Feb 20, 2014
12:29 PM
Style & Design

Connecticut Antiques Trail to Go Statewide With New Website in April

Connecticut Antiques Trail to Go Statewide With New Website in April

Above, the sign denoting Woodbury's designation as the heart of Connecticut's antiques trade. Right, a showroom at Country Loft Antiques in Woodbury; photo by Walter Kidd/Passport Magazine.

Connecticut has a wine “trail,” a barns trail and a chocolate trail, among others—and, of course, the state has an antiques trail.

Actually it has more than one antiques trail, and they take different forms.

The “official” Connecticut Antiques Trail has an online presence but is also a physical route—along Route 6 through the Antiques Capital of Connecticut, Woodbury, which is home to a trove of shops and dealers.

Motorists on I-84 are alerted to the trail with a sign by the side of the highway declaring, “Connecticut Antiques Trail Exit 15.”

Other signs, located on each end of Route 6 in town, say, “Welcome to Woodbury, Connecticut Antiques Trail,” and one of the driving forces in the legislature behind creation of the trail, Republican State Sen. John Kane of Watertown, has talked of expanding the trail to other antiques-rich regions of the state.

There’s also a Mystic Country Antiques Trail, which has a brochure with a map highlighting the southeastern Connecticut region’s antiques—and the trail is also online with an interactive map.

“From country barns to antique malls, history surrounds your antiquing adventure in Mystic Country,” the brochure says. "The antiques trail takes you across Mystic Country while introducing you to some of the unique town centers, restaurants, history and attractions along the way.”

Beyond Woodbury and Mystic Country, another antiques hotspot in Connecticut is Putnam in the far Northeast Corner, or Quiet Corner, which is included in Mystic Country in the way the state's tourism regions are currently apportioned.

Starting in April, all of Connecticut’s antiques dealers and auction houses will be featured in one convenient digital place, a new statewide Connecticut Antiques Trail website being launched as part of the state’s official tourism website, www.CTvisit.com.

“That’s as much as our budget can afford,” Jean Hebert of Connecticut Office of Tourism said by phone Thursday. The new site and everything it highlights will be promoted through a marketing campaign, but at this point there won’t be any new brochures—although there will be some kind of signage, now under development by the state Department of Transportation.

“We’re going to feature stories on the website,” Hebert said. “Things will change seasonally.”

The website is still being developed, but among the things that have been nailed down, Hebert explained, is that the new overarching online antiques trail will not be broken down regionally but presented as a statewide presence. For a sense of how that will work, see the interactive map on state’s tourism website.

The site will have a “don’t-miss” box, a place where viewers can scroll through a list of antiques- and auction-related events.

“But, again, this is still a work in progress," Hebert said, while adding, “We’re pretty excited about this.”

The Connecticut Office of Tourism needs help to make the new trail a success, and just issued a call for antiques dealers and auction houses to participate.

“Not only does Connecticut have a rich history in antiquing, but there is also tremendous interest, knowledge and expertise in the American and international antiques industries here,” said Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, in the release. “We look forward to partnering with Connecticut antiques dealers, auction houses and key folks in this industry to develop a robust and informative Connecticut Antiques Trail for our visitors and residents.”

Qualifying antiques dealers and auction houses receive a complimentary business listing on the website, the release said, while advising potential participants to email Hebert at Jean.Hebert@ct.gov or call (860) 256-2739.

The deadline for submitting information is March 10.

The new antiques trail's parent entity, Connecticut’s Office of Tourism (COT), a division of the Department of Economic and Community Development, launched a new state brand identity, still revolutionary, in 2012.

It’s a strategic marketing initiative designed to build pride among residents and bolster the state’s reputation as a business and tourism destination, the state explains, noting that Connecticut is home to fine dining and entertainment, serene beaches and hiking trails, historic treasures and world class museums.

To learn more, visit www.CTvisit.com or call 1-888-CTvisit.

Connecticut Antiques Trail to Go Statewide With New Website in April

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