Location: Goshen, Cornwall, West Cornwall, Lime Rock, Falls Village, East Canaan, Canaan, Salisbury, Lakeville, Sharon
Approximate Mileage: 75 Miles
Approximate Driving Time: Full Day Trip * Denotes side trips.
Start at the jct. of Rte. 63 and Rte. 4 in Goshen, take Rte. 4 west*, at jct. of Rte. 4 and Rte. 128, take Rte. 128 west to West Cornwall, at jct. of Rte. 7 and Rte. 128 * take Rte. 7 north * to Canaan, at jct. of Rte. 7 and Rte. 44 * take Rte. 44 west to Salisbury * at the jct. of Rte. 44 and Rte. 41 in Lakeville * take Rte. 41 south to Sharon. At the jct. of Rte. 4, Rte. 41 and Rte. 343 * take Rte. 4 east to Cornwall. At the jct. of Rte. 43, Rte. 128, and Rte. 4, continue on Rte. 4 east to the jct. of Rte. 63 in Goshen where this tour began.
Tour Four begins in Goshen at the junction of Rte. 63 and Rte. 4.
Goshen, settled in 1738, is noted for its' rolling hills, sparkling lakes and rich agricultural heritage.
To visit Sunset Meadow Vineyards, a family owned and operated vineyard on over 40 acres of sloping fields overlooking the picturesque sunsets and scenery of the Western Connecticut Highlands take Rte. 63 south for 2 miles. Guests can enjoy a taste of their award-winning, estate wines in an originally constructed 1800's tasting room. Retrace your steps back to the center of Goshen passing the Goshen Fairgrounds. This famous agricultural fair, one of the oldest in the state takes place every Labor Day Weekend.
To learn about the history of this village, visit the Goshen Historical Society Museum, located in the 1824 Eagle Academy Building on Rte. 63 south of the center. The museum is a treasure house of Goshen's rich cultural heritage with two floors of displays including old cheese presses and cheese boxes. Goshen was home to the first cheese factory in 1810. Leading up to the opening of the factory, in 1792, the Norton family began to ship cheese in round cakes and containers; later they developed the first aspired or "pineapple" cheese. The Norton family used the pulp from annatto seed to "paint" their cheese yellow. This was the first cheese that was not white and it brought higher prices. Yellow cheese is still popular today.
In Goshen center, there are two architecturally interesting buildings to photograph, the 1833 Federally styled Congregational Church famous for its' missionaries to the Sandwich Islands, and the Old Town Hall, built in the Victorian style in 1895 and home to the Goshen Players.
From the center of Goshen two rewarding side trips can be taken.
On a quiet country road in an 1830's barn visit the Open Talon Gallery. This is the studio of Clint Thorn, an award winning furniture artist that has been making one of a kind pieces for more than 20 years. His work reflects clean, classic lines that blend artistry and function into each piece created.
For a change of pace, visit Action Wildlife Foundation. From the center of Goshen, at the junction of Rte. 63 and Rte. 4, take Rte. 4 east for two miles, the Foundation is on the left.
Action Wildlife Foundation, Inc. offers visitors the unusual opportunity of observing and learning about animals from North America, Africa, India, New Zealand, Asia and the Artic first hand.
Visitors can drive or walk this 116-acre game park by foot or hayride, April through November to view more than 32 exotic species totaling nearly 200 animals, from around the world. The complex also includes a Museum and Exploration Center(open daily year round) showcasing taxidermy animals from around the globe displayed in the their natural settings. A petting zoo, live reptile center, large iguana habitat and hands on educational center for children complete the experience.
To continue the tour, retrace your steps to the center of Goshen.
At the jct. of Rte. 63 and Rte. 4, in the center of Goshen, take Rte. 4 west.
To visit Miranda Vineyard, take a left on Beach St.(1 mile) follow for 1.5 miles; at the end of the road, take a right on Ives St., the Vineyard is on the right. At this award winning Vineyard, Manny Miranda is carrying on the old-world European methods he learned from his father and grandfather while adding the improvements of modern technology. This delightful vineyard offers free jazz every Sunday afternoon and welcomes picnickers. Retrace your steps to Rte 4 west.
Continuing on, you will pass Tyler Lake, a popular fishing spot since the 1890's. Tyler Lake is natural in origin, having a surface area of approximately 182 acres and a maximum depth of 23 feet. Access to the lake is provided through a State owned boat launch located off Rte. 4 on the second Tyler Heights Road. The launch is on the right at the bottom of the hill. Continue on Rte. 4 west.
At the junction of Rte. 4, Rte. 43 and Rte. 128, take Rte. 128 west to the storybook village of West Cornwall. Here you will find one of two covered bridges in Connecticut still open to automobile traffic. The renowned architect and bridge engineer Ithiel Town built the West Cornwall Covered Bridge in 1837 of native oak. The structure of the bridge uses town and queen trusses and is 242 feet long. As in days gone by, this bridge still links the towns of Sharon and Cornwall that share the Housatonic River as their common boundary.
Fly-fishing on this section of the Housatonic River has always been popular and now several experienced guide services offer day and weekend trips and instructions.
West Cornwall has several exceptional craft shops including The Wish House a colorful gallery of inspiring crafts and artwork and Cornwall Bridge Pottery Store that features specially selected works of art and crafts in various media, including pottery handcrafted by Todd Piker, at Cornwall Bridge Pottery. For a side trip to the pottery, where you will see a 35-foot long wood fired kiln and a showroom chock full of pottery, take Rte. 128 to Rte. 7 south for 5 miles. Along the way, you will pass Clarke Outdoors that offers canoe, kayak and rafting guide services and instruction as well rentals.
Continue on Rte. 7 north, which follows the serpentine course of the Housatonic River on a designated scenic road that winds its way through the 9,534 acre wilderness of the Housatonic State Forest.
This is part of the newly designated Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area formed in partnership with the National Park Service. The area is noted for its scenic landscape and traditional New England towns. Writers, artists, and vacationers have visited the region for over 150 years, making it one of the country's leading cultural resorts. Encompassing 29 communities in the hilly terrain of western Massachusetts and northwestern Connecticut, the upper Housatonic Valley is considered by many to be the quintessence of a civilized, independent, and thoughtful retreat.
Continue on Rte. 7 north, passing the junction for Rte. 112 and Lime Rock Park Race Track to the junction of Rte. 7 and Rte. 126. For a side trip before reaching Falls Village, to Beebe Hill School, continue on Rte. 7 north to Beebe Hill Rd., the school is on your left. The original school was built in 1843, destroyed by fire and rebuilt. The school was last used in June 1918. Retrace your steps. Take Rte. 7 north to Rte. 126 north, bear left on Main St. to Falls Village.
Falls Village remains much the same today as it did in the 1840's when it was established as a station stop on the Housatonic Railroad. The decision to establish a station here was motivated by the expected development of manufacturing using waterpower from the river. Falls Village grew into a bustling community with the establishment of the Ames Iron Works that became a major producer of cannon for the civil war but was bankrupted when the war ended. Technological advances in steel making made neighboring iron foundries obsolete and Falls Village became an economic backwater for over one hundred years. As a result, the town is remarkably preserved. Today, the depot, inn, banks, street layout, and houses, maintain their 19th century integrity, giving an accurate picture of the community's organization a century and a half ago. The buildings on Main St. include excellent, unaltered examples of Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire and Queen Anne styles of architecture.
The collections of the Falls Village-Canaan Historical Society Museum (left on Railroad St.) include local histories, family histories and notebooks, iron industry records, maps, and some house studies.
Today, the principal industry in Falls Village is the production of hydroelectric power from the "Great Falls" which attracted the first settlers here and gave this village its name. To reach a scenic view of the falls take a right off of Main St., bear left on Water St., cross the iron bridge, take an immediate right on Falls Mountain Rd., bear right on Housatonic River Rd. to the parking area on the right. Retrace your steps to Rte. 7.
Continue on Rte. 7 North. To reach Land of Nod Winery, nationally recognized as a bicentennial farm take a right on Lower Rd., follow for two miles passing a large limestone quarry. The vineyard is situated on 200 acres along the Blackberry River and in the Historic Iron District. Visitors enjoy complimentary wine tastings and a lovely shop that offers a unique selection of gifts.
Continue on Lower Rd. for one mile to visit the Beckley Iron Furnace, a 19th century Industrial Monument listed on the National Register of Historic Places, located on Blackberry River.
For two hundred years, the foremost industry in Canaan was the production of iron and the smelting and forging of products from nails to ship anchors. Built in 1837, the Beckley Iron Furnace stone stack was originally thirty feet square at the base and thirty-two feet high. When it was rebuilt after a fire in 1896, the height was increased to forty feet and the most advanced technology was incorporated, making this furnace a state of the art model of its day. In addition to iron ore, the necessary ingredients needed to produce pig iron were water, lime and fuel. The highest quality iron was produced here using charcoal as fuel. Malleable Salisbury charcoal iron was the finest produced through the 18th and 19th century.
The Beckley Furnace closed in the winter of 1918-1919 after eighty-one years of production. In 1923, the East Canaan #3 furnace was closed ending Connecticut's iron making era after one hundred and ninety years. The State of Connecticut purchased the Beckley Furnace for a park in 1946 and it was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Currently the site is undergoing restoration.
Retrace your steps to Rte. 7 north. At the junction of Rte. 44 and Rte. 7, take Rte. 44 west to the center of Canaan. At one time Canaan served as the hub for the Connecticut Western Railroad that serviced 12 passenger trains daily.
It is ten scenic miles on Rte. 44 west from Canaan to Salisbury, Connecticut's most northwestern community situated in a setting of great natural beauty.
Excellent fishing and a boat launching area is open to the public at Twin Lakes. Visitors can rent boats at O'Hara's Marina. For the adventurous, hike the Appalachian Trail to Bear Mountain (2,316 ft.), Bald Peak (2,010 ft.), or Mount Frissell (2,380 ft.), three of Connecticut's highest points. Those reaching these lofty summits are rewarded with fabulous views of three states.
For the less adventurous, enjoy a drive on Rte. 44 west through the villages of Salisbury and Lakeville. You will pass restaurants, gracious country inns, well-kept homes dating to the Federal or Greek Revival periods, and interesting shops and galleries.
At the junction of Rte. 44 and Rte. 41 in Lakeville, take Rte. 41 south to Sharon. This 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.
Sharon was one of the last regions in the state to be incorporated. Because of its natural resources, Sharon became a thriving industrial community. Besides farming, the greatest commercial enterprise in Sharon's history was the Hotchkiss Company founded in 1829. Andrew Hotchkiss, son of the founder of the company created many inventions including the principles that are employed by every wrench in use today. He also invented the rifled cannon projectile and as a result of this, the Hotchkiss Company supplied more shells for the armies of the North during the Civil War than all makers combined.
These industries have vanished and in the early 20th century Sharon became a summer colony that continues to this day. Today Sharon is a peaceful rural community where beautiful colonial homes are proudly maintained and blended with the community's thriving agricultural traditions.
Sharon is a quintessential New England village with its long narrow Green laid out in 1739, impeccably maintained 19th century homes and its classic Congregational Church. Along the green you will see the stately Hotchkiss Library erected in 1893 and the Soldier's Monument, a tribute to the soldiers of the American Revolution.
The Sharon Historical Society, on the Green operates the Gay-Hoyt House Museum, a lovely brick federal style home on the Sharon Green. Ebenezer Gay, a prominent citizen of Sharon and Revolutionary War veteran, built the house in 1775. The Museum?s collections include American furniture from colonial to colonial revival; decorative arts, iron and iron-industry related artifacts, five portraits by folk artist Ammi Phillips, changing exhibits and a children's learning center. The library features a collection of CT history, decorative arts resources, and archives/photo collection.
At the junction of Rte. 41, Rte. 4 and Rte. 343, take a right on Rte. 343 to reach TriArts at Sharon Playhouse. This critically acclaimed musical theatre uses a unique blend of Equity actors, professionals and area talent. They mount two to three main stage productions each summer season. Special concerts are also a highlight. Workshops, readings of new works, and special events are offered throughout the year in their black box space located in the Bok Gallery. Retrace your steps to the junction of Rte. 4, 41 and 343.
At the junction of Rte. 41, Rte. 4, and Rte. 343, by the Hotchkiss Clock Tower, considered to be the landmark of Sharon built in 1885-86 from local marble and sandstone from upstate New York. take a left on Rte. 4 east.
Along the way you will pass the Sharon Audubon Center, which is affiliated with the National Audubon Society. One half of the Center's property is designated as a natural area - a sanctuary in the fullest sense. The other half of the Center's 758 acres includes 11 miles of trails that wind their way through a variety of habitats such as pond and stream, forest and field, marsh and swamp. The center has a high diversity of plant and animal life because of the diversity of habitats found here. The Center is one of the best birding spots in southern New England with over 200 species of birds spotted here.
Audubon Sharon also houses 21 Birds of Prey that have been determined non-releasable, meaning that they would not be able to survive on their own in the wild. The birds reside in large, outside aviaries which are just a short walk from the Nature Center.
Inside, you will find a children's discovery room and a main exhibit room with live and static natural history displays.
Continuing on Rte. 4 east, you will pass Cornwall Village,once the home of the Cornwall Foreign Mission School from 1817-1827.
It began with Henry Obookiah, a Hawaiian stowaway, who was converted to Christianity and spent many days preaching in the area. At age twenty-six he died of typhus and was buried in the Cornwall Cemetery on Rte. 4.
Henry Obookiah's journal was responsible for inspiring the first foreign missionary expedition to Hawaii and eventually, the saga was fictionalized by James Michener's book Hawaii.
In 1993, Henry's bones were dug up and shipped back to Hawaii for final interment but his beautifully inscribed sarcophagus in Cornwall still attracts visitors.
Continue on Rte. 4 east passing the entrance to Mohawk Mountain Ski Area, the states largest, with 5 chairlifts, 23 trails, night skiing and a cozy base lodge.
At the junction of Rte. 43, Rte. 128, and Rte. 4, continue on Rte. 4 east to the entrance to Mohawk State Forest. On a clear day, from the 1,683-foot Mohawk Mountain the views of the Litchfield Hills are spectacular.
Colonial historians noted that the Tunxis and Paugussett Indians sent smoke signals from this high promontory to warn local tribes of the approach of the dreaded Mohawks. Although tribal wars ended centuries ago, the name Mohawk Mountain is still used today.
The hiking trails through the rugged hills of this wildlife sanctuary provide many panoramic vistas of the Litchfield Hills. A section of the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail runs through the forest. Of special interest is the Black Spruce Bog that allows visitors to catch a glimpse of the rare pitcher plant, sundew and mountain holly.
Continue on Rte. 4 east to the junction of Rte. 63 in Goshen where this tour began.