The town of New Milford is considered the “Gateway to Litchfield County” due to its location on the western boarder of Connecticut in the beautiful Housatonic Valley. To the west is the quiet town of Sherman and Connecticut’s largest lake: Candlewood Lake www.candlewoodlake.com. It is bordered by Danbury and Brookfield to the south, Kent and Warren to the north and Washington, Roxbury and Bridgewater to the east. With a quickly growing population of over 28,000 people, it is the second largest town in Litchfield County. New Milford is actually the largest town by area in the state, consisting of approximately 64 square miles, and includes the communities of Merryall, Northville and Gaylordsville.
New Milford was one of the earliest settlements in Litchfield County, incorporated in 1712, and one of the town’s most famous inhabitants was Roger Sherman, who became a member of the Continental Congress and signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The second half of the 19th century brought a wealth of new industry to what was primarily an agricultural town. Factories along the Housatonic made consumer goods from buttons and furniture to paint and dairy products. Tobacco became a major crop in the area and many tobacco warehouses sprang up.
Today’s New Milford is an interesting blend of both its manufacturing and agricultural roots. The still rural areas around the town’s more urban/suburban center have attracted weekenders, most from New York City, who have built and maintained beautiful country homes. One of New Milford’s most famous residents was Skitch Henderson, pianist, conductor and founder of the New York Pops Orchestra. In 1972 he and his wife Ruth opened The Silo, a store, culinary school and gallery, which now operates in conjunction with the Hunt Hill Farm Trust www.hunthillfarmtrust.org and is a must see for visitors to the area. New Milford also boasts Fort Hill Farm www.forthillfarm.org a certified organic cooperative farm that only sells produce to people within the community – a prime example of the Community Supported Agriculture movement. (The Hunt Hill Farm Trust-The Silo pictured)
New Milford’s town center has a quaint village atmosphere of specialty shops, gourmet restaurants, craft shops, and cafes. Accordingly, its small town appeal, beautiful town green, vintage railroad station and proximity to the river have attracted production crews to film movies such as Mr. Deeds and several commercials on location. The town has an active Film Commission www.filmnewmilfordct.org whose mission to “encourage economic growth and development by attracting revenue producing films and commercial projects” has had an obvious effect.
The arts are strongly supported with the Village Center for the Arts holding a prominent spot on the town green. Visit www.villagecenterarts.com for information on children’s camps, adult classes, supplies and parties. History and culture are a vibrant part of life through The Commission on the Arts, The New Milford Historical Society, Gaylordsville Historical Society, The Creative Arts Center, New Milford TheatreWorks, and The Merryall Center for the Arts.
Residents and visitors alike enjoy special events such as the annual Village Fair Days sponsored by The Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce, which offers arts, commercial exhibits, crafts, food, games, regional storytelling, a tall-tales contest and live music. This year’s Village Fair Days will be held on July 25th and 26th. Other events include fireworks, various parades, caroling on the Green, and summer concerts ranging from blue grass to classical. Please visit www.newmilford-chamber.com for more information on what this classic American town has to offer.