Dennis Hill view

5 Fun Outdoor Activities

Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills region is a wonderful place for a fall getaway. Outdoor enthusiasts will find many opportunities to explore the area by hiking, biking and paddling. The natural beauty of the area provides many opportunities to social distance with style! Here are 5 fun outdoor activities you won’t want to miss:

Stoeckel Estate bridge

1. Ride the Housatonic Heritage Bike Trail

The Housatonic River Valley has become a popular destination for cyclists, with its scenic views and quaint villages. Cycling routes offer memorable views of rolling hills, covered bridges, horse farms and luscious green countryside. The 45-mile Housatonic Bike Trail is broken down into 10 segments and maps make it easy to choose a ride based on length and terrain.

The quaint town of Norfolk is also a lovely place for a leisurely bike ride. Hop on one of our complimentary cruiser bikes to explore the historic homes, artisan guild, restaurants, and country store. Consider taking a picnic to enjoy on the green lawns of Norfolk’s lovely Stoeckel estate, with meandering streams, stone bridges and flower gardens.

2. Paddle the Historic Housatonic River

The Housatonic River runs through northwestern CT and its waters are perfect for kayaking and canoeing for all levels of experience. The gentle currents north of the Great Falls dam in Falls Village and south of the dam between West Cornwall and Kent are known for flatwater paddling. You’ll be in for a treat as you paddle past picturesque meadows, farms or even a covered bridge.  Rattlesnake Rapids in Falls Village and Bull’s Bridge in Kent offer challenging whitewater runs for expert paddlers.

Bring your own kayaks or canoes or rent them at one of the local outfitters. Half and full day guided canoe and rafting trips are also available for the adventurous.

3. View New England’s scenic waterfalls

Two of the state’s best waterfalls are in the northwest corner of Connecticut, just a brief drive from the inn and are well worth a visit.

Campbell Falls

Campbell Falls

One of Norfolk’s best secrets, Campbell Falls is just a few miles north of the inn. The 100-foot drop of the Whiting River is actually just over the MA border in New Marlborough but the trailhead is in Campbell Falls State Park in Norfolk.  Hike down to the falls on a lovely gently-sloped trail lined by ferns.

Great Falls

This 60-foot drop of the Housatonic River is located in nearby Falls Village. The main viewing platform is just a short walk from the parking area so you can make it a short hike, or hike along the Appalachian Trail, which runs right along the falls. Grab lunch in the quaint town of Falls Village.

4. Scenic Hikes

Haystack Mountain State Park

The 34-foot stone tower at the summit of Haystack Mountain (1716 ft above sea level) allows visitors to see the mountain peaks in 4 states. The park entrance is just a mile from the inn so you can either walk or drive. There’s a road that goes half way up the mountain. Prominent along the road is an outstanding show of mountain laurel in the spring and summer and a spectacular view of foliage in the fall.  From the parking lot at the end of the road, there is a rugged ½ mile trail to the summit.  If you’d like a longer hike, you can park at the entrance and walk up the road or take the trail on your right up the mountain.

Dennis Hill State Park

Dennis Hill, a 240-acre estate, was gifted to the State of Connecticut in 1935 by Dr. Frederick Shephard Dennis, a noted NY surgeon.  The unique summit pavilion, located at an elevation of 1627 feet, was designed by renowned architect Alfredo Taylor and was formerly a summer residence.  You can drive right up to the pavilion and see views of Haystack Mountain in CT, Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts, and the Green Mountains of Vermont on a clear day.

There’s also a hiking trail to a stone and wooden picnic gazebo with lovely scenic views in the park.

Haystack Mountain and Dennis Hill are perfect places for a picnic. Add a picnic-for-2 when you make your reservation- it will include everything you need to make it a memorable day!

5. Explore Historical Gardens

The Gardens at The Mount

Located in nearby Lenox, Massachusetts, The Mount is the home of noted American author Edith Wharton, and is designated a National Historic Landmark. Though the museum and indoor areas are currently closed due to the pandemic, the gardens are open to the public. In Italian Villas and Their Gardens (1904), Wharton elaborated that gardens should be architectural compositions, just like houses. She envisioned her gardens as an elegant series of outdoor rooms, in harmony with the house and the surrounding natural landscape. You can experience much of Wharton’s original design for the gardens today. Enjoy the sunken Italian Garden with a central fountain, French Flower Garden with a rectangular reflecting pool, and Rock Garden with grass steps cut into a sloping hill. Depending on when you visit, you’ll enjoy a colorful burst of blooming phlox, stocks, lilies, hydrangea, dianthus, delphinium, dahlias, begonias, and more.

These are just a few of the activities guests enjoy while visiting the Manor House Inn. We love ensuring our guests have a memorable stay by helping them explore all of the unique experiences the region offers. Check out the Activities page on our website for other ideas or give us a call- we’re happy to share information about the area we call home. Plan your getaway today!