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Litchfield: The Essence of New England


What better time to explore Connecticut than during the vibrant, crisp months of fall?  It’s during this time of season that everyone is proud to be a native New Englander, surrounded by fiery shades of reds, yellows and oranges among rolling hills and an exhilarating atmosphere.  Autumn here is unlike any other place—the postcard perfect picture with a matchless, charming appeal.  One of perhaps the best spots to experience this seasonal wonder is in none other than the beautiful town of Litchfield, Conn.  With a rich past and beautiful landscape, this charismatic Connecticut town located in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains seamlessly blends both history and cosmopolitan flair, creating an ideal place to visit, or even perhaps call home.

Litchfield is famously known for being one of the country’s most picturesque residential communities, maintaining the finest qualities of a typical late 18th century New England town.  Located Southwest of Torrington, this 57.3 square-mile town is in the heart of New England, while at the same time, conveniently located only about 95 miles from New York City, 50 miles from the Hudson Valley region and about 40 miles from the coastline of the Long Island Sound.  Nestled approximately 1,100 feet above sea level in the rolling Litchfield Hills that contribute to the scenic environment of the area, Litchfield is home to numerous traditional white Colonials and neighborhoods of 19th century private residences that overlook extensive acres of open land.


Within the historic structure of these homes lies a rich American past beginning in 1720, when the town’s first settlers arrived, creating a thriving neighborhood with 60 home lots and the development of small industries and a consequential growing population.  Litchfield became the place to go, and even held an important role in the American Revolution, providing a protective center for the Army Commissariat, as well as the great George Washington.  He was known to have slept in the Sheldon Tavern, now a private residence that boasts the typical qualities of numerous homes present during this time when many fine federal houses were built, and other Colonial homes remodeled throughout the village.

Other notable figures who made this charming New England commune their home included Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” as well as the famous American poet Ethan Allen.  Additional historical individuals who resided here were General Oliver Wolcott, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and former Governor of Connecticut, as well as many other distinguished figures who graduated from America’s first Law School, the Tapping Reeve Law School, which began in Litchfield in 1775.  All historical sites are maintained and protected by the Litchfield Historical Society and have been designated a Historic District by the Connecticut General Assembly, with part of the District deemed a National HHistoric Landmark.  Perhaps the best part of the living history present in Litchfield is the fact that these historic houses are not just memorialized, but instead, lived in by the lucky residents who currently reside in this unique New England town. 

Today, Litchfield retains this exquisite, old-world American charm, growing and developing in a reasonable manner while staying true to its natural beauty and rich past.  Not only is it a great place to visit, especially during the fall foliage season, Litchfield is an ideal place to live.  There are many yearly activities that bring a sense of community and life to the area, one at which our company recently volunteered, known as the Litchfield Jazz Festival.  For 19 years, the Goshen Fairgrounds has hosted this musical tradition where the Litchfield Performing Arts organization seeks to inspire and educate young musicians through jazz and other performing arts programs.

All outdoor enthusiasts will love the many natural destinations of the area, some town favorites including White Memorial Park and Arethusa Farm.  White Memorial Park is a conservation center, environmental education center and nature museum located on over 4,000 acres of beautiful northwestern Connecticut land.  The center offers countless outdoor activities and educational programs from sponsored events and scheduled nature programs, to recreational opportunities such as camping, boating, hiking and more.  Arethusa Farm prides itself in providing high-quality care for both their raised animals and goods.  The well-known and highly respected dairy farm, established in 1999, provides fresh products and many unique contributions to members of the Litchfield community. Be sure to visit the farm’s creamery and wine bar, both located in the town’s historic center.   For those who want an even more laid-back country feel, stop by Bantam, a small borough of Litchfield where the Bantam River flows, offering numerous scenic water sport opportunities and never-ending ways to keep busy during all seasons.

With its numerous cultural and recreational locations, strong educational system that includes three public schools, convenient location and unbeatable views, it’s quite clear why so many people, both in the past and present, are proud to call the town of Litchfield their home.


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