Tour Highlights: Visit unspoiled countryside that makes memorable photos, shop in unspoiled villages, visit one of Connecticut's only covered bridges whose history dates back to the Revolution, see the state's highest waterfalls and visit the first Law School in the Nation.
Begin the day in New Milford, Connecticut's largest town once known to the Potatuck Indians as Weantinock meaning beautiful valley. The land was purchased from Chief Waramaug, in 1703, nearly three-quarters of a century before the Revolution by a company of individuals from Milford Connecticut, who named their new home, New Milford. To begin your foliage tour, drive along Rte. 7 North following the Housatonic River to Kent.
The next 28 miles of Rte. 7 north that runs parallel to the Housatonic River from New Milford to Kent has received special designation for its scenic beauty. The Housatonic River, whose Indian name means Place Beyond the Mountains, headwaters in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts and makes its way down 132 miles through the Litchfield Hills in Connecticut to Long Island Sound.
Stop for a scenic photo of Bull's Bridge located in South Kent just off of Rte. 7. The Bridge you see today was rebuilt in 1842 using the town and queen truss design. Over the years, one bridge replaced another as each was washed away by high water and ice. During the Revolutionary War, Kent was known for its' strategic importance and for supplying the Continental Army with iron ore, goods and soldiers. Local history has documented that George Washington had an accident at Bull's Bridge in 1781.
What happened has never been told in detail, but one thing is clear; one of his horses, perhaps his own mount, fell in the raging Housatonic River. One exciting bit of confirmation regarding this incident appears in George Washington's own expense account for March 3, 1781. The first travel expense of the day noted: getting a horse out of Bull's Bridge Falls, $215.00.The amount spent to resolve this incident indicates that it involved quite a rescue operation. It must have taken time and the General was on his way to make plans with the French for naval support of New York against the British. Any ordinary horse might have been allowed to stay in the river. So, it might be assumed that this was no ordinary horse, and perhaps it was Washington's own mount. Today, we can only wonder.
Enter Kent and explore the shops and art galleries that line the street here. Yankee Magazine named the charming village of Kent in the Litchfield Hills the peak spot for leaf peeping in all of New England.
Have lunch at the Fife n' Drum Restaurant or in one of the restaurants or cafes on Main Street in the center of Kent.
1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Continuing on Rte. 7 North, stop at Kent Falls State Park for scenic photos. Here you can admire the falls from the bottom or hike a quarter-mile up the hill and feel the mist on your face as the water cascades down 250 feet on its way to join the Housatonic River. Kent Falls are the largest and highest waterfalls in the state.
Visit the Litchfield History Museum and Tapping Reeve House and Law School in the historic village of Litchfield said to be one of the most unspoiled and well preserved examples of an 18th century village. After touring this fascinating museum and the first Law School in America, explore the shops along the Litchfield Green. www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org