2002 Fall Season

Litchfield, CT -- Contact: Janet L. Serra For Immediate Release 860-567-4506 lhcvbnwct@aol.com From biplanes and balloons to mountaintops and lookout towers, Connecticut's Litchfield Hills abound in peak autumn views, lofty lookouts where the full panorama of glorious color can unfold. Bring plenty of film. For a real adventure and the experience of a lifetime, don a helmet and goggles and step back in time with Preston Aviation. Rides in a classic 1937 PT-17 Stearman, an open cockpit plane, let you experience the wind in your face and relive the excitement of the barnstorming era while you admire the blue lakes and Technicolor hills around New Milford. Flights continue through October. Phone: (860) 350-3662 for rates and reservations. Passengers on Aer Blarney Balloons, gliding above the pastoral countryside near Litchfield, get a bird's eye view as mile after mile of color-filled woodland passes below. Flights leave at daybreak because morning winds are generally the calmest of the day, and there is the best chance to spot wildlife among the trees. In early fall, there is often a second flight a couple of hours before sunset. The lift-off and ascent are so gentle that many people do not realize they have left the earth. Flights average just over an hour in duration and travel from 2 to 15 miles depending on the wind speed and direction. During the flight the pilot varies the balloons' altitude from tree top level to admire the leaves to heights of several thousand feet, where passengers may look out see a vast landscape of southern New England. The gentle voyage ends with a champagne toast to the season. Balloons operate daily year round, weather permitting. Phone: (860) 567-3448 for rates and information. Those who prefer a more earthbound route have no shortage of views. An easy two-mile round-trip hike or an even easier drive to the top of 1,627-foot Dennis Hill in Norfolk leads to an observation platform with a four-way panorama. On a clear day, at least five mountain peaks can be seen, including Haystack and Bear Mountain in Connecticut, Mount Everett and Mount Greylock in Massachusetts and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Dennis Hill State Park is on Route 272, 2.5 miles south of Norfolk. Haystack Mountain, at 1,716 feet, is another Norfolk option, one mile north of the village on Route 272. The half-mile trail from the parking lot brings hikers to a 34-foot stone tower affording grand scenes of Berkshire and New York peaks. Set in a 260-acre state park, Mohawk Mountain offers views from the stone tower atop the 1,683-foot summit with a grand perspective of the Cornwall Valley, Mt. Riga range and the Catskills. The park is six miles west of Goshen off Route 4. Hardy hikers can enjoy the view from the 2,316-foot summit of Bear Mountain in Salisbury, the highest peak within the state. The 6.7-mile trek on the well-marked trail to the top rewards with a lofty look at hills, lakes and mountains. To the west are Mount Frissell, Round Mountain, Brace Mountain and the New York Catskills, to the east lie Twin Lakes and Canaan Mountain. The southeast reveals stupendous views of Mohawk Mountain in Cornwall and Haystack Mountain in Norfolk. The northern views are of Mount Everett and its tower, Race Mountain and Mount Greylock, all in Massachusetts. Mt. Tom State Park near Litchfield boasts vistas of foliage and Lake Waramaug from its lookout tower. The best views on the Connecticut portion of the Appalachian Trail are at Prospect Mountain, looking out at Canaan Mountain and the village of Canaan nestled in a valley below, and at Rand's View, overlooking farms, forests and three mountains. These are only a sampling of the peak views in this rich northwestern corner of the state. For more information on fall foliage and activities and a free copy of UNWIND, a 40-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills, contact the Litchfield Hills Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at or visit their web site at www.litchfieldhills.com.