Norfolk, Connecticut, population 1600, is not a town that tends to blow its own horn. In fact, many who live in this unspoiled hamlet in the Litchfield Hills rather like having their hometown’s New England charm and beautiful surroundings to themselves…but not during the first weekend every August when the organizations of this bucolic hamlet roll out the red carpet to visitors and resident alike. This year, “A Weekend in Norfolk” on August 3, 4 and 5, offers more than 80 fun filled events, most are free of charge and sure to delight folks of all ages.
On the weekend docket are concerts for every taste from chamber music by the Emerson String Quartet and the Frank Vignola Jazz Trio to Rock Groups and Free Concerts at Robertson Plaza in the center of town sponsored by Infinity Hall.
On all three days, art lovers will enjoy a variety of demonstrations hosted by the Artisans Guild of Norfolk and two art shows, one at the Norfolk Library featuring the work of Turi Rostad, and the 10th Anniversary Exhibition of at the Battell Stoeckel Gallery, that features a variety of work in a multitude of media. A special highlight for art lovers on all three days is the guided tour of the Battell Chapel, at the Church of Christ Congregational featuring the stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Maitland Armstrong. On Sunday, August 5, two more churches open their doors for tours of their stained glass windows on Saturday and Sunday.
Because of its location, Norfolk is one of the best places in Connecticut to stargaze. If you love astronomy, don’t miss the free Astronomy Night with Matthew Moore Johnson on August 4 starting at 8 p.m. at Dennis Hill State Park on Litchfield Road. Dennis Hill tops out at an elevation of 1627 feet and Norfolk doesn’t have any light pollution, making it an excellent spot to observe the nighttime sky. Before you go stargazing, you can attend a Do-Over Prom for adults, being held in the Botelle School gym, complete with prom king and queen, a photo booth and a great disk jockey.
To “win” an "Icebox of Connecticut t-shirt,” take the six-peak challenge offered by the Norfolk Landtrust by taking a selfie at the peak of all six hiking trails that surround Norfolk. Trail information is available at the two WINformation centers, one on the Village Green and one inside the Hub downtown. There is also a trail run taking place at noon on Sunday.
Foodies will enjoy a Farmer’s Market (including a church pie sale) on Saturday, two ice cream socials on Saturday and Sunday, plus a Saturday afternoon downtown food court and special deals and menus at the town’s restaurants all weekend. A special treat on Saturday is a variety of farm tours being offered at Husky Meadows Farm, Lost Ruby Farm, and Broad Field Farm. This is a great chance to sample their farm to table goodies, literally fresh from the farm!
Make sure to bring the kids! There are a number of activities that they will enjoy from two old-fashioned ice cream socials, face painting, games and a children’s concert to a kid’s fire hose water soccer game, a special leaf-printing workshop sponsored by Great Mountain Forest, a hand-sewing class with free materials supplied by the Historical Society, a free paint-a-chick and stamping workshop, and Dino’s Funky Puppet Show at the Norfolk Library.
Sports lovers should head to the Norfolk Curling Club that is offering an open house of their state of the art two-sheet facility. There will also be a fly-fishing demonstration, two fly tying workshops and a tour of the nine-hole Norfolk Country Club’s Golf Course designed in the late 1920s by A.W. Tillinghast.
If you want to take a breather, Manor House Bed and Breakfast, a stately Tudor Mansion is offering house tours (be sure to check out the Tiffany windows in the dining room) and lemonade on the lawn. Mountain View Green Retreat is offering a series of three complimentary stations highlighting a different aspect of wellness and rejuvenation from fresh pressed juices to a tea ceremony and healthy food from around the world.
Norfolk’s parks beckon this weekend and every weekend. An easy trail to the summit of 240-acre Dennis Hill State Park rewards hikers with panoramic views and the observation tower at Haystack Mountain State Park can be reached by auto or a steep climb. Campbell Falls State Park, a natural reserve area, offers views of the falls tumbling over craggy rock formations.
Visitors who stay overnight will discover some delightful local lodgings like the Blackberry River Inn, a 1761 Colonial; Mountain View Green Retreat, an elegantly restored Victorian; and Manor House, a romantic 1898 Tudor bed, and breakfast inn.
If the romantic spirit of the town inspires, you can make an appointment on Friday, August 3 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to be wed or renew your vows on the village green. The town’s first selectman will officiate; flowers, ring bearers and witnesses will be standing by. Please make a reservation (contact email@example.com) and, if you’re getting married, bring your license.
Check out the Weekend in Norfolk website www.weekendinnorfolk.org for the most up to date listing of events to plan your day or days of “WINning” fun in Norfolk.
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