I did a little research and made plans for us to (sort of) do a big loop of eastern Connecticut driving Route 169 which is a designated National Scenic Byway. I knew once we were in Connecticut's "Quiet Corner" we would have plenty of other back roads to choose from before we made our way home.
There are a lot of things to see and visit along this drive but hard to do in one day so we set out for a couple of specific stops and decided we'd just mosey along for the rest of the day.
The rest of this post will be mostly photos - I hope you enjoy seeing our fall adventure and I apologize in advance to all you DSLR people for my iPhone and point and shoot shots.
This is a map of our route: starting from home we took the highway to route 169 (the left road on the map then bear right) because we wanted to start by having lunch at the Vanilla Bean Cafe. So we drove to the left of the bottom loop then over towards the right. The mileage is correct but disregard the time, this was a 6 hour excursion. Just for perspective, Massachusetts is above the dotted line and Rhode Island is to the right.
I took some shots of the foliage along the way. As you can see it was a beautiful fall day with blue, blue skies.
Once we got off the highway and onto Route 169, we started seeing very typical New England scenes with colonial-style houses and lots of rock walls. I took a couple photos from the truck then kept insisting we pull over! Mr. Helen is a good sport but he does get tired of me saying, "Oh no! That was a perfect shot and we drove by too fast." Still, 169 was everything we hoped it would be in terms of a lovely drive and views.
In about an hour's time we were at the Vanilla Bean Cafe, a restaurant built into a 19th century barn and the only place to get lunch in Pomfret. The food is delicious and made with all fresh ingredients but a bit overpriced. As it's the only game in town, you can imagine the line on a perfect autumnal Saturday. We ended up keeping our coats on and sitting outside because it was so busy! No photos but suffice it to say our shared cup of their award winning chili and Mr. Helen's meatloaf sandwich and my roast beef and cheddar sandwich lived up to their reputation. We would to back.
After lunch we headed down Route 97 to go to a wine tasting at Sharpe Hill Vineyards, best know for their Ballet of Angels wine. We had never been here and were looking forward to it.
Route 97 as we were leaving the cafe.
The main building and restaurant. Mr. Helen is walking towards the tasting room door - he was done with me and my photos hahaha
The entrance to the tasting room and restaurant.