Back in October, my mom, sister, and I popped up to Connecticut for our annual mother-daughter trip. Our yearly mother-daughter trip has become a cherished tradition and, with each new destination, we not only explore a fresh landscape but also remind ourselves of how special it is to create these memories and to spend this undivided time together. In the past, we’ve done such places as Miami, Harbour Island (a different trip but a great post on the island), Palm Beach, New York City, and Vermont + New Hampshire + Maine. Each destination has been unique and provided us with the perfect balance of things to do but also ways to relax and recharge. Since the trip is such a highlight every year, I was really looking forward to 3 nights away in the picturesque autumn destination of Litchfield County, CT.
Litchfield Country is one of the slower paced destinations we’ve been to but this was exactly what we were all three looking for in 2023’s trip. I was just coming off of a brutal first trimester and nothing in the world sounded better to me than a cozy few days in Connecticut. Our days were still full though so I’m excited to share a getaway guide to Litchfield County, Connecticut. I received so many DMs with questions about our stay so I hope this post helps. It seems a lot of y’all are interested in the destination and in a stay at The Mayflower Inn & Spa too.
A Getaway Guide to Litchfield County, Connecticut
The picturesque landscapes of Litchfield County, CT promise an enchanting escape into a quiet world where timeless charm and modern luxury meet. This is largely thanks to the inn where we stayed. Nestled amid the rolling hills and scenic beauty is The Mayflower Inn, a resplendent haven that sets the stage for an unforgettable retreat. From the moment you pull up the driveway to the hotel, it is clear why so many New Yorkers flee the city for a few days of Connecticut relaxation.
In this travel guide, I delve into not just the extraordinary accommodations at The Mayflower Inn (spoiler alert: we LOVED it!) but I also explore the culinary delights in the area, the antique treasures waiting to be discovered, and the handful of activities that transform this corner of Connecticut into a destination worth creating cherished memories in. So, here goes, I’m spilling my thoughts on the allure of Litchfield County, CT and my can’t-miss items to check off your list when visiting the area.
Where to Stay in Litchfield County, CT
THE place to stay and the reason why so many have flocked to Litchfield County over the years is The Mayflower Inn & Spa. Before I share my two cents about our absolutely splendid stay here, it’s important to note that Gilmore Girls show creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, stayed at the Mayflower Inn when she was in the area and used it as the inspiration for her iconic tv series. If you’re anything like me, then you’re already sold on the Inn. I digress…
About The Mayflower Inn & Spa
Nestled in the northwest corner of Connecticut, The Mayflower Inn & Spa beckons travelers with its enchanting allure, rich colorful interior design, incredibly memorable spa, lush grounds, sensational food, and inviting atmosphere. From the moment you step onto the manicured grounds, the air is imbued with a sense of tranquility that sets the tone for a truly magical stay. We felt it the second we stepped foot out of our car. The autumn air in New England can’t be beat either (although I hear the same sensations wash over you in the summer and any time you visit the Inn).
The Inn, with its historic charm and luxurious accommodations, offers a sanctuary where every detail is thoughtfully curated to create an atmosphere of refined comfort. It truly is the perfect balance of being inspiring and comfortable. Whether indulging in the sumptuous amenities, savoring exquisite cuisine, or simply wandering through the meticulously landscaped gardens, The Mayflower Inn is not just a place to rest your head but a destination that invites you to immerse yourself in a world of serenity and peace.
My sister booked our stay for us through her business and she mentioned that I was pregnant when booking. The hotel went above and beyond to make sure I was comfortable by having a pregnancy pillow waiting for me in our room (I don’t even have one at home so this was a treat!), providing me with delicious pregnancy amenities (non-alcoholic beverages in the room and pregnancy toiletries like belly oil), and by having a little gift for the baby waiting. I was truly impressed.
Rooms & Amenities
The rooms are so well appointed, thanks to the ever-talented and widely celebrated designer Celerie Kemble, that it proves to be an incredible oasis for interiors aficionados. One of the things I judge a hotel by is its common spaces. Do they provide an inspiring space to sit down in in the morning with a book or a few emails over coffee? Do they make you want to nestle in in the evening with a cocktail and a deck of cards? And do they actually invite guests in to enjoy and embrace the hotel? If they don’t, a hotel falls in a big way on my list. The common spaces at The Mayflower accomplish all of this in spades!
We nestled up by the indoor fireplaces and outdoor firepits every single day with cocktails or tea and made ourselves right at home. Pure bliss. The marigold room is as enchanting as it looks in photographs too.
We dined in every restaurant and particularly loved The Garden Room (beautiful and delightful) for breakfast and The Tap Room (cozy and comforting) for dinner. More on the restaurants below.
We turned an entire day into a spa day by starting the day off with a workout and following it up with multiple treatments, lunch at The Well, quiet time in the stunning relaxation room (we read and needlepointed), and dips in the pool. It was a day for the books (more below).
Things to Do in the Area
I received so many questions about what type of trip one should take to the Mayflower and received countless DMs along the lines of “Out of curiosity what do you do at this hotel? Walks, massages, good food, and relax? Or did you go to nearby towns?” This is such a great question because there is plenty to do but also not a lot to do. I share more below but, in short, I would say that everything I’d heard about the hotel and the surrounding area of Litchfield county was totally accurate… as you can tell, I think the hotel is marvelous in every way!
It is located in the country without tons to do but there are some lovely shops in the surrounding towns that you can pop around to visit, some nearby hikes, a few nearby wineries and farms, and some truly memorable restaurants. In truth, there is just enough to do. The hotel is perfect as an escape from New York City or any city or any busy life. It provides a chance to get out to the country. I’d recommend it for a mother daughter trip, a girlfriend trip, a babymoon, or a relaxing getaway with your loved one when you just want to be outside, savor slow days, relax, and be cozy. It is not the right destination if you want to be on the go or popping into Instagram spot after Instagram spot.
I also have to say that I am biased but I am always impressed and proud of my sister – she is the best in the game in the travel industry! The boutique travel agency she founded, Sea To City Travels, is wonderful and she has the best recommendations within the US and all around the world. She also gets her clients so many wonderful perks when she books for them because she has relationships with properties everywhere. It pays so much to work with travel advisors (aka Sarah!) on your trips. I book every trip I take through her, domestic and international.
What to Do in Litchfield County, CT
Wondering what to do in Litchfield County, CT? My recommendation: immerse yourself in a quintessential New England experience complete with exploring quaint towns and charming antique shops, indulging in local shopping gems, embarking on scenic hikes, savoring the seasons with apple picking and farm visits, and unwinding with a touch of luxury during a tranquil spa day.
Where do I even start? We spent a whole day doing a spa day, which was to die for! It was a day of ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation complete with a barre class, bespoke treatments (exquisite facials and massages), dips in the pool, the most tranquil ambiance, and a divine lunch served in the Spa dining area. It is a haven for blissful pampering. Plan to clock in time in the relaxation room – it is sprawling and so beautiful. We read and needlepointed.
Hop town to town to take in the area’s best antique stores. Plain Goods was easily my favorite (In New Peston). The treasures in this shop go from room to room and simply do not stop. I honestly could have taken home the entire store and walked away with not a single thing I didn’t love. Also in New Peston, you’ll find Dawn Hill Antiques, Upstairs Antiques, and River Song Country Antiques. In Woodbury, Farmhouse Antiques & Design and Mill House Antiques & Gardens. And in Litchfield, South Street Antiques, Bradford House Antiques, and Jeffrey Tillou Antiques. In New Milford, Elephant’s Trunk Flee Market. In Kent, RT Facts.
In Litchfield, Sister Parish (goes without saying but homewares and fabrics), Little-ish (children’s), Milton Market (homewares and apothecary). In New Preston, Sweeets (treats), Privet House (homewares), and Pergola (homewares).
We loved our visit to Averill Farm. Set on a gorgeous hilltop, it is a quintessential New England farm and orchard (10 generations in the same family!) that is perfect for an afternoon visit. The farm offers delicious apple cider and fall fruits you can pick like apples and pears along with goodies from many area farms as well as mums, maple syrup, honey, eggs, tomatoes, gourds, squash and pumpkins. Don’t forget the pies – Pear Cardamom Crumb, Honey Pie, Maple Apple and Pear Crisp, and Pumpkin with maple glazed walnuts and ginger cookie crust, to name a few.
On our trip, we walked the trails on the Mayflower Inn property one morning, which was a lovely start to the day. We didn’t venture out to any surrounding hikes so I can’t personally recommend any but we heard over and over again that the area is home to many wonderful hikes. I’d start your search here or here.
Where to Eat in Litchfield County, CT
Discover a mini but marvelous culinary haven in Litchfield County, CT, where farm-to-table delights await at local eateries that seamlessly blend New England charm with gourmet excellence. My restaurant recommendations below just scratch the surface but this is where I’ve loved eating the two times I’ve been in the area. The focus on food in Litchfield County is around celebrating local flavors, produce, and farms as evident by all the restaurants below.
You absolutely cannot go to Litchfield County without eating at Arethusa al Tavolo. The dinner we had here was the best meal I had in all of 2023! That is a big claim to live up to but I feel confident that if you eat at this farm-to-table restaurant, you will have the same outstanding food and experience that we had! They use all their own Arethusa dairy products from their farm and the freshest local ingredients. The result is nothing short of sensational.
Located right next door to Arethusa al Tavolo is Arethusa Farm Dairy, the farm’s delightful ice cream shop. This scoop shop offers fresh waffle cones and the farm’s full line of dairy products: cheese, yogurt, ice cream, milk, butter, sour cream, and their seasonal eggnog. You’ll have to taste it for yourself but the ice cream is out of this world. On a beautiful day, expect a line out the door. It has a cult following.
Located across the street from the other two Arethusa locations is Arethusa a Mano, the farm’s yummy café. Among a wide variety of house made pastries, the café also offer breakfast and light lunch options – hand rolled bagels, doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches, paninis, and wraps.
Until recently, Ore Hill was considered a hidden gem in the town of Kent but, last year, the New York Times put the Litchfield County restaurant on its “the 50 restaurants that excite us most right now” list and now the secret is out. It is an intimate, tasting menu-focused restaurant anchored in local ingredients with a menu that changes seasonally. The atmosphere is no frills so the food speaks for itself!
Swyft: The sister restaurant to Ore Hill, Swyft is a casual tavern serving seasonal food (soups, salads, pastas, and sandwiches) and Neapolitan style wood-fired pizzas. Go for the pizza though. It is really standout!
This was the perfect spot to stop for an easy, delicious, seasonal lunch while antiquing and shopping around the different towns of Litchfield County. The café serves up pastries and cookies, yummy premade market items, perfect coffee and teas, and a menu of seasonal soups, sandwiches, and more. It is bustling and just the type of café I am always hoping to find when traveling. The market is right across the street and has every delicious local item you could imagine.
Described as the Mayflower Inn’s “elegant dining space,” this light-filled restaurant is where the hotel serves up breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. For dinner, it is their finer dining and very foodie option. We really enjoyed our dinner here but absolutely loved our breakfasts in The Garden Room (the beignets were out of this world). It is the prettiest sun-drenched space that overlooks the Shakespeare Garden, so it seamlessly draws inspiration from the property’s natural splendor. The Garden Room’s menu is always changing but it never stops showcasing the finest in seasonal and local ingredients.
The Mayflower Inn’s casual dining restaurant, The Tap Room, features pub-style fare and quintessential bar snacks that pay homage to classic Northeast cuisine. Think elevated New England classics made with seasonal ingredients, enjoyed alongside fresh cocktails (and the yummiest mocktails!). The burger was perfection as was the caesar and the cavatelli pasta. Of the two restaurants at The Mayflower Inn for dinner, we preferred the casual Tap Room. The atmosphere was so cozy, we never wanted to leave.
Right across from Plain Goods (see above under antiquing) is The Owl, a casual neighborhood food and wine bar with a large lovely terrace and fireside dining – delicious salads, pizza, desserts, and yummy wines.
Serving new American food, Community Table serves up farm-fresh food in a casual dining room. It is a vibrant community fixture in Litchfield County with a devout crowd for its burger Mondays, memorable cocktails, and locally sourced food.
A rustic neighborhood spot featuring a British-leaning pub menu, a cozy fireplace inside for cold days, and a relaxing river-side patio for warm summer days. I ate here last summer with girlfriends while antiquing in Litchfield County and had the loveliest outdoor lunch. It is casual Connecticut to a tee.