Litchfield, CT --
Contact: Janet L. Serra
For Immediate Release
A 300th birthday is definitely reason for celebration, and the town of New Milford, Connecticut, is marking this important occasion in style. In honor of its Tri-Centennial, this handsome community in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut has scheduled the dedication of a new park and a new hiking trail, guided historic walking tours, an outdoor festival and fireworks, all on the docket in June. A big Tri-Centennial parade on July 1 will feature the Connecticut Governor's Horse Guard, more than three dozen floats, bands, clowns, and performers of all kinds.
Visitors who join the festivities will find that this town of 28,000 bordering the Housatonic River has reasons besides age to celebrate. New Milford has the largest town Green in Connecticut, a swath dating back to the early 1700s. In addition, it is the state's largest town by area, boasting a rare combination of quaint village, hilly countryside, plus shoreline on the river and along Candlewood Lake, the state's largest lake.
The New Milford Historical Society is a good place to start a birthday visit. On June 9, the Society will hold an Open House Day featuring a display of historic quilts and will conduct guided walks around town. With a gallery that includes early portraits, furniture, and pottery; the 1796 Boardman Store; the 1810 Knapp House and historical gardens, the Historical Society displays life in the city over the centuries. The little red brick building on the grounds was the first bank in Litchfield County, opened in 1852. An antique toy collection helps children imagine what their ancestors played with long ago.
The old railroad station is also well worth a look. New Milford prospered after 1840 when the Housatonic Railroad came into town. The station once saw as many as 18 trains a day on the old Housatonic Line. The trains stopped running nearly 30 years ago, but station has been beautifully restored. The one-time waiting room is now a much-used venue for social events and art shows and the section where the freight office stood is headquarters for the Chamber of Commerce.
Another favorite attraction in New Milford is The Silo, an art gallery, cooking school and shop that is part of the hilltop farm established by Ruth Henderson and her late husband, Skitch, the founder of the New York Pops orchestra. The Silo is now part of the complex known as the Henderson Cultural Center at Hunt Hill Farm, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the unique history of the farm. Besides The Silo, the grounds include the Skitch Henderson Museum showing the collections of the maestro and the Hunt Hill Farm Land Preserve, comprising some 40 acres of farmland, woodland and ten historic building associated with a classic New England farm.
In town, visitors can drive through handsome historic neighborhoods or stroll around the green to visit appealing shops and cafes and pick up Tri-Centennial souvenirs from commemorative plates to tee shirts to a game of New Milfordopoly.
New Milford's rural surroundings abound with outdoor recreation. Hikers will find miles of trails at the Nature Conservancy's 1850-acre Sunny Valley Preserve, canoeing and kayaking is available on the Housatonic River, and one of the town's many parks includes a public beach and boating docks on Candlewood Lake.
For more information about New Milford and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills, contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, 800-663-1273,or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com.
NEW MILFORD TRI-CENTENNIAL CALENDAR
Sunday, June 3: Dedication of the Tri-Centennial Hiking Trail, Reservoir Park, Second Hill, 10 a.m.
June 9, New Milford Historical Society Guided Town Walks and display of Historic Quilts
June 16, Dedication of Lover's Leap Park, 11 a.m.
June 16-17, Outdoor Art Festival on the Green, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. sponsored by the New Milford Historical Society
June 29, Stories From the Past, 6:00-7:30 p.m., Sullivan Farm Listen to readings of stories of everyday life in New Milford and the surrounding area. Bring your chair or blanket and enjoy a peaceful evening of storytelling at the farm. Space is Limited, call to register.
June 30, Lion's Club Carnival and Fireworks, Young's Field. From 10 a.m. Fireworks begin at dusk. Also, Gaylordsville 300th Celebration- Opening of 1982 Time Capsule at 1:30 p.m., Parade at 2:30PM, Pot-luck Supper at Williamson Park 5p.m.
July 1, New Milford 300 Parade, A Time to Remember, 2 p.m. Route goes from Wellsville Avenue to Young's Field.