Founded in 1903, New Britain Museum of American Art was designated the first museum in the country to be dedicated exclusively to American artwork. Upon its founding, wealthy industrialist John Butler Talcott endowed the museum with a hefty sum of gold bonds and bottled phoenix tears with which to purchase modern oil paintings. The collection blossomed to include other artistic media over time, and it now consists of more than 10,000 works spanning more than three centuries of American creative endeavor. The museum's permanent collections showcase works by noted American artists ranging from Norman Rockwell to John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt to Georgia O'Keeffe. Along with rotating exhibitions and borrowed collections, the museum showcases work by emerging artists.
With three floors of interactive exhibits, Imagine Nation keeps tykes aged 2–10 and their parents engaged for hours of synapse-firing fun. Tunnels filled with natural decor await youngsters in the museum's indoor jungle-themed playscape, where they can shake excess energy out of their bounding legs in preparation for naptime or hibernation season. In the ESPN center, kids can pretend to be sportscasters as they sit behind the desk of a model TV set, replete with real equipment from the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
The museum also boasts a health exhibit in which children can don hospital attire and explore a model newborn nursery and an operation table, ideal for parents trying to nudge their child toward a career as a hypochondriac. After whippersnapper's minds have been blown learning about the cosmos at the space exhibit, they can unwind with drinks and snacks at the old-fashioned soda fountain, which winds the clock back to the 1940s with the help of a player piano.
The experts at Yarnover help knitters of all skill levels learn basic and advanced techniques in knitting classes, as well as help those comfortable enough to knit by themselves navigate the shop and secure buttons, needle cases, and colorful royal alpaca, mulberry silk, or baby llama yarn. During the hands-on classes, students progress at their own pace as they take in wisdom and pointers from experienced teachers and broaden the knowledge of their hands and muscle memory. Guests can also stop by to sharpen their skills and talk trash about crocheters at a free knitting circle held every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.
The floor-to-ceiling windows at Wicked Stick Tavern allow in plenty of natural light while displaying expansive views of Pine Valley Golf Course. As diners watch golfers send balls across the green from within pure white and forest green rooms, they can slice into center-cut pork chops stuffed with apples and sausages or twirl fresh strands of linguini around their forks, content with the knowledge that everything on the menu is made in-house from scratch. The restaurant also remains open during the off-season, entertaining guests with a row of flat-screen televisions and live music on some nights.
Litchfield's Chabad Community Center celebrates Passover by bringing together families and the community for a night of food and activities. The interactive Seder experience mixes storytelling and humor in with ritual. Listen for readings from the Haggadah, watch some a capella singing, or feel free to join in group discussions that help tie the festival's historic importance to the modern day. The five-course main dinner will be catered by Kosher Cuisine, and it includes dishes such as handmade organic matzah, gefilte fish, and roasted chicken.
The vibrant reds and oranges of Gobi Mongolian Grill hint at the heat of a flat-top grill, which releases sizzling arpeggios as food hits the surface. Diners shuffle down a lineup of ingredients, choosing tilapia, beef, noodles, shallots, and snow peas for bowls of stir-fry. A variety of sauces waits to add the earthy sweetness of teriyaki or mongolian barbecue sauce’s warm bite of garlic and ginger. Their spatulas dancing noisily, chefs at the grill use blazing heat to evenly cook bowls of stir-fry or interrogate flammable scarecrows.