The serene beauty of the Litchfield Hills region offers a tranquil getaway for Manor House Inn guests. With historic homes, forests and lakes, gardens, craft breweries and wineries, antique and artisan shops, and more, there is much to explore. Established in 1758, Norfolk has been called “the unspoiled and largely undiscovered gem of Connecticut’s historic Northwest corner, serving a spellbinding concoction of natural beauty and culture.” We at the Manor House Inn agree. Here are a few of the activities and attractions that guests often enjoy while staying with us:
With 3 state parks and over 6,000 acres of public forestland in Great Mountain Forest, Norfolk offers a plethora of opportunities for those who want to spend time outdoors.
At more than 1,700 feet, Haystack Mountain is one of Connecticut’s highest peaks. The historic stone tower at the top, designed by Ehrick Rossiter, the famed architect who also designed the Manor House, provides views of mountain peaks in New York, Massachusetts and Vermont. Take the trail from the park entrance (~1.5 miles) with a gradual incline to the top or walk up the winding road to a small parking area and hike just ½ mile up to the tower. You’ll be rewarded with a stunning view no matter which path you choose.
Enjoy a short hike to this picturesque waterfall.The trail starts flat and then crosses into Massachusetts just before you reach a zigzagging plunge down to an impressive 100ft waterfall. It’s the perfect spot to dip your feet in the cool waters of the pool on a warm day!
This 240-acre estate was gifted to Connecticut in 1935 by Dr. Frederick Shepard Dennis, a noted New York surgeon. The stone pavilion at the summit, formerly the doctor’s summer residence, sits at an elevation of just over 1,600 feet and offers incredible views. It’s a ¾ mile hike to the top from the park entrance. Non-hikers can drive all the way up to the pavilion.
Enjoy 6,000 acres of pristine forestland for hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Seasonal events and activities include group day hikes, fly tying workshops, poetry readings, wreath and flower arranging workshops and more.
Norbrook Farm Brewery is just 3 miles from the inn and has quickly become one of the area’s favorite watering holes. Norbrook offers tastings of their 8 specialty beers named after local landmarks, including Dennis Hill Estate Saison, Ol’ Man McMullen’s Porter, and Mt. Pisgah American IPA. Enjoy the brews in their bright tasting room or by the outdoor fire pit. And Norbrook Farm Brewery offers more than just award-winning beer. Located on more than 450 acres, guests can enjoy more than 10 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails plus a 3-mile disc golf course. Open Wednesday through Sunday.
Great Falls Brewing Company is located in the recently refurbished Canaan train station. Great Falls offers 9 craft beers to please diverse beer tastes including Cascadia Farewell IPA, Derailed Brown Ale, Lazy Hazy Housy New England IPA and Canaan Mountain Lager in a fun brewpub complete with food from local eateries, dart boards, foosball, and live music on the weekends. Open 7 days a week.
True to its name, two brothers started started this business in 2013 in a small red barn in Barkhamstead. In 2017, they opened a large tasting room in nearby Winsted, where they offer a large selection of hand crafted brews, including Mad River Pilsner, Squires Tavern Ale, Rescue Red, Cow Tippin’ Copper Ale, Roll in the Hay Double IPA, and more! LRB is popular for live music and food from some of the best food trucks in New England. Open Wednesday through Sunday.
Big Elm is on historic Rt. 7 in nearby Sheffield, MA. Taste a flight of their award-winning lagers, ales, stouts and IPAs. Keep an eye on their calendar for special events such as Yoga and Beer (how awesome is that?!?) and beer release parties with live music. Open Thursday through Sunday.
The Connecticut wine trail offers one of the most exciting and fastest growing wine regions in the U.S. The Litchfield Hills region provides a cool climate for intricate flavor development as well as dedicated farmers, passionate winemakers and New England charm. Here are a few of our favorite local wineries:
Relax and enjoy a day at the vineyard and taste award winning estate wines in an 1800’s barn style tasting room. In 2017, Sunset Meadow was voted one of the Top 101 Wineries in America and is the largest winery in Connecticut. Lovely patio with panoramic vineyard views. Wine and chocolate tastings available. Open year round Wednesday to Sunday.
Wine tastings in a picturesque vineyard. Special events include live music on Sunday afternoons. Open Saturday and Sundays.
Located on one of the oldest working farms in Connecticut, the Land of Nod Winery is nestled next to Canaan Mountain Forest and the Blackberry River. Offers tastings of grape and fruit wines, including chocolate raspberry dessert wine. Open Friday-Sunday from April to October.
Connecticut’s first established winery is open year round and offers wine, cheese and chocolate tastings daily (weekends only from Nov-April) and special events including wine education classes.
Enjoy quiet roads, hidden ponds, and abundant nature on an electric bike. Rent an electric bike- it allows you to pedal and provides assistance when needed so you can go further and easily navigate hills to explore a lovely, serene part of Connecticut. Maps and training are provided to ensure you have a memorable exercise experience. Bike rentals are available by the hour, 1/2 day or full day.
The Upper Housatonic River Valley is ideal for biking. One of the most popular routes is the covered bridge trail.
16 miles of paved trail from through nearby Duchess County, NY from Copake to Wassaic.
Wood Creek Pond
This tranquil 145-acre lake, just 2 1/2 miles from the Manor House, is a nature lover’s paradise. Grab your canoe, kayak or paddle board and spend the afternoon on the water viewing the amazing local wildlife and plants.
Salisbury’s Twin Lakes are rimmed by forests and surrounded by hills and mountains. Popular for kayaking and fishing- known as one of the best trout fisheries in Connecticut. Bring your own boats and launch at the public launch or rent canoes, kayaks or pontoon boats at O’Hara’s Landing Marina for a day of fun on the water.
Take a rafting or canoeing journey down a 6 or 10-mile stretch of the beautiful Housatonic River. Clarke Outdoors offers excursions on sections of the river that offer a mix of moving flatwater and easy whitewater, suitable for beginner paddlers. The famous covered bridge in West Cornwall is the perfect scenic spot for you to stop and have a picnic lunch!
The Farmington River is known for world class fishing, boating, scenic beauty, and historical importance. With rapids ranging from flat water to Class III in Satan’s Kingdom, it’s popular with kayakers and canoeists as well.
Main Stream Canoe and Kayak in New Hartford offers canoe, kayak, and paddle board rentals. Choose from an Upper Farmington or Lower Farmington river trip (trips range from 6 to 12 miles) offering all levels a variety of beautiful valley scenery of hills, swamps, grassy fields and forested areas.
Built in 1883, this stunning arts-and-crafts style building was restored in 2007 to include a world-class sound system and seating for an audience of 300. Infinity Hall Norfolk has hosted more than 1,200 concerts and music of all genres. Click here to view upcoming shows.
The 2021 Tanglewood season runs from July 9 through August 16, 2021. This season will feature conductors including Andris Nelsons, Thomas Adès, Keith Lockhart, John Williams, and Anna Rakitina, along with many special guest artists such as Emanuel Ax, Lisa Batiashvili, Herbert Blomstedt, Yefim Bronfman, Karina Canellakis, Alan Gilbert, Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma, Anthony Marwood, Wynton Marsalis, Baiba Skride, Byron Stripling, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and Daniil Trifonov. Performances will feature beloved works by Beethoven, Brahms, Copland, Dvořák, Gershwin, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Ravel, Schumann, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky, along with works by Thomas Adès, Iman Habibi, Vijay Iyer, Hannah Kendall, Elena Langer, Missy Mazzoli, Jessie Montgomery, Carlos Simon, and Mary Lou Williams.
Tanglewood is about a 30 minute drive from the inn. Summer season tickets are on sale now so get your picnics ready!
The Norfolk Chamber Music Festival offers world-renowned instruction to graduate students from the esteemed Yale School of Music. Esteemed professional musicians from all over the world perform concerts in the historic Music Shed in July and August. Virtual concerts only in 2021.
Antiques and Artisan Shops
Antique shops in the area are known for unparalleled variety and unsurpassed quality. Craft shops, art galleries and bookshops provide hours and days of unique shopping experiences in Litchfield County and the Southern Berkshires.
Since 2004, Whiting Mills has been the home to a variety of artists, craftspeople, retail shops, small manufacturing companies, and a center for artistic community. Spend an hour or two wandering through this historic building and perusing the unique shops. It is to be the future home of the nationally acclaimed American Mural Project.
3,600 sq ft of fine art, antiques and home furnishings in Bantam, CT. Café with pastries, teas and sandwiches.
Over 70 dealers in the historic Collins Company Axe Factory along the scenic Farmington River offer a selection of furniture, collectibles, jewelry, glass, china, books, vintage clothing, and more.
Known as the “antiques capital of Connecticut,” Woodbury offers many shops and restaurants.
32 nearby antique shops in the Southern Berkshires towns of Sheffield, Great Barrington, and other nearby towns in the southwest corner of MA.
Museums and other Local Points of Interest
Visit the heartbeat of Norfolk’s Community. A beautiful brownstone structure with unique architectural features, the library is worth a visit just for its extraordinary interior. The library hosts speakers, musicians and programs throughout the year.
View art and handcrafted items from talented local artists. Offering coffee and tea. Open Wednesday through Sunday.
Travel through Norfolk’s unique history at the Norfolk Historical Society. Open Saturday and Sundays.
Thorncrest Farm offers delectable artisanal chocolates made in small batches with fresh milk, cream and butter. Each week, they make a selection of white, milk, and dark chocolate truffles, barks, enrobed fruits and bars. Clint and Kimberly Thorn visited artisan chocolate shops in 13 European countries and then modeled their farm and chocolate business after them. Every chocolate uses milk from specific cows which are blended at different percentages. As an example, the smooth and creamy Hazelnut Coffee Praline is made with milk from cows Pearl (45%), Viola (30%) and Princess (25%). Stop by for a tasting and to see their cows in the stable. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see a baby calf. Open 7 days a week from May until October; limited days from November through April.
View movies and eat dinner at this quaint art deco theater in Winsted. Offers pub menu and a full bar.
In nearby Millerton, NY, the Harney & Sons tea room provides loose tea tastings and an adorable gift shop. Open Friday through Sunday.
Lime Rock Raceway is a 1.53 mile natural terrain motorsport road racing venue located in nearby Salisbury. There are a number of popular car racing events held each year, including the Pirelli World Challenge, the IMCA Northeast Grand Prix and the Labor Day Historic Festival.
Founded in 1969, the Norman Rockwell Museum is dedicated to the enjoyment and study of Rockwell’s work. Closed on Wednesdays.
White Flower Farm in nearby Morris, CT is surrounded by display gardens designed to entice, teach and inspire gardeners of all ability levels. They also offer gardening lectures and workshops on Saturday mornings at 10am from May to October.
With 4 downhill skiing areas within 30 minutes of the inn, you’ll be able to find the perfect place to spend the day.
Downhill skiing and tubing in Cornwall, CT.
Catamount has become one the best mid-sized ski areas on the East coast and offers the most varied terrain in southern New England. Catamount is oriented towards all skier types and also offers the longest zip line in the U.S. at 5,523 feet. Catamount is located just across the NY border in Hillsdale, NY.
100 skiable acres, 10 lifts, and trails for all levels, in nearby Great Barrington, MA.
70 acres, 5 lifts and trails for all levels, in New Hartford, CT.