Traveling to Vermont and New Hampshire isn’t possible for many New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut residents this winter. Thankfully, the northwest corner of Connecticut offers charming New England villages and activities and it’s much closer to home! Spending a couple of days relaxing in front of the fireplace with a good book is the ideal break for some. Our fireplace suites provide the perfect spot! Others are looking for a more adventurous getaway. Here are some fun activities for a memorable getaway at the Manor House Inn:
Enjoy the beauty of New England while hiking or snowshoeing
Spending time outside is one of the best ways to take advantage of the New England winter. With 3 state parks plus more than 6,000 acres of preserved forest, Norfolk offers dozens of scenic hiking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing trails for all levels.
The stone tower at the summit of Haystack Mountain was designed by renowned architect Ehrick Rossiter, who also designed the Manor House Inn, and offers views of the peaks in 3 states on a clear day. Just a mile from the inn, you can either hike through Barbour’s Woods or drive to the park entrance. From there, choose between walking up the road that twists and turns up the mountain and then take a ½ mile trail to the summit, or take the trail to the right of the park entrance all the way up.
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 stone pavilion at the summit was formerly a summer residence and it’s now the perfect location for a picnic. You can drive right up to the pavilion and see views of Haystack Mountain, Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts, and maybe even the Green Mountains of Vermont. There’s also a hiking trail to a stone and wooden picnic gazebo with lovely scenic views in the park. The trailhead is to the left of the road.
Great Mountain Forest offers more than 6,000 acres of pristine forestland for hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Seasonal activities include group day hikes, fly tying workshops, campfire poetry readings, and star gazing. You can also visit a working maple syrup sugar house in February and March.
Go on a tasting tour of local craft breweries
The farmland in the southern Berkshires makes it a natural home for an ever-growing number of craft breweries. There are 3 award-winning craft breweries just minutes from the inn that offer more than just tasty brews, including fantastic food trucks, live music, fire pits and even hiking and mountain biking trails. Discover fresh, handcrafted local brews and more at these destinations:
Norbrook Farm Brewery is just 3 miles from the inn and offers a truly unique experience. Enjoy a flight of their handcrafted beers, including Dennis Hill Estate Saison, Ol’ Man McMullen’s Porter, and Haystack Ale Belgian Dubbel, in their spacious tasting room or by the large fire pit on their outdoor patio. In addition to beer tastings, Norbrook offers hiking/snowshoeing/cross country skiing and mountain biking trails, as well as a disc golf course on their 450+ acres. Make sure you don’t leave without stopping by to say “hi” to Norbrook’s Black Welsh Mountain sheep, including Baaab Dillon and Wooly Nelson.
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 Lazy Hazy Housy New England IPA (a guest favorite!), Cascadia Farewell IPA, Derailed Brown Ale, and Canaan Mountain Lager in a spacious brewpub and outdoor seating areas.
Little Red Barn Brewers was started in 2013 by two brothers in a small red barn in nearby Barkhamstead. In 2017, they opened a tasting room Winsted along the Mad River, 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. Little Red Barn is popular for live music and food from some of the best food trucks in New England. They offer outdoor seating as well as limited indoor seating.
Visit a working dairy farm for delectable handcrafted chocolates
Thorncrest Farm in Goshen is the home of Milk House Chocolates. Their handcrafted artisanal chocolates are made in small batches, one at a time, with fresh milk, cream and butter. Their selection of chocolate barks, seasonal chocolates, and truffles, are unforgettable. Clint and Kimberly Thorn built their farm and chocolate business in Connecticut after being inspired by visiting artisan chocolate shops in 13 European countries. Clint focuses on the pedigrees, feeds, nutrition, comfort and quality of the cows to produce the right type of milk for the flavor and consistency for the chocolate and ganache. Kimberly blends the cream, butter, milk from different cows and flavors to develop the subtle combinations needed for each artisan chocolate. Every chocolate uses milk from specific cows which are blended at different percentages. As an example, milk from their cows Pearl (45%), Viola (30%) and Princess (25%) is combined to create the smooth, subtle creamy taste and soft melting of the Hazelnut Coffee Praline. Stop by for a tasting and to see their cows in the stable (open from 10 to 3 Thursday to Sunday). If you’re lucky, you may even get to see a baby calf.
Explore the architectural charm of a quintessential New England town
Incorporated in 1758, Norfolk retains the architectural charm and ambience that were created at the turn of the century when the town was a popular summer resort for New Yorkers. The Village Green reflects Norfolk’s colonial layout, with a white steepled church and stone chapel known for its spectacular display of Tiffany stained glass windows, some of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s most incredible works of art. Take a self-guided walking tour around Norfolk’s Historic District, which encompasses homes and buildings that showcase the work of seven 19th and early 20th century architects of national standing. Finish your tour at the Berkshire Country Store, where you can buy local products and enjoy a tasty deli sandwich and cup of soup. Or visit Wood Creek Grill, a full service restaurant with a broad menu of delicious food and libations, located in the historic Royal Arcanum Building. Ask us for the “Walking Historical Norfolk” brochure and spend the day exploring!
Whether you’re looking for some quiet time to reconnect with your significant other or an adventurous weekend, you’ll make wonderful memories on your winter weekend escape at the Manor House Inn.