Are you thinking about where to go for a scenic, picturesque drive that you won’t forget?
Well, New England is the perfect part of the country to see magnificent color, light and natural wonders this fall. I promise you that just one drive through the countryside of Connecticut, you will make this an annual tradition for you and your family. Not only are the views break taking in the fall, but each of the seasons bring hidden and unsuspecting beauty that you could never imagine.
Connecticut is chock full of Changing leaves, mountains, coastlines; gorgeous sun castings and breathtaking views. The Light and shadows that we normally don’t notice, doesn’t let you escape with the changing seasons. Spectacular views await on route 7 and route 341 to name just two. There are so many side roads that run parallel to the 95 corridors and interstate 84. I recommend that you turn off the GPS and drive through Connecticut’s back roads.
Going up the I95 corridor, if you drive up Old Saybrook you will see rustic scenery and smell the burning sweet wood fireplaces and stoves. Driving East you will run into a town called Westbrook where you will stumble on bargain shopping with Outlets galore joining Clinton in hundreds of brand named stores. If you love antiques, you will see shops driving through each of the quaint towns, but if you keep your eyes on the telephone poles you can catch some great Garage Sales.
Just a few miles before getting to the two fabulous casino’s off I95, you will drive through a must see town called Essex. There’s a beautiful marina at the end of Main Street where you can walk on a pier and look at beautiful boats and yachts. View the historical homes along Main Street with manicured estates and visit the park where a wedding could be happening in the gazebo any given weekend. The street lights were adorned with adorable handmade scarecrows depicting scenes and characters ranging from Marilyn Monroe, ghosts, Goblins, butterflies and everything in between.
Each scarecrow had a number and people got to vote on who they liked best. There was a Scarecrow festival with the local town folk, but open to everyone for live music, food and a movie at night. The movie was The Wizard of Oz, a family favorite. Sometime during the day people could enter their vote for their favorite scarecrow. I didn’t want to know the winner, because I loved them all, but I am sure if you Google the Essex Fall Scarecrow festival, you will find the winner.
A must go to in Essex for dining is the Black Seal. They make great hamburgers and with an ice cold beer that is a great dinner. Or, if you choose, there are things for everyone to eat on the menu including kids. There’s a plethora of fish, pasta, chicken, pork and beef dishes that are all so good and prepared fresh. The wait can be 40 minutes, but well worth it and priced from $7.95 for a Black Seal hamburger loaded with bacon, cheese and red onions with french-fries to $18.95 for stuffed fillet of sole or pasta with mussels in a marinara sauce. For a higher budget, The Oswald Inn is a historical inn that has fine dining and nostalgic elegance.
If you drive up the 84 corridor east, you will pass through some Normal Rockwell towns such as New Milford with the quaint towns and little shops and restaurants. Driving on you will pass through Gaylordsville and Kent. Again, antiques everywhere. Tag Sales everywhere. Small family restaurants for lunch or dinner make it hard not to stop and enjoy a bite or two.
On our way north after stopping at a Tag sale we tried a new road. We had no idea where we were, but did follow
signs that pointed to a new town we were never in. We saw some breathtaking views with meadows and farms and cows and trees in an array of colors from the color wheel. We were amazed at how great the weather was and how the light was shining on the rivers and trees it was like watching a motion picture. It didn’t seem real, it was so perfect.
We followed through to Washington Depot and then a sign saying “Fall Festival” in a town called Warren. We parked the car in a large field and walked to a country fair at the Warren grange pavilion. There were vendors selling antiques and handmade clothes and hand knits. There were fresh apple pies, apple cider and apple fritters; pumpkins and mums in all colors.
The smell of food was making my mouth water so we walked up to the food stand. It was run by the Warren fire Department. Outside of the traditional barbeque food of hot dogs and hamburgers, you could buy a roast beef sandwich for $5.50 and fries for $2.50. The beef was cooked on a spit over hot coals. You could see at last 20 roasts roasting over this open fire pit. You had to have one, the taste was indescribably delicious. We sat facing the river and with the beauty of the trees ranging from yellow to gold, to red, to orange and green with the dancing sun on the water, I couldn’t think of a better place I’d rather be. My belly was full and my eyes were dazzled with all the beauty around me.
On the way back home we detoured towards Oxford and stopped at the best Dairy Creamery in Connecticut called Rich Farm. There is always a line, but it goes quick as college students interchange and work three windows taking orders and serving up the creamiest, tastiest ice cream I have ever tasted. I never eat ice cream during the year, unless I go to Rich Farm.
This year will be the first year that Rich Farm will stay open into the winter months. Prior to now, the end of summer meant the end of Rich Farm Ice cream for the year until spring. But a new indoor seating area that was build in the summer created an alternate area for people, families and children to stay warm and sit to eat their ice cream.. We usually enjoy sitting in the car, others like to walk around the farm and visit the corn maze, or the cows in the stables.
I truly hope that you will venture out for the day or weekend while the fall harvest & foliage is at its peak in New England. Remember to bring your camera, the views are spectacular.