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Road Trip: Enjoy The Arts In Northwest Connecticut

August 16, 2012 5:23 PM

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(credit:  Peter Margonelli )

(credit: Peter Margonelli )

So many vacations focus on beaches, coastlines and amusement parks. So why not go someplace out of the ordinary that will spark your senses and reveal the inner artist in you?Instead of slapping on the sunblock and brushing sand off yourself all day, head inland to a place where art and culture thrive. Head southwest to see what talent and beauty exists here in New England. Taking this trip will help you realize that you don’t have to go any further than your own front door to see amazing art, beautiful sculptures and fantastic landscapes that truly inspire.Welcome to northwest Connecticut, where your artistic senses will come alive.

Take This Trip On A Tank:

Distance form Boston (roundtrip): 262 miles
Travel Time: 5 hours 10 minutes

Aldridge Museum

(credit; Adridge Museum)

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Those looking for a truly unique artistic getaway must stop in to The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, located in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

So what makes this museum so different? It is one of the few non-collecting contemporary art museums in the state that features mid-career and emerging artists.

The museum was started by Larry Aldrich, who was a prominent fashion designer and art collector. The museum opened in 1964 and was the country’s first museum devoted exclusively to the exhibition of contemporary art.

The Aldrich is known for its fantastic exhibits — and that includes the museum’s latest show “50,000 Beds.” The exhibition, created by Chris Doyle, features a series of short videos set in various hotels, motels and inns across the state.

The show depicts 45 different artists’ views and inspirations found inside local hotel rooms. “50,000 Beds” takes an in depth look — whether it be fiction or a documentary piece — at travelers who stay in each room and the laborers who work in them.The “multi-screen” gallery opened on July 20 and will remain at the Aldrich until September 3rd

Adridge Museum

(credit: Adridge Museum)

Weir Farm

To continue your art adventure through Connecticut, head to Weir Farm in Wilton, Connecticut.

This 60-acre National Historic Site has been an inspiration to artists for more than a century and to this day, features studios, hills, a beautiful stone wall, galleries and an art center to help promote and preserve art and culture in the area.

Weir Farm National Historic Site was established by Congress in 1990 as a way to preserve the life and artwork of J. Alden Weir — one of the founders of impressionism. Weir Farm is one of only two sites within the national park system that focuses on art.

The land consists of old fields, majestic forests, vernal wetland areas, streams, ponds and rocky ridges for visitors to walk through and be inspired by. If you wish, Weir Farm also offers landscape and studio tours to visitors.

Weir Farm is a place where many find inspiration. Visitors — whether they be experienced artists, or someone just starting off — are encouraged to bring easels, paint brushes or any other medium with them to Weir Farm. Artists can set up in a quiet spot, look out into the distance and draw the landscape that surrounds them. Soon, you will find yourself becoming a part of a tradition that many artists have taken part in over the past 120 years.

The park is slightly off the beaten path (located about one hour from Litchfield Hills), but the trip will be well worth it. You will consider your time walking through the woods and fields once used by Weir himself absolutely priceless.

Winvian

Set in the woods of Litchfield Hills is a quiet getaway that will spark your imagination and ease your senses. Winvian is not only a place to stay, it is an indulgence — a place to escape and relax in your own artistic space.

What makes this place so unique is the cottages themselves. Set on a 113-acre resort estate, Winvian’s 18 uniquely different cottages (designed by 15 architects) satisfy everything from a childhood fantasy to a much-needed getaway.

The cottage themes range from a medieval liar to a real-life two-story tree house suspended high in the trees. And for the adventure seeker in all of us, there is an entire cottage designed around a restored Coast Guard helicopter. There is even a living area inside the cockpit!

The cottage prices are a bit expensive, but absolutely worth the splurge. The rates per cottage includes all meals — breakfast, lunch, picnics, dinner and afternoon tea — and unlimited use of Winvian’s facilities (guided nature walks, snow-shoes and cross country skis in the winter, as well as access to games such as croquet, badminton and horseshoes).
This artistic trip through the northwest Connecticut will prove to be an adventure worth taking. But before you head home, you should visit some of the fantastic destinations listed below:

Visit the Brookfield Crafts Center to take classes or walk through a gallery featuring local artisans.

Take a bronze casting workshop with Master Sculptor David Boyajian.

Take cooking classes, stroll through an art gallery or shop at the gourmet kitchenware and food store at The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm.

Indulge at the extravagant Mayflower Spa.

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