Apparently, Christmas gifts do come early.
We just read with excitement about the reopening on The Christmas Barn, July 7th, 2010, at its revered and most charming post-and-beam 1795 barn setting in Woodstock, Conn. The Barn summer hours, according to owners Joe and Kris Reynolds, are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday and 12 noon-5 p.m. on Sunday. The Barn will add Tuesday 10-5 hours in the fall.
Folks, if you haven’t been to the Christmas Barn, we heartily recommend visiting this one-of-a-kind, 12-room, locally-owned retail wonderland. It’s much in the vein of a country store but the merchandise constantly changes, making it worth several return visits. Some staples include folk art, candles, soaps, old world glass ornaments, candies, dips, linens and various Christmas and fall gatherings (accent on Christmas, given the store’s name!).
Summer will no doubt be a good time to visit the Christmas Barn but looking ahead, consider putting this destination on your Halloween and Christmas calendars as relevant holiday merchandise — and seasonal design of the store — are sure to make for a “must-stop” shopping experience. More on that later, as we visit the Christmas Barn during the fall and winter seasons!
While some country stores pride themselves on an “organized disorganized” look, the Christmas Barn in a bit more unpredictable, and that’s a good thing. The 12 rooms go off in all different directions, sort of like a retail maze with enough nooks and crannies to keep things interesting. Most of all, the Christmas Barn feels unaffected and sincere, not totally aware of its innate greatness. So, while some other places in this genre work on heavy marketing, the Christmas Barn acts more like a store from another era that knew that the best kind of marketing resided in the simplicity of presenting good merchandise and being nice to their customers. In other words, build it and they will come.
The Christmas Barn also serves as an integral part of a day trip or vacation in this simply beautiful area called the “Quiet Corner” of northeast Connecticut. The purity of the “Quiet Corner” makes for a great place to reconnect with each other, the big sky, farmland with gentle rolling hills, rivers and lakes. The towns that comprise this area — Woodstock, Pomfret and Brookyln, in particular — have quintessential New England charm. A scenic drive down Route 169 remains one of the best introdutions to rural New England with its 200-plus pre-1855 homes along with farms, historic churches and classic Connecticut village green centers. The seasons bring lake swimming in the summer, apple picking in the fall, cross country ski in the winter, and the sweet smell of flowers and fresh air in the spring.
Less than a half-hour from Woodstock is Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Mass., a splendid, sprawling recreation of an early New England village from 1790-1840 “in the company of farmers, craftsmen and fascinating characters.“
We’d also recommend dining at the quaint Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret, that offers freshly-made breakfast, lunch and dinner within a nice post-and-beam 1880s farmhouse. The Inn at Woodstock Hill in Woodstock is one of our favorite getaways — the historic Inn largely consists of a Federal/Georgian style mansion with a carriage house and two barns.
Putnam, about 10 minutes form Woodstock, is also a worthy destination with its high concentration of antique stores!
As you can see, we truly love the area. If you decide to travel the “Quiet Corner,” we suggest visiting all of the above — with the Christmas Barn as a retail highlight!
The Christmas Barn
835 Route 169