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:
Hiking and Snowshoeing
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 incredibly picturesque waterfall.The trail starts flat and then crosses into Massachusetts just before you reach a zigzagging plunge down to an impressive 100ft waterfall.
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.
With 4 downhill skiing areas within 30 minutes of the inn, you’ll be able to find the perfect place to spend the day. Book the Spofford Suite, Lincoln Suite, or Victorian Suite, and relax in front of a cozy fireplace when you return!
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.
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. Make a day out of your visit!
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.
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.
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.
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 (closed on Tuesdays).
Wine tastings in a picturesque vineyard. Special events include live music on Sunday afternoons. Open Thursday-Sunday
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.
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.
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.
In nearby Millerton, NY, the Harney & Sons tea room provides loose tea tastings and an adorable gift shop.
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.
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.
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 includes something for all music tastes. Infinity Bistro, the adjoining restaurant, is popular for pre-concert dinners and with food enthusiasts. Click here to view upcoming shows. We’re looking forward for Infinity Hall to reopen in 2021!
Celebrating its 77th year, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival offers world-renowned instruction to graduate students from all over the world who aspire to be professional musicians. Tickets can be purchased for Friday and Saturday night concerts held in the historic Music Shed throughout July and August.
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 Marina for a day of fun on the water.