When Henry David Thoreau remarked that “our horizon is never quite at our elbow,” he probably meant the world beyond Walden Pond. The same holds true for Fairfield County. Sure, we have a lovely coastline, beaches and plenty of great places to eat and shop right here in our own backyard. Still, there’s a lingering sense that something lies beyond our own immediate borders. Like neighboring Litchfield County.
Because it covers a thousand square miles of hills, farms and white-steepled churches, you’d need more than a few weekends to explore it all. Just over the county line is a quieter Connecticut, where towns and hamlets are strung along scenic roads like a necklace of colonial gems and even the illusion of rural isolation makes driving a pleasure.
Easily reached on Route 202 from Route 7, New Milford is the state’s largest town (over sixty-four square miles), with a time-stood-still quality enhanced by a vintage railroad station now occupied by the Chamber of Commerce. The shops and cafés on hilly, adjacent Bank Street, where scenes from the movie Mr. Deeds were shot, practically beg you to slow down, park your car and browse. A short walk away, the appropriately named Blast From the Past, on Church Street, offers everything from festive lawn elves to your grandmother’s Waring blender.