Ed and Stephanie Raftery, founders of TrailHeads, donate 3% of their annual sales to charities including Guiding Eyes for the Blind after Ed was diagnosed with macular degeneration and declared legally blind. Instead of shelving his passion for athletics and the outdoors, Ed continues growing his sporting-apparel business with his wife, a clothing designer, running marathons, and even cycling. The tandem's inventive selection of headwear, gloves, and accessories was designed specifically for outdoor athletes. Headbands and hats have carefully placed openings to let ponytails swing about freely, and outdoorspeople can don gloves with small pockets to conveniently store keys, money, or minnows—but not trout.
More than 13,000 grapevines coil along fences at Sunset Meadow Vineyards, spanning more than 50 acres of rolling fields atop Litchfield Hills. The vineyard's keepers prune those vines by hand, harvesting grapes to make award-winning wines such as a chardonnay that took home a gold medal in 2012's International Eastern Wine Competition. Visitors can drop by to sample pours paired with cheese, smoked meats, and chocolate, or attend one of the vineyard's many events, such as the annual Harvest Festival. While the vineyard does not allow outside beverages, it does welcome outside snacks to complement purchases of its wines, and picnickers will be happy to discover that the breathtaking hillsides face west, giving a clear view of the sunset as well as the cowboys who ride off into it.
Two hundred exhibitors pack Harwinton Fairgrounds' indoor and outdoor facilities with vintage wares and inspiration-sparking interior-design ideas. Elegant vintage clothing, delicate jewelry, and striking accessories imbue ensembles with flourishes. Antique peddlers also roll out a substantial cache of home-enhancing folk art, furniture, and décor that recalls bygone eras, such as the Roaring '20s, when nearly every American household owned a lion.
In the late 1930s, two journalists from New York traveled to Litchfield, Connecticut, in search of a quiet vacation home where they could both focus on their writing. After transforming a small barn into their living space, however, William Harris and Jane Grant found themselves distracted from work by the surrounding countryside's rich foliage. They soon decided to devote themselves to horticulture, first in their own garden and later in the nursery that would become White Flower Farm. The couple's inquisitive and intelligent approach to gardening led them to seek out and educate themselves on new plant species, original design ideas, and modernized practices. As the couple developed a strong, local following of passionate horticulturists, their nursery business thrived, passing into the hands of the current owner, Eliot Wadsworth, in 1976.
Although its current staff nears 100 people, White Flower Farm still strives to maintain a personal touch with thoughtful customer service and the use of hands-on growing techniques. Five hundred varieties of plants grow in its 32 greenhouses under horticulturalists' constant care, and plants are packed carefully before they're shipped year-round to gardens across the country.