The cozy village of Salisbury in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut offers country inns, tasty treats, an annual ski jump for top winter fun.
By Annie Graves
Feb 05 2020
Locals gather in the cozy, fireplace-warmed Tap Room.Photo Credit : Annie Graves
When the weather outside is frightful (or at any rate dropping digits like a stock-market correction), what could be better than cozying up to a crackling fire? While researching the 2015 Yankee “Could You Live Here?” feature on Salisbury, CT (see Salisbury, Connecticut | Could You Live Here?) I decided to find out.
I started by following the thread of warmth and nostalgia as it unwinds through Salisbury, Connecticut, a village in the extreme northwestern Litchfield Hills, surrounded by horse farms and fields, with easy views to neighboring New York. Because this Litchfield beauty hides an unexpected, old-timey surprise that sets it apart.
Incorporated in 1741, back when New York City’s total population was a mere 10,000, Salisbury is far-flung enough from the city to make a challenging daily commute (over 2 hours), but close enough to attract its share of “weekenders,” many of whom retire here. Consequently, there’s enough to keep both visitors and residents happy.
Locals insist that the town has kept its authentic small-town feel, and it’s easy to feel embraced by the pretty downtown. Certainly, book aficionados, gourmands, and fans of antique architecture will be happy.
Celebrities can and do keep a low profile here, and names like Meryl Streep (who goes by her married name, Meryl Gummer) and Sam Waterston are tossed around affectionately but with respect, like a relative you adore but find intimidating.
The Scoville Memorial Library makes its imposing presence felt at one end of town, and the White Hart Inn warms up the other end.
The Earl Grey B&B is secreted almost in the center of town, should you wish to treat yourself to an overnight, and there are even a couple of first-rate private schools in town, including Hotchkiss, with Olympic-sized swimming pools, a golf course, and an expansive campus complete with its own cemetery.
But in early February, something unexpected happens here. The calendar flips back to a time when winter sports could dominate small towns.
On John Satre Memorial Hill, at the end of a winding road not far from the center of town, folks gather at the foot of a vertigo-inducing ski jump—one of the last “big hills” in New England—as they have since 1927.
Excitement rumbles and skiers fly, as they kick off the Jumpfest Winter Festival (coming Feb. 7-9 in 2020), a tournament for airborne skiers. Volunteers turn out in force.
The whole of Salisbury, old and new, seems to take pride in this loveliest collaboration of past and present, keeping the best of the old ways alive. Inspiring us with what human beings are still capable of doing with practice and hard work. Whether or not the weather is frightful, this show of town spirit aligned with jumpers flying toward the sun is what really makes us warm.
Have you ever visited the village of Salisbury, Connecticut?
This post was first published in 2014 and has been updated.