Most weekends when I go upstate (in New York or Connecticut) I want to be outdoors and hike. But there are times when I want a quaint village fix. My favorite destination? New Preston, Ct. New Preston is a tiny sliver of a town; blink and you can miss it. (I kid you not—you can easily zip right past in your car if you’re looking at your phone or whatnot.) With it’s old homes and waterfall running through the middle of town, it is New England town picturesque. But what is most appealing are it’s shops. In one block are some of my favorite home/lifestyle stores. Anywhere. Period. Even if it’s rainy, like this weekend’s forecast promises, it’s worth the trip. You could have lunch at the White Horse Pub near town (though I’ve never been), or if it’s sunny a picnic at nearby Lake Waramaug, and make an afternoon of it. The town even has a site for more info. Plus there are events many weekends; this Saturday John Derian is doing a book signing for his new, self-titled coffee table book at Pergola.
My favorite shops….
Privet House. (photo top) Owners Suzanne Cassano and Richard Lambertson (formerly of Lambertson Truex handbags) have impeccable taste (they used to have a boutique in Greenwich, CT; I was sad when it closed). From vintage and antique furniture, to every item you need to create an unforgettable table setting including hotel silver and Belgium linens, to rare vintage fashion books, it’s hard to walk out of their store empty-handed.
Pergola. (pictured above) I don’t have a big garden, but this store makes me wish I did. However, there are plenty of vintage prints, objets, indoor plants and antiques (I almost bought a pair of side tables once). Plus you can go in their back garden and watch the waterfall.
Plain Goods. Run by designer Michael DePerno and Andrew Fry, who did marketing for brands such as Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren, the carefully edited goods in this store epitomize modern rustic country. If I had a home nearby, it would be full of finds from Plain Goods. There are also some great baby and hostess gifts.
J. Seitz & Co. This home goods/furniture/clothing store has been around for 25 years. Good if you need update your “country weekend” look. The men’s clothing department is particularly strong with brands like Billy Reid, Save Khaki and Hunter.