Life in the Litchfield Hills

But what do you DO up there?
We’re always surprised to have this question lobbed our way.

In this case the ‘up there’ refers to the Northwest Corner of Connecticut, a picture book New England landscape flush with undulating hills, dense forests and more than a few lakes and streams. The ‘do’ is a lot. The area is not only rich with natural resources but also culinary pleasures, cultural pursuits and shopping options from tag sales to high end boutiques.

Behind sliding barn doors of small organic farms and lively distorted glass windows of stately homes you might meet an artisanal cheese maker or novelist grasping for just the right word. This scenic, quiet place seems to attract the contemplative creative type. That’s not to say we don’t have our characters.

Land trusts have ensured that open spaces are largely protected, along with the distinctive charm of town greens and villages. Yankee pride or simply an appreciation for scenic vistas, wildlife habitation and history, the beauty and heritage of Litchfield County is well preserved.

A land of four seasons, yes the fall foliage is spectacular with an equally ablaze gallery scene, but spring is stunningly gorgeous while winter affords ample outdoor activities and a valid excuse to recline near a fire. And summer? Well, summers are special. Families convene for backyard cookouts. Cocktails are poured and glasses raised in enjoyment of the setting sun. There are contra dances and early morning estate sale excursions, ice cream shacks and canoe rides around glacial lakes.

So for those of us lucky enough to call these 945 hydrangea-filled sprawling square miles home, consider Happening in the Hills as a place to meet neighbors, dream up weekend plans or as a handy reference to pass along to inquiring friends. If you haven’t been to this verdant area of the world yet, or it has been awhile, we aim to make carefully selected suggestions of the mustn’t miss. Bear in mind, our guide isn’t exhaustive.

Consider it a little taste, an amuse bouche, a tasty tidbit of what the peaceful region has to offer, gleaned largely from locals in the know. We hope to introduce and entice you to sightsee or stay, maybe check out the next town over.

Like the farm stand honor boxes that dot our country roads, we trust you’ll find something wonderfully comforting about life here. And a little unexpected.

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Teresa Fernandes is the publisher and creative director of Happening in the Hills. An art director/graphic designer with many years of experience in both publishing and advertising, she works at Fine Cooking Magazine and is the principal of TFD STUDIO, a local design firm. She is the co-author/designer of The Business of Illustration and On Becoming a Graphic Designer, and is currently working on a book about education and creativity. A passionate collector and junker, she can be found hanging out at flea markets and tag sales. When she is not repurposing old stuff, she is probably making lists or playing Scrabble. She lives in the Northwest Corner.

The Happening in the Hills Team is out there every day, compiling information, talking to folks, and keeping you clued in to the Corner. Our thanks to Katie and Dean from Bleacher+Everard Photography, Daphne Anderson Deeds , Jacqueline, Janet, and Steve for all their talents, expertise and good work.

Photographs were taken by Bleacher+Everard, unless otherwise indicated.

Color drawings were created by Jacqueline Schmidt.

Black & white drawings were created by Janet Stein.