About 10 minutes off I-84 between Danbury and Waterbury, you’ll find the scenic town of Woodbury. It’s a rural oasis of sorts, filled with historic houses and rolling farms; a place where those of us who care about such things slow down to better appreciate the many sights.
It is also an oasis of antique shops.
Though a small town of about 10,000 people, the “antiques capital of Connecticut” is home to more than 35 antique dealers. The majority of these shops are found within historic Colonial and Victorian houses along a three-mile stretch of Route 6.
Karen Reddington-Hughes, president of Woodbury Antiques Dealers Association and owner of Abrash Galleries Rugs & Antiquities, advises those who come to the area in search of antiques to get out of their cars and walk from shop to shop as much as possible.
“Although [Woodbury] might not be a town where you can walk from one end to the other, it certainly is in parts walkable,” she says.
For those coming from I-84, the first cluster of antique shops will be found near the intersection of routes 6 and 64. Here in the downtown section of town, there are sidewalks and several shops such as Country Loft Antiques (557 Main St. S.), Jennings & Rohn Antiques and Tucker Frey Antiques, which share an address (289 Main St. S.), Kocian DePasqua American Antiques & Folk Art (451 Main St. S.), George Champion Modern Shop (442 Main St. S.), Lisa Demuro Antiques (14 Green Circle) and Main Street Antique Center (113 Main St. S.).
The next group is just up the road. If you park at Abrash Galleries (40 Main St. N.) you can walk to Thomas Schwenke Inc. (50 Main St. N.), Wayne Mattox Antiques (82 Main St. N.) and G. Sergeant Antiques (88 Main St. N.).
About 2 miles farther up Main Street (Route 6) is Mill House Antiques & Gardens, a large antique destination with 17 showrooms and showstopping gardens.
The proximity of all these and other antique dealers in town allows visitors to explore items from different eras in a variety of styles. “They can have an exposure to all of those different worlds because there are so many different antique dealers,” Reddington-Hughes says. “Many of [the owners] are really authorities within their own field and have been guests on Antiques Roadshow and given lectures.”
If you go: Many Woodbury antique shops are closed on either Monday or Tuesday, so Wednesday through Sunday offers more variety. The shops have flags out front that are flown when they are open. For a complete list of vendors, go to antiqueswoodbury.com.
More trippin’: Keep with the historic theme by visiting the Glebe House Museum & Gertrude Jekyll Garden, the birthplace of Anglicanism in the U.S., or make some time to check out the King Solomon Masonic Temple, the oldest Masonic Lodge in continuous use in the state, perched dramatically on a ledge overlooking Route 6.
For something completely different, go to Quassy Amusement Park, less than three miles away in Middlebury. It has a waterpark and dozens of rides, including the Wooden Warrior rollercoaster.
Eating and drinking: The Good News Cafe has long been a downtown Woodbury favorite with its combination of American and French cuisine. Also popular downtown is the farm-to-table restaurant Market Place Kitchen & Bar. For a more casual meal, visit El Camion (see story on page 92) or the storied Dottie’s Diner, home of delicious doughnuts and princely pot pies.