We’re lucky to live on a Connecticut road that is sandwiched between the two beautiful towns of Wilton and New Canaan. These charming towns date back to the late 1700s, and aren’t what I would call typical American towns; they have unique New England beuaty. A hallmark of New England is that the surrounding country roads are peppered with clapperboard houses and grand white painted churches and, with the seasonal New England climate, they’re garnished with lush green trees of all shapes and sizes.
New Canaan is one of our favourites with its array of independent shops filled with extravagant, but captivating gifts, from fancy crockery to designer socks. It also boasts many inviting restaurants and bars with the usual relaxed attire American feel, amidst a touch of class. One of the reasons I like this place is that it reminds me of old towns in England where the streets are cobbled and the coffee shops beckon you in with promises of hot coffee and spongy cakes topped with sweet icing. It doesn’t have the country pubs you would expect, and that makes the British heritage, but why would it? I didn’t move to America to find England; although, snippets of it warm my heart.
At this time of the year, everyone is wrapped up in thick coats and gloves. Today it’s not too cold at about 37 (2 or 3 degrees), but the windchill brings it down a degree or two and adds an extra bite. At the bottom of the main street, the boy scouts have set up a waffle stand bringing community cheer and much needed, warming sustenance from the winter.
Children are laughing and it’s bringing smiles to the faces of passers-by; people are milling in and out of the shops, a sense of purpose on their faces, laden with pretty gift bags filled with Christmas goodies for their loved ones.
Sparkly lights fill the trees, each one like a beacon of sunlight to warm you on a cold winter’s day. As night draws in, they entice you into the restaurants and bars for hot food and warming liquor. We stop into one of our choice cafes for a warming cup of hot apple cider; sweet, with a hint of bitterness, and paired with a slice of cake to spike our sugar and keep us on task.
New Canaan gives me the sense of being hauled up inside a Christmas bauble, protected from any harm and surrounded by natural and man-made, rustic beauty. Almost every store is self-sufficient and oozes with the love and effort that built it into a treasure; I feel compelled to ‘shop local’ to support this star among matter.
New England is filled with gems just like this one, all with their unique quirks and Americanisms and, a little bit of history; if you have the patience to find them. America isn’t just strip-malls and diners; it has oodles of hidden charms all of its own.