As you drive along Route 169 in the eastern part of the state, it soon becomes clear why this section of Connecticut is called the Quiet Corner. This route, located just off I-395, offers 32 miles of uninterrupted tranquillity.
In Lisbon, weathered-clapboard homesteads appear around every bend. Stone walls flank the road as you come to the Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury. Prudence Crandall was a prescient white woman who educated black girls from 1833 to 1834 before a club-wielding mob brought an end to her school.
Back on Route 169, giant trees cast long shadows as you pass faded red barns amid fields of corn. The apple orchards and hiking and biking trails just off the road will have you making a mental note to return in the autumn.
Continuing on, you soon reach the town of Brooklyn, settled in the 1600s. Past the Brooklyn Fairgrounds, site of the oldest agricultural fair in the country, is a charming 18th-century bed-and-breakfast called the Friendship Valley Inn. Inn-keepers Beverly and Rusty Yates greet guests with glasses of homemade iced tea.
For a special treat, visit The Golden Lamb Buttery, part of a 1,000-acre estate just off Route 169. Enjoy a late-afternoon hayride (you just might find a glass of Pinot Noir hand-delivered in a ’53 Jaguar), then relax with a cocktail on the deck overlooking the lake and meandering stone walls. For dinner, try the roast duckling — the house specialty — which is so tender it falls off the bone.
Twenty-six miles from the start of your trip, in Woodstock, stands Roseland Cottage, a resplendent raspberry sherbet-colored Gothic Revival house with maroon trim and dark-green shutters. The cottage was built by Henry Bowen, a local boy who moved to New York and struck it rich. He and his family returned to the cottage every summer, and their original furnishings are still on display here.