Welcome to a Trail of Treasures Last Updated: September 2023
“There are rest and healing in the contemplation of antiquities.” - Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi
Relive the rich antiques history of Connecticut through the Connecticut Antiques Trail. Now there’s a guided way to experience antiques and the living past. The trail officially brings together Connecticut’s antiquing community all in one place – its dealers, shops, antiques centers, auction houses, markets and shows, and historic inns – so antiquing is easier and more convenient to find, explore and enjoy. The Connecticut Antiques Trail winds through historical and scenic Connecticut. Your enlightening, restorative journey begins here.
Connecticut’s antiques heritage is proud and renowned.
By the late 1800s, some of New England’s earliest antiques collectors were living in Hartford. From this emerging interest, enterprising Nutmeggers set up shop as among the industry’s earliest dealers. These pioneers were instrumental in shaping what would become a robust, diverse and prosperous antiquing community and what would establish Connecticut as an important part of the American antiques industry.
Today, the Connecticut Antiques Trail showcases the state’s broad and diverse offering of antiques and celebrates the joy of antiquing. Are you a serious collector and connoisseur, an interior design professional, an antiques enthusiast or just beginning to dabble? Are you drawn to antiques for their design, aesthetics and craftsmanship, their economic value, their connection to the past, their “green” sustainable quality or all of the above? No matter what your interest or your level of experience or expertise, you are invited to explore Connecticut’s rich history through the distinctive lens of its antiques.
An array of styles and origins
On the Connecticut Antiques Trail, you will find an array of styles and origins of antiques such as American, English and French, Asian imports, pieces from more modern eras and collectibles of all kinds. Collections span from high-end showpieces to mid-range items to lower-priced collectibles and are well represented in all five destinations of the state. In Woodbury and Seymour, for example, you will find geographic clusters of antiques shops. Stamford and Putnam are examples of large antiques center destinations, and individual and specialty shops can be found throughout the state, including in Colchester and Kent and along the shoreline, just to name a few destinations. With specialties in specific antiques fields, many renowned dealers and shop owners can offer their expertise and help guide you in your search.
For those with a passion for the “hunt”
Connecticut is where you can acquire antiques pieces of all kinds including furniture, glassware, paintings and prints, rugs, silver, pewter, pottery and porcelain, clocks, folk art, jewelry, books, needlework and maps. You can also discover antique coins, candlesticks, lithographs, stamps, silhouettes and sconces. If you are interested in 17th century, 18th century, 19th century, Victorian, Vintage, Utilitarian, Mid-Century Modern, Industrial or Repurposed – or an integration of styles – you are sure to find it here. And in Connecticut there is a wealth of antiques housed in museums throughout the state where folks can view and admire these objects and even be inspired to begin collections of their own.
Spend some time discovering Connecticut’s many charming antiques shops and see what you will find. Or, shop in the open air at one of the state’s many outdoor antiques events. In spring, summer and fall, you can explore outdoor antiques shows and markets across the state, sifting through hundreds of items at your leisure. And, for a high-energy and entertaining antiquing experience, attend one of Connecticut’s live auctions. You can preview items in advance and if something happens to catch your eye, see if your bid wins and rewards you with your new find.
Because of Connecticut’s long-standing antiques history there are also shops with expertise in antiques restoration and repair services including furniture conservation; silver restoration and re-plating; book binding and restoration; clock repair and restoration; and china, porcelain and ceramics restoration.
After an adventure-filled day of antiquing, reflect on your new discoveries and refresh at one of Connecticut’s charming and historic inns where you can continue to enjoy antiques in traditional and period environments. And with so many choices of restaurants, inns and taverns for dining in historic settings you’ll be inspired to map out your strategy for the next day of antiquing in Connecticut.