Connecticut is one of those states that when you tell people about it they look at you blankly because they’ve never heard of it and have no idea where it is. They know New York state, for obvious reasons, and they’ve often heard of Massachusetts because they know Boston, but Connecticut is usually the forgotten state. We’ve lived in CT for 3.5 years now and we’re learning that it has much more to offer than people realise.
Our newest find is in Kent, Connecticut. Downtown Kent is famous because, allegedly, it’s the town that was the inspiration for the show, Gilmore Girls. It has a quaint main street filled with antique shops, a bookstore, artist studios, restaurants and coffee shops. Some of my favourite spots are:
- Kent Coffee and Chocolate Company, where they serve handmade chocolates, sweet treats and an eclectic selection of coffees and teas.
- The bookshop, which has a distinctly far left wing feel; the first display I spotted was an array of books on feminism including a book called ‘Feminists for Babies’. It has a wonderful selection of books by local authors too.
- Last but by no means least, The Cheese Shop. On this occasion, I tried the French hot dog which was a traditional hot dog sausage with Gruyere cheese, caramelised onions and a ciabatta bun. Crunchy, creamy, cheesy, delicious.
Next stop was Kent Falls State Park where there is one of the highest waterfalls in Connecticut. The sound of the water pounding the rocks is enough to wash away all of your troubles. It’s a stunning spot, even on a cloudy and rainy winter’s day.
After the falls, we headed for Arethusa Farm Dairy in Bantam, Connecticut. This place is a feast for the eyes and nose. They sell the most incredible ice cream – silky, creamy, flavour punching and incredibly moreish – cheese, milk, cream, and many other seasonal dairy products.
Ice cream wise, we had two tubs between four of us. A tub gives you two scoops of ice cream and, unless you have a serious passion for all that is creamy, is easily enough for two people. We tried chocolate, strawberry, rum and raisin and mint. They also sell cheese and I got to sample a few, leaving with a chunk of blue. We tried and purchased a bottle of their famous seasonal eggnog which is milk, egg, and an array of spices; it’s like a lighter, thinner version of custard and tastes divine.
Our server, Justin, made our experience. He was knowledgeable, enthusiastic and super smiley; just what you need when you come in from the dark, wet and cold outdoors for ice cream!
Arethusa also has a charming coffee shop and restaurant on the same street. The coffee shop is contemporary in design, but with old-fashioned influences. It’s a great spot for a drink, but it gets very busy at peak times, so be prepared for a wait. If the restaurant food is anything like the ice cream, I would image it’s truly fabulous. I hope to try it one day.
Despite the gloomy weather, our whistle-stop tour of some of the gems of Connecticut was fabulous and made extra special by good company, delicious food and the desire to explore!