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Antiquing in the Litchfield Hills

Located in northwestern Connecticut, Litchfield County is not only known for its rolling hills and natural beauty, but also for being a mecca for antiquing.  This historic region is home to the town of Woodbury, known as the “Antiques Capital of Connecticut.”  Along a three-mile stretch of Route 6 (Main Street), you’ll find everything from traditional antiques and jewelry to mid-century modern designs.  Whether you’re an experienced antique shopper looking for a Queen Anne Tiger Maple Highboy or a “newbie” wanting to include some history and character to your home, you’ll enjoy the hunt for your next treasure.  For a spur of the moment day trip, here’s a sampling of shops in Woodbury and surrounding quaint towns that are open most days and not “by appointment only.”

Starting in Woodbury, Tucker Frey Antiques (289 Main Street South) features American decorative and fine arts of the late 17th century to the late 19th century, the stylistic periods of William and Mary, Queen Anne, Chippendale and Federal. For more than three decades, this shop has been at the heart of the antiques field. You’ll find authentic furniture, paintings, folk art, and accessories.

Just a quarter mile from Tucker Frey Antiques, Monique Shay (920 Main Street South) is one of Woodbury’s oldest antique dealers, boasting almost three decades of experience.  Enjoy wandering through six barns showcasing a selection of beautifully restored and painted 19th century French Canadian antiques, from armoires to cupboards and tables of every size.

At the end of Route 6 is Mill House Antiques & Gardens (1068 Main Street North), located inside a 17th-century former gristmill.  Established in 1964, Mill House is a destination unto itself, well known for its world-famous gardens as much as its antiques, which fill 17 showrooms, spread among five buildings.  Here, you’ll browse a vast selection of rare and beautiful English and French furniture both formal and country from the 1700’s and 1800’s.

After covering all of this ground, you’ll need a lunch break. Back track just a bit on Route 6 to Good News Restaurant and Bar (694 Main Street South). Celebrating her 25th anniversary at the helm of the restaurant this year, Chef Carole Peck was at the forefront of the organic and farm-to-table movement.  Whether seated in the new, expanded bar, dining area or larger outdoor patio area in warmer weather, you can choose from a bar menu boasting “zee hamburgers;” an eclectic mix of salads; raw bar and sushi-style appetizers; soups and chowders or Carole Peck’s staples and longtime favorites — Lots of Lobster Adult Mac & Cheese, Jack’s Pecan Crusted Oysters, and Grilled Salmon and Corncake. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are always offered here.  Also used as a gallery to promote local artists, the restaurant is constantly revitalizing its decor, so be sure to look around as well.

From here, it’s worth venturing up Route 47 to the charming village of New Preston, stopping first at Dawn Hill Antiques.  For 20 years, the owners have been specializing in Swedish Antique painted furniture and clocks of the 18th and 19th centuries as well as antique lighting, French garden antiques, and a curated collection of 19th-century ceramics.

While in town, explore a handful of hip boutique shops mixing antiques with contemporary furnishings, home and lifestyle goods.  Privet House offers antiques from an 18th-century French table to a pair of mid-century iron stools next to Lambertson Truex handbags, Georg Jensen serving pieces, vintage glassware and other gifts.  On its website, it bills itself as “An Emporium of Home Goods, Antiques, and Curiosities,” and it’s just that.  You are bound to make a unique “find” here.  Similarly, J.Seitz & Company showcases vintage and antique one-of-a-kind accessories and antique goat hair rugs along with contemporary jewelry, bedding and clothing for men, women and baby.  Pergola, a Zen-like space chock full of nature-inspired and antique pieces, is simply special — every corner a beautiful vignette.

At this junction, a glass of wine might be needed.  Head straight to The Hopkins Inn & Restaurant, an enchanting 19th century country inn overlooking Lake Waramaug in Warren. Its wine list features more than 150 different selections, including ones from its neighbor, Hopkins Vineyard. Or, if you’re looking for something more modern, The Owl also features an extensive list of wines.  Modeled after an authentic European wine bar, it provides a casual and cozy, intimate setting for you to relax with a glass of wine or craft beer. There is also a tapas menu with a variety of specialty cheeses, charcuterie, hot and cold soups, fresh fruit, artisan breads and desserts.

The last leg of your antique adventure will bring you to R.T. Facts Design & Antiques in Kent.  It’s a big store, specializing in classical antiques, bold custom furniture and industrial-inspired furniture.  Inspired by history, this shop is attracted to antique pieces with good form, quality and soul; and unusual pieces that add character and integrity to a room.  R.T. Facts Design & Antiques also creates modern furniture designed to blend seamlessly with antique treasures. Perfectly combining the old with the new, this shop is a dream destination for both the connoisseur and the “newbie.”

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