Wondering how to find the most scenic routes for fall foliage? Drivers need look no further than the web site www.visitwesternct.com.
Illustrated virtual tours in Fairfield County and Litchfield Hills can be printed from this site or can be accessed with smart phones or i-pads to offer prime routes on the go. The detailed driving directions on these themed tours not only lead to scenery but suggest stops along the way for a visit to an historic site, an art center, a stroll around a village green or a walk in the woods. Tours are conveniently broken down into “legs” adaptable to any time table.
LITCHFIELD HILLS LEAF WATCHING
The leafy Litchfield Hills are filled with prime foliage routes. Landscapes, Grandscapes and Views beginning in Goshen leads to the Housatonic State and Mohawk State Forests, the West Cornwall Covered Bridge and part of the recently designated Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, noted for its landscapes and traditional New England towns. Rte. 41 from Lakeville south to Sharon is one of the most scenic roads in the state with large colonial homes, dairy farms, scores of ponds and brooks, flower strewn meadows, and range upon range of hills.
The tour titled A Cornucopia of Classic Countryside leading from Torrington takes in wooded beauty spots like Burr Pond State Park and the Tunxis State Forest as well as classic Colonial towns such as Riverton, Winsted and Norfolk with village greens canopied in autumn color.
A total of two dozen themed tours provide ideas for antiquers, hikers, bikers and kayakers as well as motorists.
FAIRFIELD COUNTY SHORELINES AND LANDSCAPES
Fairfield County routes combine the beauty of the Long Island Sound shoreline with the wooded hills further inland. Audubon, Architecture and Art, starting with Greenwich and its three offshore islands, includes the 275-acre Greenwich Audubon Society, one of the best places in fall for spotting hawks and other migratory birds. Other special autumn panoramas are found at the 80-acre Stamford Museum and Nature Center and the Bartlett Arboretum. The tour concludes with a magnificent backwoods drive from Stamford to the New Canaan Nature Center.
Lighthouses, Oysters and Landscapes from Norwalk offers an optional cruise to Sheffield Island and other shore stops before heading to Weston and Devils Den, the largest nature preserve in Fairfield County, home to 145 species of birds, 23 species of mammals, 475 varieties of trees and wildflowers and 21 miles of wooded walking trails. Devils Den offers many panoramic overlooks. Another lovely stop is Weir Farm, America’s only National Park devoted to art, and the unspoiled rocky landscape punctuated by meadows, stonewalls and dense woods that inspired artist Alden Weir in the early 1900s as well as scores of other painters since.
A special virtual tour for kayakers is offered on routes in Norwalk and Westport.
For more information and suggestions for restaurants or lodging in the area, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at www.visitwesternct.com. Ask for a free copy of Unwind, a full-color, 152-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop, and dine in Litchfield Hills and Fairfield County.