Press Room – Fireside Dining, Romantic Suites, Family Sundaes, Even Cuddly Wolves: The Cozy, Warm Pleasures of Winter in Connecticut

Contact: Megan Casper
National Public Relations
M. Silver Associates, Inc.
(212) 754-6500


I weathered some merry snowstorms, and spent some cheerful winter evenings by my fireside, while the snow whirled wildly without.

Don’t you love a cushioned seat in a corner, by the fireside, with slippers on your feet?

HARTFORD — December 21, 2005 — Henry David Thoreau, the great naturalist and one of America’s best travel writers, and the poet Oliver Wendell Holmes are not the only authors to have captured the magic of a fireside. For virtually everyone who has ever experienced the cold, a crackling fireside is a powerfully appealing symbol that conjures up warmth and coziness in the midst of winter.

With fireside dinners, fireside accommodations, even fireside breakfasts, travelers in Connecticut will discover much more than the symbol. And, while a roaring fire provide the centerpiece for many winter travel experiences here, they are complemented by a wealth of wonderful indoor activities and special events as well as romantic vacation packages that all add up to making Connecticut in winter as cuddly and cozy as flannel sheets on an antique four-poster warmed by glowing embers in a stone hearth.

The Deacon Timothy Pratt Bed and Breakfast Inn in Old Saybrook (860-640-1195), for example, offers seven guestrooms, all with working fireplaces (as well as Jacuzzi tubs) and many with four posters. A Romance Package includes complimentary champagne and chocolate truffles. The Three Chimneys Inn at Yale University in New Haven (203-789-1201), an elegantly restored 1870 Victorian home, also features four-posters and, in the charming Library Parlour, two original fireplaces – the ideal spot for afternoon tea or a quiet book. In Manchester, near Hartford, The Mansion Inn Bed and Breakfast (860-646-0453) invites guests to spend the night in your own private library, tucked into a bed piled high with snowy, hand-embroidered linens, the fire burning merrily in your fireplace grate. Among several individually decorated suites – the Turkistan, the Henny Penny, the Seville – at the 27-room Inn at National Hall in Westport (800-628-4255), a member of Relais & Chateaux, the Equestrian offers a remote-controlled gas fireplace as well as magnificent river views. And, in West Norfolk, the 237-year old colonial Blackberry River Inn (860-542-5100) offers three luxurious suites with fireplaces, Jacuzzis and all the most modern of conveniences. Claw-foot bathtubs add to the romantic appeal.

Cozy is the operative word for many vacation packages offered by the hotels, inns and B&B’s of Connecticut. At the Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic (860-739-0331), for example, they include a fireside candlelit breakfast overlooking the water. A Winter Escape & Return package also features a $50 gift certificate for local dining, tickets to area attractions and a bottle of champagne. The Winter Lovers’ Escape adds a romantic candlelit dinner for two at Frank’s Gourmet Grill. The Inn at Woodstock Hill in Woodstock (860-928-0528) features a Weekday Winter Getaway package, including accommodations with a four-poster bed and fireplace, dinner, breakfast and a bottle of champagne or wine. The entire Farmington Valley offers a complete Warm up to Winter program which includes weekend getaway options that offer exclusive discounts to area adventures, attractions, shops, historic sites, and accommodations. Log onto to learn about the welcoming taverns and pampering day spas that are offering special winter rates.

Given the state’s stature as one of the original colonies, it is not surprising that many of Connecticut’s most popular restaurants are highlighted by a roaring fireside in winter. Several go beyond using a fireplace as appealing decorative finish. Randall’s Ordinary Inn & Restaurant in North Stonington (860-599-4540), for example, offers authentic, late 1600s colonial cuisine prepared entirely in an open hearth fireplace. The inn’s 18 charming rooms continue the colonial flavor, with all the most modern touches. Not far away, the Captain Daniel Packer Inne in Mystic (860-536-3555) is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, having been built over 240 years ago. Cobb’s Mill Inn in Weston (203-227-7221) is even older and equally charming and romantic. Curtis House in Woodbury (203-263-2101) is Connecticut’s oldest inn, built in 1736 and offers accommodations as well as every modern comfort-every ancient charm. Other restaurants offering fireside dining include the Bantam Inn in Bantam (860-567-1770), noted for its seafood; Tavern on Main in Westport (203-221-7222), with not one but three fireplaces as well as low beamed ceilings, wide plank floors and early American ironworks; Guilford Mooring in Guilford (203-458-2561), which combines fireside dining with a nautical setting right on the docks of the Long Island Sound.

Still more winter dining favorites among Connecticut’s residents include the new Restaurant at Longwood in Woodbury (203-266-0800) a newly renovated centerpiece of five-room, intimate Longwood Country Inn and situated in a 1790’s colonial home. Nestled in the Litchfield Hills, the restaurant has been a favorite of such notables as former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and the hugely successful writer, Frank McCourt. Three restaurants in the New Haven area also rank among many winter favorites: the waterfront Sage American Grill & Oyster Bar in New Haven (203-787-3466), rated by Connecticut Magazine as Best American Restaurant in New Haven County and featuring fireside dining and a fun atmosphere (and a sister establishment in Chester); the Union League Cafй (203-562-4299), also with a huge fireplace as well as excellent French cuisine; and Le Petit Cafй in Branford (203-483-9791), offering charm, coziness and a prix fixe menu.

While sleeping and dining are particularly appealing pursuits, travelers will find that there is much more to do indoors in Connecticut during the cold days of winter. The famous Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford (860-278-2670), for example, welcomes children to Family Sundaes, a weekly program of treats and hands-on activities easily combined with a tour through the museum’s distinguished art galleries. The Noah Webster House museum and the West Hartford Historical Society invites the public to Tavern Night on January 27. The 18th century wayside tavern dinner and festivities will include candlelight, hearth-cooked foods, period music and games and the appearance of Mystic Seaport’s popular sea chantey singer, Don Sineti. Call (860-521-5362). Mystic Seaport (860-572-5315) is warming up winter with Pirate Week, February 18-26, offering a rollicking good time as children explore the facts and fantasies about pirates. For more serious travelers, the Seaport is presenting a Meet the Author Series throughout the winter and into April focusing on books about American maritime history.

The Bruce Museum of Arts and Science in Greenwich (203-869-0376) is also keeping warm with multiple exhibitions, including Small Scales IV: Miniature Rooms and Houses (through January); Animals in Winter: Survival at Zero Degrees (through March 5) and Ben Franklin’s Curious Mind in honor of the celebrated American’s 300th birthday (through April 23). And, the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport (203-227-4177) is stoking winter’s virtual fireside with several special events, including Selected Shorts, the popular series of celebrities reading short stories (January 28), and two children’s performances: Willy Wonka, a presentation of The Kennedy Center in Washington troupe (January 15) and The Arabian Nights, a Musictale February 12. Finally, for a change of pace, travelers will not want to miss Meet the Wolf Pups at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum (800-411-9671) on February 18, an hour-long up close and personal encounter with these misunderstood and, at least when young, decidedly cuddly looking creatures. The museum also opens a Native Quilting Traditions exhibition showcasing this traditional Native American expressive art form on February 12. What could be more cozy than imagining being wrapped in one of these 29 rare and exquisite quilts?

For further information about the 52 Getaways to Connecticut, restaurants, resorts, country inns, B&Bs and other places to stay in Connecticut, please call 888-CTvisit (888-288-4748) or log on at Connecticut offers visitors a multi-faceted wealth of attractions, historical, cultural and recreational activities, diverse and beautiful natural landscapes, parks, beaches and wilderness sure to fulfill any getaway need.

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