Nov 22, 2011
01:34 PM
Discover Connecticut

Best of Connecticut Road Trip: Litchfield

 

Yes, peak foliage season has come and gone, but that certainly doesn't mean that the Litchfield Hills aren't worth visiting. And what better place to explore than Litchfield proper, home to the first law school in the United States as well as five Best of Connecticut 2011 winners.

Like so many of these roadtrips (and every day, really), it's always great to start with a good breakfast. While in Litchfield, that means Patty's Restaurant, a local landmark where you can enjoy all variety of morning starter, from omelets to French toast to Beligan waffles. Sit at the counter, read the paper and just soak up wonderful local vibe.

Once properly soaked, it's out and about, and the next destination on your tour can be the renowned White Flower Farm—although it's currently closed for the season. Still if you visit during warmer months, there is plenty to see here, from shrubs, annuals and perennials to the begonia greenhouse and acres of display gardens.. And you can access many products year round through White Flower Farm's website.

If you are looking to improve the garden of your soul, then Charym may be the spot for you. The multifaceted health faciility offers an interdisciplinary approach to personal health, meshing yoga, dance and various spa-like healing activities. Cleansing the mind for the days ahead.

It'll be good to cleanse the palate for the hours ahead, too, as there are a pair of excellent restaurants to visit. The first is the four-star West Street Grill, where you will find rising star chef James Cosgriff handling duties in the kitchen. An innovative spirit, the well-versed Cosgriff plates a variety of modern American dishes, including many seasonal specialties. One of the delights here is the tomato salad, our pick for best in the state and featuring tomatoes from local farms.

The other great place to wind down a day is at the Village Restaurant, a friendly tavern that is much more than a local watering hole. A Litchfield landmark, it serves up hearty pub food as well as terrific dishes like veal sorrentino and Spanish cioppino. Dine in the tap room or the restaurant; either place the food and ambiance are wonderful.

Here are the full write-ups for each Best of Connecticut 2011 winner in Litchfield.

Breakfast: Egg Dishes
Patty’s Restaurant, Litchfield, (860) 567-3335
What weekend morning in the fall would not be improved by an apple-and-sausage omelet at Patty’s? Or for that matter, what morning at any time of year would not be improved merely by walking into Patty’s, where the tables and booths are occupied by happy diners, the waitstaff bustles efficiently and the aromas of coffee, toast, bacon and other savories mingle harmoniously?
 

Chef: Rising Star
James Cosgriff, West Street Grill
Litchfield, (860) 567-3885, (weststreetgrill.com)

James Cosgriff, who likes to be called Jim, is head chef at a four-star Connecticut restaurant at 26 because he’s brilliant and because James O’Shea, who owns West Street Grill and is a superb chef in his own right, recognizes talent and generously rewards it. Born and raised in Wolcott, Cosgriff learned to cook from his Italian grandmother, took courses at the Connecticut Culinary Institute and at an early age came to West Street Grill, where he learned by doing under the tutelage of a string of chefs who were rising stars themselves and went on to do great things. A hands-on cook who likes to innovate, Cosgriff is curently in love with curing and smoking. His short ribs are fabulous and he has just perfected a hard-to-resist health bread.
 

Neighborhood Restaurant
The Village Restaurant
Litchfield, (860) 567-8307, (village-litchfield.com)

The fare is hearty and so are the folks who gather for food, drink and conversation/gossip at this Litchfield landmark, located just across the street from the town green. The Village is divided into two rooms—on the left side is the lively bar, on the right is the dining room, but on a busy evening there’s a fair amount of movement back and forth. As for the food, there’s a wide selection ranging from pub fare (good onion soup and burgers) to paella, fresh seafood and a nice weekend prime rib.
 

Salad: Tomato
West Street Grill, Litchfield,
(860) 567-3885 (weststreetgrill.com)

West Street Grill’s tomato salad is out of this world. Seriously, it is simply sublime. It all starts with the star—the tomato. Rich, ripe, fresh-picked heirloom tomatoes from Waldingfield Farm in Washington and Tara Farm in Watertown are sliced thick and accompanied only with fresh basil, balsamic reduction and fleur de sel. Sit out front overlooking the historic Litchfield Green and discover a whole new love for this summer staple.
 

Yoga Studio
Charym
Litchfield, (860) 567-7795 (charym.com)

Blending yoga, fitness, healing and spa experiences for a peaceful union of body and mind, Charym offers the perfect sanctuary for any yogi. The building is a converted old lumberyard with a courtyard and garden in back and a Body Temple spa in front. Classes include Ballet Yoga Flow, a combination of ballet-inspired movement and stretches with yoga postures (no dance experience necessary), and Hot Power Yoga, a class that mixes vigorous flow and long holds in a heated room to guarantee a cleansing sweat.
 

Flower/Garden Center
White Flower Farm, Litchfield,
(800) 503-9624 (whiteflowerfarm.com)

No matter how far you are from Litchfield, nationally known White Flower Farm is certainly worth the drive. Spend the day exploring five acres of lush display gardens, venturing through the begonia greenhouse, or meeting horticulturists at any of the various events hosted by the farm. Choose from a vast selection of annuals, bulbs, shrubs, perennials, vines and houseplants, which can be purchased at the retail shop and online.
 

Best of Connecticut Road Trip: Litchfield

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