'Tis the season for jolly jaunts in picturesque New England with the Budget Babe's International Travel Advisor Fifi LaMode. —TBB
by Fifi LaMode
New England is beautiful in any season, but Christmas is especially lovely.
, in southern Connecticut
, especially evokes Norman Rockwell scenes. Its historic Main Street is full of small boutiques and shops with unique trendy clothing, gifts and antiques. Try T L Bennett at 448 Main Street for unbelievably gorgeous French jacquard tablecloths, linens and accessories. She also sells Kai products and French soaps. Wonderful gift ideas and top quality stuff. Deborah Ann's Homemade Chocolates makes chocolates on the premises, and they also sell a variety of imported Belgian ones, in addition to gift sets. It's so much fun to go in there at any season and see the goodies designed for each holiday.
There are 3 fabulous jewelry stores: Adessi, Craig's (huge selection of Honora pearls - every so often they do trunk shows), and Capiello Brothers (get your bargains here - they have estate jewelry and consignment stuff ranging from Cartier watches to funky 60's pendants to traditional wedding/engagement rings. They also do repairs and appraisals).
These are only a few examples of locally-owned businesses. Further down the road going north on Main Street there's a shopping center with a Stop N Shop grocery store. But the big draw is Genoa Deli, where each day they have a variety of home-cooked specials, fresh bread delivered from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, and salads and sandwiches. Rocco and co. treat you like family. Then there's Venice Restaurant, owned by Stefano from Sicily, who married a local girl, and serves up the best Veal Cutlet Siciliana ever (that's veal parm with eggplant). Double yummmmm. Personally, this is the best place in town - great value for money, friendly, low-key, delicious food.
Now that we've covered how you can spend your money, let's look at another side of Christmas in this lovely town. Take a walk down Main Street south, past the shops, and see the Victorian mansions all lit up, especially after a snowfall. You can smell the wood burning in the fireplaces. Or drive off the beaten path and see homes in a more rustic setting, everything from McMansions, almost obscene in their opulance, to small Cape Cod houses, painted in bright blues or deep reds. You feel like you're in a painting.
This town is not snooty like some of its neighbors (New Canaan and Greenwich come to mind), and more sophisticated than some of the towns more in country, so whether you're from a small town or a big city, you can appreciate the charm, history (they've got a marker where Benedict Arnold fell off his horse during the Revolutionary War - this is when he was still on our side!) and friendliness of this Connecticut jewel.
How to get there:
Fly into White Plains Airport (20 minute drive), Hartford (90 minutes), La Guardia (1 hr.) Ridgefield is directly south of Danbury, and about 15 miles north of Long Island Sound.
At the beginning of December they have a Holiday Walk in town, and a Christmas Holiday Homes event, where you travel by horse and buggy looking at the decorated houses.
Fifi will be taking a break to be with family and friends until the New Year. Merry Christmas, dear readers, and thanks for reading my columns.
>> Read all of Fifi LaMode's past articles.