A True Hidden Gem of Connecticut: Washington
A 'Hidden Gem' is something wonderful you've encountered that you feel has received far less recognition than it deserves. In my opinion, Washington is a true hidden gem of Connecticut.
Over this past Summer, my wife's job transferred her to The Frederick Gunn School in Washington. We'd never seen the campus, so we took a ride in, and that's where the beauty begins. If you come to Washington from the North, your ride down 47 into town takes you along deep, tree-lined, curvy roads. It's the same if you come from the East or West along 109. From every direction, you will pass gorgeous farms, and untouched land, so incredibly rare. As you arrive in the center of this small town of just over 3,600 residents, you'll see why it inspired Amy Sherman-Palladino to model Stars Hollow after it.
Washington doesn't have a national brand in sight. You'll never find a McDonald's in the Depot, or a Cumberland Farms, but you will find a thriving bookstore - The Hickory Stick. It's a wonderful store that's been in operation for over 70 years. I love the hyper-local focus championing local authors and artists throughout the shop. The employees are also wonderful, happy to engage with you about the area and what they have to sell. Washington Supply Company was our next stop, and they've been in business since 1893, the rich history of the company is preserved with really cool photos and relics in their new Outdoor Living Center. I never expected a gorgeous home decor store in Washington Depot, but they have it.
In the area around Town Hall, Washington Food Market was our first stop, it's a small, independent grocery store that carries a lot of high-end items. I scored a jar of Honestly Heirloom Marina Sauce from The Farm in Woodbury, it was very good. Washington Art Association & Gallery was not open at the time, but they appear to have a very extensive collection to enjoy. Restaurants? Oh there are a few, but the most famous is G.W. Tavern, named after George Washington himself, his portrait hangs over their gorgeous fireplace. G.W. has an extensive menu, and they serve dinner, but we settled in at a breakfast/lunch-only place The Po Cafe.
No Home Depot, no Taco Bell, no vape and smoke shop on any corner, yet a local merchant is right around the corner with anything you need. That's why Washington, Connecticut is a true hidden gem.
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