Notes from the Field: Road Trip Treasures

By Karin Lidbeck Brent

As a stylist and contributing editor for New England Home, one of the great side benefits of my job is traveling the back roads of New England. As I explore the far corners of all six states while scouting and styling, it’s the discovery of small villages, off-the-beaten-track shops and restaurants, and the scenic back roads through mountains and farmland that becomes part of my quest for fabulous projects.

Recently on a trip to Norfolk, Connecticut, and the neighboring New Marlborough, Massachusetts, I discovered a string of exceptional destinations with historic and architectural interest. Tucked away in the countryside, in an area of one square mile, is a treasure chest of discoveries well worth exploring.

Gedney Farm
Staying at the this quintessential old dairy-barn-turned-hotel was an extraordinary experience.

Gedney Farm has been transformed into a unique inn featuring sixteen beautifully crafted guest rooms that creatively incorporate the architecture of the old cattle barn, offering elegant, highly styled rooms and tasteful design. Another barn is used as a larger venue, accommodating many weddings and other events.

Photos by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Mepal Manor & Spa
Heading out, just down the road I was transported back in time by a stately grand manor house built by a prominent local resident in 1906. In the autumn setting, the Mepal Manor & Spa was breathtaking.

This majestic home on a panoramic property is now an inn and spa with a fine restaurant that hosts a fantastic Sunday night fireside dinner. Prepare to be treated like family and eat a delicious and memorable meal.

The Old Inn and Tavern
A surprising discovery was made when I stopped for directions: The Old Inn on the Green. In 1760 this inn was a popular stage coach stop on what is now Route 57 between Hartford and Pittsfield. I decided to make the trek back for what turned out to be a truly special dinner. Since electricity has never been installed in the dining rooms, you will eat by candlelight–just one of the features that make this contemporary American restaurant a magical setting to enjoy a hearty autumn meal of local fare on a chilly evening.

Southfield Store
Just over the river and through the woods, on a quiet back road, is the Southfield Store. Exceptional breakfast pastries and breads baked locally, surrounded by old world charm, make this a great place to start the day with morning coffee.

New England offers so many spectacular back roads and vistas, and I’m happy to count them as one of my job perks.

You might also enjoy seeing these nearby homes:
Ripple Effect (a light, breezy lakeside retreat)
The Hills Are Alive (home to the Novogratz family from Bravo’s 9 By Design)
Past Presence (a restoration of a 1790s colonial residence)

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