This weekend is Road Race Weekend, one of the most fun, festive, and important weekends on the Litchfield calendar.
The Litchfield Hills Road Race marks its 45th running with the main event beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday, and the race is embellished by other terrific activities, including the “post-pandemic” return of fun children’s races and the first-ever Litchfield Makers Market on the Green Saturday.
Listen to Our Instagram Live Conversation With Park and Recreation Director Colleen Kinkade about the road race and Economic Development Commission member Michelle Murelli previewing the Litchfield Makers Market.
Road Race Weekend happens to coincide with Connecticut Open House Day, when more than 200 tourism attractions, including museums, cultural venues, historical sites, farms and more, offer free or discounted admission.
In Litchfield, that means one of the Litchfield Historical Society’s popular walking tour is free this Saturday. (Admission to the Litchfield History Museum and Tapping Reeve House and Litchfield Law School is already free.)
It’s open house weekend at Topsmead State Forest, where tours of Miss Edith Morton Chase’s Tudor-style cottage resume for the season this Saturday and Sunday.
Here’s a little more about each event with links to further details.
Road Race Weekend
Four main components make up Road Race Weekend this year—the brand new Litchfield Makers Market, an update of the Gallery on the Green tradition, the return of the Block Party, the road race itself, and the return of the children’s races.
Gallery on the Green was a longtime tradition on the Saturday of Road Race Weekend, and it has now been reinvented by Economic Development Commission member Michele Murelli as the Litchfield Makers Market. Taking place Saturday from 10 to 4 on the Green in Litchfield center, it features artists, artisans, farms, nonprofits, gourmet food and spirits and much more. The Litchfield High Jazz Combo will be performing at 1 and Tony Troy, who teaches at the Litchfield Music, performs at 2. See www.arttripping.art or the Facebook page for more.
The community Block Party takes place Saturday from 7-10 p.m.on the Green and features the high energy dance music band Cover 2 Cover, as well as food, face painting, circus performers and more. Additional information is at Litchfieldparkandrec.com!
On Sunday it’s on to the main events. Inspired by the famous road race in Falmouth, Mass. the Litchfield Hills Road Race began in 1977 and quickly gained a reputation as a premier event, which attracts elite runners from around the world. It begins at 1 p.m. in Litchfield center and ends on the Green.
And this year, in what some locals consider the best part of the day, the children’s races return. Families can register participants on race day for the 200-yard dash (ages 4-8) and the 1 mile non-competitive race (ages 8-10). Registration is open 9 to 12:30 and there’s a $5 fee. Registration for the 2.3 mile competitive race (ages 9-13) closes at 11:30 on race day and there’s a $15 fee.
Check the Official Litchfield Hills Road Race Facebook page for the latest updates.
And don’t forget to arrive early and plan your parking. Options beyond the Green include the lot behind Union Savings Bank on North Street, the lot behind St. Anthony of Padua church on South Street, the lot next to Litchfield Center School, Community Field on North Lake Street, and the lot behind the First Congregational Church. Plug any of those into Google maps for directions.
Cottage Tours at Topsmead State Forest
The Friends of Topsmead State Forest, the glorious 510-acre state forest anchored by the former summer cottage of Miss Edith Morton Chase, offer tours of the Tudor-style cottage each Saturday and Sunday on the 2nd and 4th weekends of June, July, August, and September, concluding October 9—which means the season begins this weekend!
Tours of the downstairs rooms begin at noon and begin on the hour and half-hour until the last tour at 4:30. See the website for details on the history of Topsmead, the trails, and more, as well as a link for emailing questions.
Connecticut Open House Day, Litchfield Historical Society
The Litchfield Historical Society offers popular Saturday walking tours of Litchfield center—home to the nation’s first law school and the 18th-century home of George Washington’s spymaster—and the cost for non-members is usually $10. This Saturday there’s a special tour that’s free as part of Connecticut Open House Day. Entitled Sold, Made & Grown in Litchfield, the 10 a.m. tour will cover how the community’s economy has grown and changed over time The walk begins at the Litchfield Historical Society and lasts approximately one hour. Register online.
Other Warm-Up Options
The Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market moves from its indoor-season home at Litchfield Community Center to its outdoor venue, the parking lot next to Litchfield Center School. In addition to all the market vendors, there will be simple art projects, a scavenger hunt and other cool activities for families and children 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Here’s one for early-birds. White Memorial Director of Administration and Development Gerri Griswold is leading a group on a hike along her two favorite trails (and it begins at the crack-o-dawn, 4:30 a.m.)
The route ascends Apple Hill to greet the sun, and then heads to Cat Swamp to visit the Brave Old Oak, the carpet of princess pine, and a wood duck, kingfisher, and heron. Participants meet at the Apple Hill trailhead off East Shore Road at 4:30 a.m. The program is free but guests must pre-register by calling 860-567-0857 or through the website.