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Unlocking New Milford: Discover the Charm of this New England Town

On the western border of CT and nestled in the Housatonic Valley, the town of New Milford is often termed the “Gateway to Litchfield County”. Incorporated in 1712, the area is rich in history and was the original home of the Paugusett Native Americans who fished on the Aspetuck and Housatonic rivers still popular today with both residents and visitors. The town was active during the American Revolution and became a business hub for industries including buttons, furniture, pottery lime and tobacco in the 19th and 20th centuries. New Milford is actually the largest town by area in the state at approximately 64 square miles and includes the communities of Merryall, Northville and Gaylordsville.

Today, the town has blossomed with a variety of unique restaurants, artisanal gourmet shops, specialty boutiques for adults and children, galleries and more… Most people think of New Milford as the place to go for the big box retailers, you know the store you want close but not too close. However, there are lots of special places in New Milford. Here is a sampling of the businesses I love to frequent.

Poached Pear Salad at Lucia's Restaurant

Whether it is authentic Italian cuisine, gourmet Paninis, organic farm to table fare or Thai exquisitely spiced food, New Milford offers a wide range of dining choices. Lucia Ristorante, which was featured in the New York Times, has exceptional dishes that feature homemade pastas including pappardelle, spaghetti and cavatelli. Chef and owner, Antonio Caldaria delivers unmatched flavor with his Gnocchi Piemontese with prosciutto, fresh peas and mushrooms in a pink champagne sauce. Tonio’s Panino is not your average sandwich shop with wonderful vegetarian, chicken and meatball parmesan paninis as well as an amazing caprese sandwich with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato. Buon Appetito to all!

The Menu Board at Tonio's Panino

Farm Fresh Food at The Green Granary

If you lean towards organic fare, visit Epicuria located at the garden center ‘The Green Spot’. Epicuria has a variety of healthy salads and sandwiches as well as their renowned chocolate covered strawberry smoothie. You can eat al fresco in a sumptuous garden while the weather is warm. Epicuria is a gourmet take out and catering business as well. The Green Granary on Railroad St is an organic, non-gmo and sustainable café with a mission of farm to table food. Try their vegetarian, western or avocado omelettes, all made with organic eggs. Yum! They have outstanding chocolate chip cookies and this is my favorite food group! I am a chic chocolate chip cookie connoisseur (friends who know this send me cookies from all over the world). If you crave aromatic, exquisitely spiced food, don’t miss Thai Charm where they make a luxurious Tom Yum Goong soup and red, green and panang curries with your choice of chicken, beef, vegetable or shrimp.

Thai Charm Dinner with Aromatic Spices

There is much more to tempt your palette at the specialty food stores, cooking schools and premier caterers In New Milford. At Villarina’s pasta there are a host of homemade pastas and you can pick out Italian sauces such as porcini, puttanesca and walnut pesto to pair with them. The have great prepared garlic bread you just pop in the oven and wonderful frozen lasagnas. The Silo, as part of the Hunt Hill Farm offers a variety of cooking classes throughout the year. Upcoming is a Junior Bakers session on October 12th and ‘How to Make a Sublime Vegetarian Meal’ on October 16th. If you want to leave it to the experts and have your dinner party or event catered, Executive Cuisine has a full complement of dinners, hors d’oeuvres and succulent desserts. Sesame & wasabi crusted tuna skewers, garlicky lamb kebobs with tahini and lemon panna cotta with fresh fruit were recently served at interior designer’s event.

Villarina's Homemade Past Sauces

A Delectable Table from Executive Cuisine

An interesting array of boutiques for adults and children can be found in New Milford. Two delightful children’s toy stores, Nordica and Play, are definitely worth a visit and not just for birthday presents! Another great family activity is a visit to Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market which is held every Sunday through November 29th from 7 am to 2 pm. You can look at vintage clothing while the kids can check out the toy collectibles.

Games, Puzzles and More at Nordica Toy Store

A Wonderful Selection at Play Toy Store

Swank on Bank, a fashion boutique, located on Bank Street directly across from the movie theater, has one-of-a-kind apparel, jewelry and accessories. , I love the super soft cotton tee shirts! After shopping, Joe’s Salon is a great place for a blow dry, color or cut. They were voted one of the top 200 salons in the US by Salon Today. They also have an excellent spa for facials and massages.

Chic Denim Vests at Swank on Bank

An Open, Airy Interior at Joe's Salon

Across the street from Joe’s Salon is the Harts Art Galley which recently opened and exhibits mixed media, paintings and photography. Their new show, entitled ‘She’s a Changeling ‘opens October 3rd. If you take a stroll around the corner, have a look at the newly renovated and restored United Bank building which is now called 19 Main. It will be a rental space for weddings and other events starting with an upcoming wine tasting.

Photography by Evan Abramson at Harts Gallery

The United Bank Building is now 19 Main

I am thrilled to ‘unlock’ some of the treasures in New Milford. Try them for yourself and let us know your thoughts in the comments box. All the businesses mentioned are linked to their websites so you can view directions and contact information.

Enjoy!