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Connecticut Travel >>> Visiting Pomfret CT

Chilly Outside, Chili Inside in Pomfret CT

Pomfret Connecticut in the winter
Pomfret CT in the winter

Article and photos by Eric H.

Pomfret, Conn., looks so beautiful in the winter that it's easy to forget about the long, cold, harsh New England winters that almost always tend to outstay its welcomes.

The pastoral, expansive lands with pure white snow -- and old homes and churches that add true rural New England character -- often create these idyllic scenes in Pomfret. While many refer to this northeastern section of Connecticut as "The Quiet Corner," a more appropriate name would be "The Scenic Corner," courtesy of Pomfret and surrounding quaint, small towns with such incredible rural ambiance. Pomfret might just be the nicest of the towns with its leafy private schools, rolling hills and farm land, extensive network of stone walls, the 700-acre Audubon Society’s Bafflin Sanctuary to explore, Sharpe Hill Winery (108 Wade Rd., Tel. 860-974-3549), and several locally-owned quality (not tacky) gift shops. Quaint area bed and breakfasts and inns like the Feather Hill Bed and Breakfast and Inn at Woodstock Hill, the latter just a few minutes up the road in equally beautiful Woodstock, both provide a respite from the highly developed industrial belt in the northeastern United States with traffic, crazy drivers and a faster pace lifestyle that we have come to know and often not like.

In theory, one could explore Quiet Corner towns like Pomfret all day in the winter for New England winter travel inspiration, but the reality is that the cold temperatures often prevent most travelers from doing so for any extended amount of time. The best bet is to wait for a warmer winter day with the snow still intact, or find someplace locally to warm up.

Our favorite winter "warming up" place in Pomfret is the Vanilla Bean Cafe (corner of Routes 44, 97, and 169, Tel. 860-928-1562) where a nice cup of fresh coffee, homemade soups, made-from-scratch foods and frequent nighttime folk music entertainment provide nourishment within a beyond pleasant 1840s restored farmhouse setting. The Vanilla Bean also happens to make one of the best bowls of chili on the planet.  Flavorful with the right amount of spices, tomato base and beef, this food selection might just be the remedy for the cold environs outside...

Chili from the Vanilla Bean Cafe, Pomfret CT

The chili looks amazing, doesn't it? But then again, so does the Vanilla Bean Cafe. To get an idea of this restaurant's ultra coziness, move the arrows on the Google Virtual Tour below with special attention to the main dining room on the right....

View Larger Map

What a nice day to spend a winter day in a beautiful Connecticut town that, thankfully, also offers such a warm and welcoming cafe. The overall experience will get you in a New England state of mind in no time -- no matter how rough the winter.

Related articles:
Exploring the antiques shopping culture in Putnam CT
Quiet Corner of Connecticut travel recommendations

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