The news is filled with reports on how expensive enjoying life has gotten. We’re here to liberate your weekend (and beyond) with suggestions for 10 great things to do in Litchfield that are all FREE.
The Little Pond Boardwalk Trail at White Memorial
The popular White Memorial Little Pond Boardwalk Trail was closed recently because of high water that made sections of the boardwalk impassable. It’s dry and open again, making this the perfect weekend for another visit or discover this enchanting 1.2-mile boardwalk trail that loops around and sometimes over the pond and wetlands, crossing the Bantam River in two places. Details for visiting are here. There’s a parking lot along Whites Woods Road just north of the intersection with Bissell Road. See the Boardwalk Directions.
Family Friendly Hike with Kelly Orr
Join White Memorial’s Kelly Orr this Saturday, July 29, on an easy hike along the trails in the main Conservation Center area, listening for the birds, insects, and amphibians and looking for turtles and beavers at Ongley Pond, as well as Great Blue Herons or Turkey Vultures cruising overhead. The walk is appropriate for strollers and fun for kids of all ages. It begins at 10 a.m. and lasts approximately an hour-and-a-half. Participants should meet in the nature museum. See the event listing for details. (While the hike is free, donations will be accepted to help defray the Conservation Center’s programming expenses.)
Mt. Tom State Park
Mount Tom State Park is a gem off Route 202 on the southwestern edge of Litchfield and, as part of Connecticut’s Passport to Connecticut State Parks and Forests program, admission for vehicles with CT license plates is free.
Mt. Tom has a beach and swimming and there’s also a boat launch for canoes, kayaks and other non-power boats, a picnic area … and for the intrepid, a hike to a stone tower with commanding views.
Head to the park’s official page for details, trail maps, a link to water quality reports and more – and note that on hot summer days the park gets busy and fills to the point that the state closes admission. The park crosses town boundaries with part of it in Washington, part in Morris, and part in Litchfield.
Exhibit Opening at amArtHouse
amArtHouse in Bantam is holding an opening reception from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 29, for an exhibit featuring selected works by Janet Adler Schur, Ken Elias, and Helice Carris-Bernstein. The evening is sponsored by Litchfield Distillery and will include jazz by Albert Rivera Trio. amArtHouse was founded out of an appreciation of the already established, emerging and the yet to be discovered artists of Contemporary and Modern Art.
Litchfield Center Gallery Hop
The current exhibit at Alofft Gallery on West Street, entitled “Litchfield County: Jumping Boundaries,” pulsates with star power. Curated by Luke Gray, the son of the late artist Cleve Gray, the group show includes works by Titus Welliver, the son of artist Neil Welliver who’s also an actor with credits including playing detective Harry Bosch in the acclaimed Amazon series “Bosch.” Welliver attended the July 8 opening reception.
The art gallery at Oliver Wolcott Library is showing “In My Life – Mixed Media & Oils,” an exhibit by Goshen artist Don Sexton. The artist has a Master’s Degree
and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and spent five decades as a full-time faculty member at Columbia University’s Business School. He also pursued painting, drawing, printmaking, and etching studies at The New School and The Stacy Studio Workshop in New York, and at The American Center for the Arts in Paris.
The Marie Louise Trichet Art Gallery at Wisdom House
Located in the nonprofit interfaith retreat and conference center Wisdom House, the gallery has an intriguing exhibit currently on view, “By Water, Air & Fire: Artists Explore Environmental Issues.” Several talented artists responded to the call for entries, inspired by Rachel Carson’s words, “…natural beauty has a necessary place in the spiritual development of any individual or any society.” The artists whose work is on display interpret the beauty of – and threats to – our natural world and society. Visit the gallery Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (It is advisable to call to inquire about Saturday hours before visiting at 860-567-3163.)
Exhibit Opening – Ready for the Call: The Red Cross in Litchfield
Opening Friday, July 28, Ready for the Call, a new exhibit at the Litchfield Historical Society, examines the history of Red Cross activity in Litchfield through photographs, documents, uniforms, and posters. Formed in 1898 and active for over a century, the Litchfield Chapter of the American Red Cross provided valuable services to residents of our town and neighboring communities in both times of war and peace. Ready for the Call tells the stories of the dedicated volunteers who made this work possible and acted, in the words of one volunteer, “in the best Red Cross tradition.” The exhibit will remain on display through November 26. The historical society is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free admission sponsored by Ericson Insurance Advisors.
Visit Litchfield Law School & the Tapping Reeve Meadow
The Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School are Litchfield Historical Society museums that take visitors on a journey through the 19th century life of a real student who came to Litchfield for an education at the Litchfield Law School – the nation’s first law school – or the Litchfield Female Academy. Touring the school showcases the evolution of law education and instruction, while exploring how Litchfield became home to such a valuable institution. The Tapping Reeve meadow behind the law school is a hidden haven with gardens, walking paths, Adirondack chairs, a gorgeous arbor and more. The museums and the meadow are located at 82 South St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday and admission is free. Call the historical society for more information: 860-567-4501.
FOR THE KIDS …
Saturday Storytime at Oliver Wolcott Library
The Oliver Wolcott Library is a Litchfield treasure for all the things that make libraries special, and its programs are always terrific … like Saturday Family Storytimes. Each session – held outside in favorable weather – is filled with books, songs, crafts and more. The library is located at 160 South St. See the full list of Children’s Events for details.
… AND FOR THE GROWN-UPS
Litchfield Distillery Tour & Tasting
Litchfield Distillery offers complimentary tours and sample tastings of its award-winning spirits, arranged by reservation on the website. That said, walk-ins are also welcomed if a time slot isn’t full. Tours are offered on the hour beginning at 11 a.m. The last tour begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday See the website for details and the link to reserve a spot. For questions, call the distillery at 860-361-6503. Visit the Facebook page for up-to-date info.