10 Things To Love About New Milford
By Jacque Lynn Schiller
Of Connecticut’s largest town (in square miles), I was really only familiar with two New Milford attractions, The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm —where I’m determined to take a cooking class before the year is out — and the famed, funky Elephant Trunk’s Country Flea Market. But on my recent visit to the inspiring harts gallery, I was delighted to see that the downtown area was undergoing something of a renaissance. So while nearby Candlewood Lake is lovely, Pratt Nature Center is intriguing and I’m anxious to try newly opened American Kitchen, for this post I’m sticking close to the village green.
1. That Green
A quarter-mile-long rectangle dividing Main Street in two, the handsome village green boasts an iconic bandstand gazebo and is the site of popular Village Fair Days in July and annual Festival of Lights on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The city center is decked and trees adorned to create a magical Christmas in Connecticut scene. And, as you might expect, the town holds its farmers’ market there, too.
2. Fitbit Friendly
The New Milford Center Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, makes for a pleasant stroll and shopping sans car possible. Comprised of eight blocks with a major portion lying atop a plateau overlooking the Housatonic River, the setting “embodies the 18th and 19th century character and history of the typical Connecticut town.” Architecture lovers can make a game of spot the style, with examples ranging from Victorian to Art Moderne, Greek Revival to Craftsman all represented in the tree-filled area.
Dagwoods bianca flatbread with mozzarella, honey and pistachios.
3. Around the Culinary World in a Block
The restaurant offerings are equally diverse. I had the pleasure of dining at Dagwoods during their soft opening, and can report them at the top of their game. Jalapeno mac-n-cheese is my kind of comfort food. We’ve also heard great things about romantic Lucia, the farm-to-table goodness at Green Granary, inventive Tonios Panino paninis and in the liquid lunch category, Nelly O’s Whiskey Bar.
4. Mane Things
You know when you ask for recommended things to check out in a town and one of the suggestions that gets repeated is a hair salon, you can trust the place with your tresses. Joe’s Salon, says a local, is “very chic, very New York.”
5. Main Attractions
See what I did there? A true cinema treasure, the black and white Carrara glass façade of the Bank Street Theater is as review worthy as the films shown inside. With four screens (and state of the art digital projection) playing the latest blockbusters along with the occasional indie, there is talk of expanding programming and eventually hosting a festival.
6. All Aboard
Okay, so it may be a while before passenger trains run again connecting New Milford commuters with nearby towns, but one can imagine the quaint days of riding the rails as the historic old train station still stands. You can read all about the Danbury line extension on the HVCEO improvements page or check in with the Chamber of Commerce, now housed in the depot.
7. Amazing Space
I love a thoughtful renovation and by the looks of 19 Main Street, developer Gary Goldring put in a lot of time and consideration into the elegant building’s recent restoration. If you’re looking for an event space in Litchfield County, I highly recommend you venture over for a look at the mixed-use venue now known as United Bank.
Interior of 19 Main Street; Village Center for the Arts.
Resplendent with original details like mosaic floors in the lobby and floor to ceiling windows, the impressive stone structure has already hosted several tastings and is ideal for an eclectic wedding.
8. Creative Play
Cultivating culture for all ages, New Milford offers multiple opportunities for both hands-on and audience-only enjoyment of the arts. TheatreWorks is an award-winning, non-Equity company, presenting excellent regional performances.Buck’s Rock Creative and Performing Arts Camp is a unique self-directed sleepaway where artists aged 9-16 are encouraged to follow their passions at their own pace. At the Village Center for the Arts, classes in various arts and crafts are provided to the community and the harts gallery has announced a roster of thought-provoking workshops.
9. Ready-Made Fun
For more than years, this Nordica Toys has been a one-stop-shop for memorable gifts and games, both modern and nostalgic. With its massive inventory, be ready to spend a while in the varied and whimsical sections. I like its old-fashioned vibe, but they carry current “Dear Santa” requests too. Gift wrapping is free, by the way.
Event space at Ameico.
10. Trad over Fad
On the very modern front, behind a very old front actually, is design shop Ameico. Located in a landmark building, which once operated as the town’s telephone company, 29 Church St now connects customers with 20th century design classics along with contemporary creations. The airy upstairs is also used as a gallery space, with exhibits such as Interaction of Color and Form: Works by Josef and Anni Albers (closing October 31). My own “Dear Santa” letter will be a link to their product catalog.