This Under-the-Radar Connecticut Resort Is the Ultimate City Retreat
A trip to Winvian Farm is whatever you make it
Winvian Farm is just over a two-hour drive from both New York City and Boston, but it’s the kind of bucolic retreat that feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of big city life. Nestled in Connecticut’s idyllic Litchfield Hills, it’s a 113-acre property that offers five-star amenities without the pretension or crowds. Its origins date back to 1775, when Dr. Seth Bird built the first structure on the property, still one of the first buildings you’ll see upon arrival. Unlike some of the other luxury hotels in the area, Winvian offers plenty of privacy for its guests, thanks to cottage-style accommodations. While the historic estate is very walkable, each cottage comes equipped with bikes to encourage exploration of the property or nearby Morris and Bantam Lake.
Each accommodation has its own distinct personality, and I recommend chatting with the concierge about the available options to help you book just the right one to make your weekend special. I stayed in the adorable Maritime cottage, which was built as an ode to the state’s historic lighthouses. It was incredibly charming and cozy yet offered all the five-star amenities I’d hoped for.
The one-bedroom cottage featured a state-of-the-art bathroom, wood-burning fireplace and incredible views of the night sky. Each cottage has its own living area and screened porch, and several are multi-level for extra privacy. You can also choose a less traditional accommodation, such as a restored 1968 Sikorsky HH-3F Pelican helicopter for a true weekend to remember.
Part of the Winvian Farm experience is dining at its five AAA Diamond-awarded restaurants for breakfast and dinner. Executive Chef Chris Eddy is at the helm of this farm-to-table dining experience that features fresh produce from the organic garden you’ll overlook during mealtime. The property is also home to a stellar wine cellar that comprises 37 regions and offers many biodynamic and organic options to pair with its weekly rotating prix fixe and tasting menus.
If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, Winvian has recently opened a second dining outpost, Maggie’s Tavern. Though you’ll find a laid back atmosphere and less formal fare, there are specialty cocktails made with ingredients from the garden and elevated takes on classic comfort foods (not to mention charcuterie boards made with local and regional cheeses) to savor after a busy morning of activities. While you can certainly go into one of the nearby towns for all of your meals, it’s worth enjoying at least a few on property to get the full Winvian experience — just make sure to book dinners ahead as best you can.
Activities and Excursions
A stay at Winvian is what you make it to be. You can spend the long weekend as if you’re at an elegant summer camp with hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing and river tubing. There’s also a fabulous 5,000 square-foot spa featuring products from Biologique Recherche and Yonka Paris, with treatments rooted in both Eastern and Western therapeutic modalities that can keep you busy detoxing all weekend. The staff is incredibly kind and knowledgeable and will help you determine the right treatments for your wellness needs and goals. My facialist even asked me to keep her updated on my skin care journey when I got home, and she had some incredible insight into how I could boost my skincare routine (just be warned: I’m now hooked on Bioloque Recherche products).
However, there are plenty more unique activities to enjoy if you’re seeking a more creative getaway, or the ultimate guys’ weekend. Winvian offers spirit tastings from nearby Litchfield Distillery, axe-throwing and electric bikes to keep you entertained all weekend long, while the farm will also help you leave a better artist, thanks to glass blowing and painting workshops. Golfers will also be pleased to learn that Winvian partners with a championship 18-hole course nearby.
Beyond Winvian, there’s an array of activities available for those looking to get off the property for the afternoon and enjoy some local sightseeing. Winvian has a partnership with Volvo that lets guests book a private car to drive to local restaurants and attractions. Litchfield Hills is home to a handful of local wineries that offer tasting experiences, and Thorncrest Farm & Milkhouse is a must-visit for chocolate lovers. Plus, if you’re in the market for one-of-a-kind furniture and housewares, the area is a goldmine for antiques shopping. Be sure to chat with the concierge to help you book an ideal day trip.
What’s great about a trip to Winvian Farm is that you can clearly tailor it to whatever you’re looking for in an escape from the city. You can use it as your own wellness retreat, outdoor enthusiast mecca, couple’s getaway or you can simply immerse yourself in the estate’s natural beauty and do a digital detox for the weekend. However you decide to spend your time here, you’re sure to leave feeling refreshed and planning your return visit for the next season.
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