught the gardening bug. Before long their shared hobby had evolved into a small business, and by the early '50s, White Flower Farm was regularly mailing catalogs and looked something like the company as it exists today.

Water Activities

Colored canoes lying near a lake Lake Waramaug offers a host of recreational opportunities: walking, biking, fishing, swimming, camping, rowing, kayaking and canoeing, sailing and boating. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at the Lake. Boats may be rented from Memorial Day through Labor Day. No reservations are necessary as rentals are done on a "first come-first served" basis. Rentals are available by the hour or by the day.

 

Mother and kid having water fun in a boatNear Middlebury there is Quassy Amusement & Waterpark. Quassy is not some huge theme park with all the bells and whistles. Quassy is a very old, and relatively small amusement park that is geared towards younger kids (3 to 10 year olds).

Quassy is a comparatively inexpensive venue that families have been enjoying for decades. For parents with little ones, it's a pretty decent choice for family fun in the summertime. Another important thing to mention is that Quassy often hosts special events like regional chili cook-offs, vintage car shows and Oktoberfest celebrations which can be a fun time for adults as well.

...with a touch of Dutch

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