Historic House Tour in Kent

A special November tour is taking place in the charming town of Kent that is hosted by the Kent Historical Society on November 9 from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m. Houses on the Kent Historical Society’s House tour will feature the architecture of Sherwood Mills and Smith AIA. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 on the day of the tour. For your tickets click here.

This tour features six of Kent’s architectural gems that have been preserved with great care. This house tour will give residents and visitors an inside look at homes and structures built in the first decade of the 18th century through a modernist mid-century and help them understand how people lived and are living in this bucolic community.

There is an interesting variety of home on the tour. Some were grand dwellings in their day, others were much more modest. The highlight is that the variety of homes offer a number of curiosities and beauty that tour-goers will appreciate on this journey into the past.

The tour starts at Seven Hearths Museum on 4 Studio Hill Road in Kent, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Ticket holders will get a map and a description of the houses and are free to go on a self-guided tour of the homes. Tickets may also be purchased that day at the Seven Hearths from 11 a.m. through the afternoon. It promises to be a fun event — who doesn’t like peering back in time in old houses?

Falls Village Holiday House Tour

The Falls Village-Canaan Historical Society is hosting the 3rd Annual Holiday Historic House Tour on Saturday, December 7 in Falls Village (snow date Sunday, December 8). Tickets can be purchased to benefit the Falls Village-Canaan Historical Society at the advance price of $25 or $30 on the day of the tour. Children ages 8 to 16 are free.


The tour will begin with a brief welcome and introduction to the five houses on the tour at P.D. Walsh’s Country Store (107 Main Street) at 10:30 a.m. and at 11:00 a.m. ticket holders may begin their self-guided tour. Four of the five locations on the tour will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Houses on the tour are not wheelchair accessible and strollers are not permitted in the houses.

There will be a Musical Review by the Children’s Theater at 2 pm (tickets for that event are $12) at the Center on Main located on 103 Main Street in a former Methodist Church. The Center will be open from 11am to 1pm on the day of the tour.

A superbly maintained single story Cape Cod style house known as “Twin Chimneys,” that was probably built by Charles Belden, Jr. in 1778 is a stop on the tour.

Another stop is the Samuel Robbins House built in 1790 that was once the main house at Robbins Farm that originally comprised more than 1000 acres. Ten direct descendants of the original Samuel Robbins have lived here including one Samuel Robbins that helped form the Robbins Burrall Trust Company that later merged to become the Salisbury Bank and Trust.

On Point of Rocks Road, leading out of the village center, is an 1840 barn at the home of Bunny Williams and John Rosselli. Repurposed with Mr. Roselli’s keen eye, it has become a relaxing space for entertaining while keeping a rural rustic feeling. An ongoing shopping quest for accessories that fit that goal goes on to this day.

On the day of the tour the Toymaker’s Cafe (7 AM-4 PM) and The Falls Village Inn will be serving guests and tour goers. The Falls Village Inn will be donating $5 to the Historical Society per meal for tour guests (Brunch 11 AM-3 PM, Dinner 5-10 PM). Be sure to show your tour ticket at either venue. There will also be a bake sale benefitting the Historical Society at P.D. Walsh’s Country Store.

Tickets: $25 in advance; $30 day of tour. Children 8 to 16 are free. Tickets may be purchased at the following locations: P.D. Walsh’s Country Store, Toymaker’s Cafe, The Falls Village Inn, Jacob’s Garage, D.M. Hunt Library, Falls Village Town Hall and at the Douglas Library and Stadium Systems in North Canaan or by calling the Historical Society at 860-824-8226. Cash or checks only.

Proceeds from the tour will help the Society renovate the museum at the Falls Village Railroad Depot.

8th Annual Watertown House Tour Sept. 28

The 8th Annual Watertown House Tour will take place on Saturday September 28 from 11a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. Five fabulous homes will be featured in this year’s tour.

The Mailhot House at 26 Sunset Avenue was built in 1900 and was originally going to be a barn. Today, this quaint house with its’ split rail fence and lovely front porch has beautiful woodwork throughout and is appointed with furniture made by the current owner. Outside there is a display of classic cars.

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The Guernseytown Schoolhouse at 1121 Guernseytown Road was built in 1848 and served as a school for 84 years until it was closed in 1932. The current living room was the original classroom area.


Hotchkiss House at 237 Skilton Road built around 1800 has a modern addition. Entering the old section of the house visitors will notice wide chestnut floors, horsehair walls and low sloping ceilings. Interesting collections from the owners’ travels are displayed though out the house.

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The Silo at 25 Caruso Drive overlooks Lake Winnemaug, a man-made lake that was created as a feeder pond for the Oakville Company, also known as the Pin Shop. This house, with its distinctive silo and cobblestone driveway, was designed to look like a barn by the homeowners in collaboration with Litchfield architect Clifford Cooper in 2010.

#4_-_The_Silo_-_25_Caruso_Drive (2)

The Wasilauskas House at 89 Maple Avenue built in 1910 has the distinction of being in the same family for nearly one hundred years. This arts and crafts style bungalow with its columned wraparound porch recently went through a major facelift, but it remains on the original footprint. Before you leave don’t miss the beautiful grounds and fieldstone barn.

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The Watertown Historical Society Museum and the Nova Scotia Schoolhouse at 22 DeForest Street will also be open for viewing.

The Watertown House Tour is a benefit for the Watertown Historical Society Museum in Watertown, CT. The Watertown Historical Society is a private, nonprofit, all volunteer organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing Watertown and Oakville’s history through the Museum.

Advance tickets are $25 per person, and will be $30 the day of the tour. Tickets for this self-guided house tour are non-refundable & can be purchased by mailing a check or money order to:

Watertown House Tour
22 DeForest Street
Watertown, CT 06795

Checks should be made payable to the “Watertown Historical Society”. Tickets can also be purchased online with a credit card or Paypal at: www.watertownhistoricalsociety.org

Tickets and maps will be mailed to those that make advance purchases. Advance orders must be received no later than Friday September 20th. Requests for tickets after this date will be held for pick-up on the day of the tour at the Museum.

Tickets are available at the following retail locations: LaBonne’s Market in Watertown, Chubba’s in Watertown, the Health Complex, The Watertown Library, Hosking’s Nursery, Depot Square Farm Shoppe, and Jimmy’s of Watertown. On the day of the tour tickets will be available at all of the businesses, all of the houses and at the Museum, which will be tour headquarters. Call the Museum at 860-274-1050 or view www.watertownhistoricalsociety.org for more information.

The artist is Lorraine LeRoy.

For area information www.litchfieldhills.com

Litchfield House Tour – a tradition in Litchfield Hills

The 66th Annual Open House Day Tour of Litchfield to benefit the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR) will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, rain or shine. Conducted by the Litchfield Aid of CJR, an auxiliary volunteer organization established for the sole purpose of supporting the Connecticut Junior Republic, this year’s tour features five homes of historic and architectural interest and a lovely garden in the quaint community of Milton.

Hidden away among Litchfield’s country lanes and back roads, this storybook village features many fine homes, as well as the charming Milton Center Historic District, which flourished on waterpower until the middle of the 19th Century. Surrounded by farmland and woods, Milton is a lovely destination often missed by visitors to Litchfield.

In addition to the featured homes, the self-guided tour will also include additional points of interest in Milton and Litchfield, including the Milton Congregational Church, Trinity Episcopal Church and Milton Hall, as well as the beautiful churches in the center of Litchfield, the Litchfield History Museum, Tapping Reeve Law School and Lourdes of Litchfield.

The tour begins on the Town of Litchfield’s historic central Green. Ticket sales, information and a “lost and found” will be located here. Famous for its grand and elegant homes, Litchfield’s historic district offers visitors many opportunities for walking, fine dining and shopping in a quintessential New England town.

The following homes are featured on this year’s tour:

Deacon Peter Buell House
Deacon Peter Buell House

This remarkable 1723 center-chimney, chestnut framed Georgian farmhouse was constructed by Captain/Deacon John Buell near a place commonly called “Watch Tower.” The dwelling was passed on to his son, Peter, in 1734, and a “lean-to” was added. The house was held by the Buell family until 1863, when it was sold, and then reclaimed again in 1923, and finally sold in 1958. In 1961, the house narrowly escaped demolition and was rescued and moved to Milton. Here, the home was restored to reflect domestic life as it existed during Peter and his heirs’ fifty-year tenure. Today, the Buell House stands as a document to 18th century rural family life in Litchfield. Highlights of the home include transverse summer beams, a pine sheathed ceiling, six-over-four sash above entry and wide board chestnut and pine flooring. Extensive renovations recently completed by the home’s current owner include a new rear addition with all the amenities and comforts of modern day living.

Dickinson Farm
Dickinson Farm

In 1726, Benjamin Boardman was granted the land on which this house stands to work as a farm. Today, the Dickinson Farm is one of the few remaining intact farms in Litchfield, dating back to the 18th century. The existing Colonial house was constructed circa 1760 and was designed as a five bay central chimney residence. During the 19th century, a two bay extension was added, and for a period of time, served as a cobbler’s shop. In 1849, Edwin P. Dickinson bought the house and surrounding farm land. This property remained in his family for the next 110 years. The current owner added on a great room in the back of the house for use as an art studio and to display family art. The fabulous wall mural in the dining room, illustrating Litchfield history, is a continuing work in progress.

Fox Ridge
Fox Ridge

Built in 1996, this stunning Adirondack-style Cape home was sited on a granite ridge overlooking a small stream and fox den. The interior features include nine-foot ceilings, wide plank hardwood flooring, two fireplaces and a state-of-the-art kitchen. Attached to the back of the house is a screened three season porch, and an outdoor hot tub and shower, with undisturbed views of the woods. Towards the back of the home is a new outdoor retreat center. This enchanting section of the garden features unique stump seating around an open fire pit. The grounds on the south side of the home include a heart-shaped herb garden and a crescent moon-shaped perennial garden.

White Bridge Farm
White Bridge Farm

The oldest part of this home was built by Levi Coe, Sr., circa 1787, on twelve acres. In 1832, Levi Coe, Jr. inherited the home and enlarged the property to 300 acres, added the Greek Revival elements to the house and named it Cloverdale Farm. The notable Greek Revival details include recessed panels on the pilasters, double fascia board with stringcourse molding, and the trabeated (horizon beams or lintels), in the entry. The south parlor displays distinctive door surrounds with eared architraves (moldings surrounding doors), and splayed (oblique angled or beveled) frames. The newel post is original to the house. Also of historic significance are the maple trees lining the front of the house, which are said to have been planted by Civil War veterans. The glass greenhouse on the south elevation is a modern addition. An in-ground pool, bath house, tennis courts, livestock arena, two barns and a 1920’s office building are located on the property.

William Sprat(s) House
William Sprat(s) House

William Sprat(s), a British soldier of Scottish decent, came to Hartford and Litchfield as a paroled war prisoner following the defeat of General Burgoyne, prior to 1779. Sprat(s) bought five acres of land in Milton in 1786 and as a trained architect and builder, built his own small gambrel dwelling. The house, erected in 1787 with a chimney and front entry on the original North-end, was typically called a “half-house.” A shoemaker’s shop operated in the residence from 1814-1834. In the 20th century, the present north side and gambrel roof were joined to the original house. Dormers were added in the 1920’s. Highlights of the original house include the well in the kitchen, the raised panel doors throughout the house, Litchfield hardware on some doors and a five light transom above the door. Of interest outside are a vintage three seat outhouse and various sheds.

At the end of this delightful formal garden, an Adirondack-style pergola overlooks a small brook with a large granite slab set in the earth to serve as a bridge. Gravel paths lead to an impressive sized millstone centered within the courtyard and an Adirondack-style bench sits on the opposite side of the pergola to take in a view of the entire garden. The north side of the garden includes shade perennials and decorative stone work. Ornamental pear and cherry trees in stone lined ovals, lead your eye to a stone bench, anchoring the South side of the garden. Other plants in the garden include hornbeams – a small hardwood tree, as well as boxwoods, blueberry bushes and honeysuckle growing on a trellis.

Tickets and information about the evening tour and cocktail reception may be obtained by calling the Connecticut Junior Republic (860) 567-9423, ext. 278. Advance tickets for the general tour on Saturday are $30.00 and may be ordered by contacting the Litchfield Aid of CJR, P.O. Box 214, Litchfield, Connecticut 06759. Please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your credit card information, or check or money order, made payable to: Litchfield Aid of CJR. Those using credit cards (American Express, MasterCard and Visa) for payment should provide account name, number, security code and expiration date. Discover Card is NOT accepted. Advance orders are non-refundable and must be received no later than Friday, June 28. Requests for tickets after this date will be held for pick-up on the day of the tour at the ticket tent on the Green. Special rates are available for tour groups that reserve a minimum of 20 tickets in advance.

Tickets for the Saturday Tour from 10: AM to 4:00 PM will be sold on the date of the event for $35.00 for adults and children on the Litchfield Green. (No charge for infants.) Further information about the House Tour and ticket sales may be accessed online: www.litchfieldhousetour.org.

The Litchfield History Museum and the Tapping Reeve House and Law School, recognized as the first law school in America, will be included in the admission price of the tour. The History Museum is currently featuring the exhibition, The Hour of Conflict. This exhibition examines the ways in which the American Civil War im¬pacted the residents of Litchfield, Con¬necticut in the 1860s, and will be on display for the House Tour.

Visitors may enjoy lunch at the Connecticut Junior Republic for $7.00 from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. A choice of a seafood salad or smoked turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich plate, including pasta salad, brownie, and iced tea, will be offered by CJR students. The luncheon may be viewed on the House Tour website: www.litchfieldhousetour.org.

AREA INFORMATION www.litchfieldhills.com

Garden Club of America House and Garden Tour Celebrates 100 Years in Litchfield CT

“Garden of Margaret Hicks Gage, Litchfield Garden Club Archives, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.”
“Garden of Margaret Hicks Gage, Litchfield Garden Club Archives, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.”

To fete their 100- year anniversary, the Litchfield Garden Club is hosting a flower show and house and garden tour including two Smithsonian Gardens on June 15 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Flower Show will take place at the Litchfield Community Center located on 421 Bantam Rd. (Rte. 202) in Litchfield and will feature outstanding horticulture and three exhibits one on garden history and design including details on four Smithsonian gardens, a second on the history of the Litchfield Garden Club and a third conservation exhibit on organic food. A boutique offering special garden items will also be a highlight. The Flower Show at the Community Center is free and open to the public.

In conjunction with the Flower Show, the Litchfield Garden Club has organized a very special house and garden tour of five members’ homes and gardens that includes judged design classes in each home. Tour tickets and maps are available for purchase at the Community Center and are $50 per person. Tour goers may also purchase a box lunch at Breeze Hill Farm Gardens for an additional $18 and enjoy lunch on the grounds of this spectacular garden. For tickets in advance visit www.litchfieldgardenclub.org for a printable registration form.

Houses featured for this very special tour include some of Litchfield’s most interesting homes and gardens.

The Ozias Lewis house, built in 1806 is a perfect example of a late traditional center chimney, 5 bay Federal style dwelling. The garden has newly installed stonewalls, terraces and imaginative gardens, including extensive beds of peonies. The gardens provide extensive views of Chestnut Hill to the east.

The Lismolin House named after a castle in Tipperary in Ireland is a gracious Colonial Revival style house complete with a Palladian window. The gardens with elegant stonewalls and garden beds afford wonderful eastern views and contain a former owner’s pet cemetery.

Perhaps one of the most interesting houses featured on this tour is the Oliver Wolcott House, built by Oliver Wolcott, Senior, the Colonial High Sheriff of Litchfield, a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Connecticut, in 1753-1754, is the oldest house in the Borough of Litchfield. Many of the leading figures of their day, including General George Washington, Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton were entertained here. During the Revolution, the statue of King George III, torn down by a mob from its pedestal in Bowling Green in New York City, was brought by oxcart to the orchard behind the house, where the women and children of Litchfield melted it and molded bullets for the Continental Army.

The current owners bought the house in 1978 and carried out extensive renovations under the direction of expert restorers. The house has the original, hand-routed, beaded clapboards on its exterior and oak floors with handmade nails throughout the first floor. The “keeping room” contains a cooking fireplace and beehive ovens. The delft tiles in the dining room were installed about 1790 and the paneling over the dining room fireplace is original 18th century work. The rear terrace overlooks extensive gardens that are breathtaking.

Another beautiful home on the tour is the Ethan Allen House, the birthplace of Revolutionary war hero Ethan Allen in 1738. Today the house boasts a renovated kitchen, breakfast area and garden room. A landscape design is in process including renovating the parterres off of the terrace, originally designed in the early 1950’s. The gardens offer an extensive eastern view of Chestnut Hill.

Breeze Hill was built in 1800 as a summer home and the Oldmsted brothers were hired to landscape the grounds. In 2012, the owners of Breeze Hill Farm joined a select group of Garden Club of America homeowners whose garden documentation was accepted into the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens. On June 15th, you are invited to pick up your reserved boxed lunch here and enjoy a pastoral picnic lunch in these bucolic meadows and gardens.

Another Smithsonian Garden featured on the tour is Chestnut Hill Gardens that consists of a 240-foot perennial border composed of deer-resistant and native plants. The border surrounds a large vegetable garden, herb gardens, a water garden, pinetum, fruit trees and native shrubs.

For area information visit www.litchfieldhills.com

65th Anniversary Promises Special House Tour in the Litchfield Hills July 14

Center of Litchfield (Jim McElholm photo)

New England’s oldest house tour, Open House Day in Litchfield, Connecticut, celebrates its 65th anniversary on Saturday, July 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the rare chance to visit five prize private properties in the early New England town that is famous for its grand and elegant homes. An impressive roster of homes with architectural and historical distinction is being assembled for this special year. Proceeds benefit Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR), an organization dedicated to helping troubled youths.

Tapping Reeve House and Law School

The Litchfield History Museum and the Tapping Reeve House and Law School, the first law school in America, will also be included in the admission price of the Tour. The History Museum is featuring a new exhibition, The Hour of Conflict; marking the anniversary of the Civil War by examining the ways the war im¬pacted the residents of Litchfield in the 1860s. The museum will also feature a juried art show sponsored by the Litchfield Visual Arts.

A Preview Tour will be offered Friday, July 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. followed by a cocktail reception in a private home.

Litchfield Aid of CJR, an organization founded in 1911 by 12 Litchfield women to help support the programs and facilities of the Connecticut Junior Republic, sponsors the annual tour.


The self-guided house tour begins at 10 a.m. on July 14 the Information Booth on the Litchfield Green, where tickets may be purchased for $35. Advance purchase tickets, $30, may be ordered by mail from Litchfield Aid of CJR, P.O. Box 214, Litchfield, Connecticut 06759. A stamped, self-addressed envelope should be included with credit card information (Mastercard or Visa only), check or money order, made payable to Litchfield Aid of CJR. Ticket information for the Preview Tour and Party may be obtained by calling the Connecticut Junior Republic, 869-567-9423.

For details of the 65th Annual Open House Tour and ticket information for the Preview Tour and Party, contact the Connecticut Junior Republic at (860) 567-9423, between 9:00 AM and 4:30 PM, or visit www.litchfieldct.com/cjr/tour.html.

For information about nearby events and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at http://www.litchfieldhills.com