Expansion of Connecticut Antiques Trail Gets Boost from State. Sen Rob Kane [Litchfield County Times]

March 28, 2013

Article as it appeared in the Litchfield County Times on Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Editor’s note: Also see our story from the spring issue of Passport magazine, The State of the Union for Connecticut Antiques Capital, Woodbury: ‘Big Change’ , and Antiques Trail’s Champion in Woodbury Wins Award, Looks to the Future

The existing Connecticut Antiques Trail doesn’t enjoy the same sort of elevated profile as the much ballyhooed Connecticut Wine Trail. State Sen. Rob Kane (R-Watertown) has a plan to change that.

On Tuesday, members of the General Assembly’s Commerce Committee unanimously pushed forward his bill that would expand and better advertise the Connecticut Antiques Trail, which is meant so far to highlight the many antiques shops in the unofficial Antiques Capital of Connecticut, Woodbury.

It was one of Mr. Kane’s constituents in Woodbury who approached him in 2009 with the idea for the trail. That year, Mr. Kane worked with the state Department of Transportation to erect signs along Interstate 84 that would direct people onto the trail, and to Woodbury, off Exit 15 in Southbury and also greet them with news of the trail along Route 6 in Woodbury and Bethlehem.

“I wanted to get the antiques trail the same kind of attention the wine trail did years ago,” Mr. Kane said Wednesday.

Subsequent to the planting of the signs a study was done on the trail’s larger possibilities. Mr. Kane sees it being a statewide endeavor, as other communities, including Putnam in Eastern Connecticut, have concentrations of antiques dealers.

“It’s not just for Woodbury and the 32nd District,” said Sen. Kane, the lawmaker who represents 10 towns. “This would help antiques businesses and there is a ton of ancillary businesses that would benefit.”

The ctvisit.com Web site, which already promotes the antiques trail, gives a better idea of how a well publicized trail benefits more than just stores that retail antiques and artifacts. Here’s the teaser:

“Between any Wednesday and Sunday, spend a couple of relaxing days in the quaint hamlet of Woodbury. Begin with breakfast in one of the cozy diners, and then browse the southern end of the Antiques Trail that features more than 35 diverse shops. Take time out for lunch at a local restaurant and then visit the historic Glebe House Museum and Gertrude Jekyll Garden. Rejoin the Trail for more antique browsing before checking in the Curtis House, Connecticut’s oldest inn, or Cornucopia at Oldfield B&B located in the historic district of Southbury. Prepare for a fine dining experience at any of the local restaurants recognized for their excellence. Next morning after breakfast move on through the northern end of the Antiques Trail. If it is summer or fall, enjoy an afternoon walk in either of the two Flanders Nature preserves, and on Saturdays visit the Antiques Flea Market where the Trail intersects with Rte. 64. If it is winter, visit Woodbury Ski Area for some downhill skiing or snowboarding. Don’t leave town before you visit the Woodbury Pewter to shop and watch pieces being made by local craftsmen.”

Mr. Kane laments how slow wheels churn in Hartford, so he was reticent to offer a solid timeframe on when an expansion of the antiques trail would be official. But he did say that Tuesday’s vote marked a great step forward.

Ed Dombroskas, executive director of the Eastern Regional Tourism District in Mystic, supports the bill. His organization recently put together an antiques brochure for the southeast Connecticut region and received thousands of inquiries seeking copies.

For more information on antiques in Woodbury in particular, see the Web site of the Woodbury Antiques Dealers Association at www.antiqueswoodbury.com.