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Lovely Drive, Sweet Treats

What could be more romantic than a meandering drive through the Connecticut countryside followed by something sweet to eat in a charming setting? Here are three itinerary ideas, all beginning at exits off I-84:

North by Northwest

Leave I-84 at exit 15 in Southbury and head up Route 6 toward Woodbury. You’ll go by Colonial houses and barns, especially once you enter Woodbury. Consider a stop at Glebe House and its unique Gertrude Jekyll garden. Or you may want to drop in at one of the many antiques shops that line the road – George Champion Modern Shop provides a cool visit back to mid-century design ideas.

Up the road a bit, hang a left onto Route 47 for the nice drive to Washington Depot. There, Hickory Stick Bookshop is a superior independent bookstore well worth a browse and a buy. Get back on Route 47. At the end, go left onto Route 202. About a mile up the road, you can take a right to explore the charming, tiny village of New Preston and adjacent Lake Waramaug. Otherwise, continue along 202 until you come to your dessert destination, The White Horse Country Pub, where the very English sweets include Banoffi Pie, Bourbon Bread Pudding and The Grand Duchess Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake.

Stars in the East

Jump off I-84 at exit 73 in Union and take Route 190 to Route 171, perhaps detouring right away into beautiful Bigelow Hollow State Park, where you can hike or even take in a mountain laurel sanctuary. Anyway, continuing on 171 will take you to Route 169 in Woodstock. Here, you can take a turn north for the short drive to see fascinating Roseland Cottage, where the house and gardens depict the summer life of a prosperous family in 19th-century America.

Or just head south on 169, one of Connecticut’s most picturesque roadways. You’ll go through Pomfret, Brooklyn, Canterbury (check out the Prudence Crandall Museum there) and Lisbon, where you’ll want to go east on Route 138, then right on Route 201 in Griswold to a left on Route 165 and your sweet surrender at Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream, one of Connecticut’s best places for homemade ice cream. Try the Almond Coconut or Orange Pineapple, sitting outdoors next to a field of sunflowers, and you won’t care if you ever get back.

Up the Housatonic

Here, you leave I-84 at exit 5 in Danbury and head off north on Route 37. You’ll pass through some of the city and outskirts until you get to New Fairfield. At an intersection there, you can choose between staying on Route 37, which will take you up into the country toward the New York line, and Route 39, which will take you over and around picturesque Candlewood Lake, which may be crowded during summer months.

In any case, the two roads meet up again in Sherman (you might drop in at the White Silo Farm & Winery here), where you should take 39 north to Route 55, and soon you will be joining Route 7 north. In this part of Connecticut, you’re not far from the home of Bridgewater Chocolate — an award-winning favorite of locals and celebrities alike, and a fixture on the CT Chocolate Trail too!

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