Get into the holiday spirit by establishing a new Litchfield County tradition
photograph by Vesper Miniatures/Veselina Koleva
Litchfield County is covered in a blanket of snow … it sure seems like December, but it’s only October 30! By the time you read this, hopefully we’ll all have visions of sugarplum fairies in our heads—instead of that disastrous Nor’easter— and be contemplating just how to get into the holiday spirit.
Making gingerbread houses is a wonderful tradition at The Silo in New Milford. Classes are available for parents with children or for adults only, and run through December 10. The adult classes sound particularly fun since they serve appetizers and mulled wine as you assemble your “architectural masterpiece”! The Silo also offers a whole program of cooking classes taught by top chefs … a great gift idea. The Silo, 44 Upland Rd., New Milford, 860-355-0300, hunthillfarmtrust.org.
On December 2 and 3, St. John’s Episcopal Church is having its annual bazaar. This much-anticipated community event is a favorite among bargain hunters, with not only delicious baked goods, but also an amazing tag sale. I’ve found great 18th-century antiques, hallmarked silver pieces and interesting gifts. And there is always a rack of vintage fashions. We attend the Friday cocktail party, which has silent and live auctions, as well as lots of yuletide cheer. All are welcome! St. John’s Episcopal Church, 78 Green Hill Rd., Washington, 860-868-2527, stjohnswashington.org.
December 9 marks the 20th anniversary of Holiday in the Depot. For my family, this event kicks off the holidays. Santa arrives at 6 p.m., and on that evening all of the shops in town stay open late for shopping. Washington Town Hall, 2 Bryan Plaza, 860-868-2786, washingtonct.org.
We all know how wonderful the Mayflower Inn is … the spa, the grounds and the restaurant. A local secret is the stylish gift shop, managed by the fabulous Abdo Ballester. After an evening of great food and drinks, it’s convenient to pop in and peruse the racks of Loro Piana outerwear, designer handbags and more. Somehow the prices feel lower than at the retail boutiques on Madison Avenue … perhaps it’s the libations! Mayflower Inn Gift Shop, 118 Woodbury Rd., Washington, 860-868-9466, mayflowerinn.com.
Not far from the Mayflower Inn is Green Hill Home & Garden—a true retail anchor with lots of gift options, from home accessories to apparel and beauty products. Storeowner Blane Withers always seems to have a nice supply of vintage Louis Vuitton bags in all sizes. I’ve had my eye on a duffel in the window for months now (hint, hint). Green Hill Home & Garden, 6 Green Hill Rd., Washington Depot, 860-868-6859.
Every town in Litchfield County has a supply of farmers who produce local specialties, whether it’s honey, maple syrup or applesauce. In my neighborhood, it’s Waldingfield Farm. They are also selling gift baskets that contain a selection of their products, including heirloom tomato sauce, honey and maple syrup, wrapped in a wicker basket. Waldingfield Farm, 24 East St., Washington, 860-868-7270, waldingfieldfarm.com.
In Roxbury, Maple Bank Farm sells a wide selection of apples, cider, self-cook pies, pastries and breads, along with a huge selection of holiday trimmings, including Christmas trees. Maple Bank Farm, 57 Church St., Roxbury, 860-354 7038, maplebankfarm.com.
After all the shopping and events, stop by Norimaki. Owned by Jinyi and Makoto Sekikawa, this Japanese restaurant consistently produces fresh, delicious sushi, sashimi and cooked foods. Our children enjoy the shrimp tempura and eel avocado rolls. I’ll take everything on the menu! Call ahead for a table. Norimaki, 4 Green Hill Rd., Washington Depot, 860-868-0555.