As a boy, Manny Miranda participated in father-son bonding activities that were a lot cooler than catch. He worked alongside his father and grandfather at their family's winery in Portugal, where he busied himself each Autumn crushing and pressing the grapes, then preparing and casking the juices that would transform into wine.
As an adult, he hoped to recreate the verdant hills of Portugal in the states. That dream led to Miranda Vineyard, where Manny worked with his own sons to perfect the old-world techniques he remembered from his childhood. The vineyard is now the birthplace of hand-crafted and complex wines, from the bright, summery ros? to the lush, full-bodied farmhouse wine. What's more, every single varietal in the Miranda Vineyard family boasts at least one award, and many can lay claim to three or more.
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.
The town of Kent, about 1 mile away from Club Getaway, charms visitors with its small-town atmosphere and eclectic attractions. Pedestrians saunter alongside rustic wooden storefronts, passing a diverse collection of local cafés and shops. Kent’s many galleries host frequent exhibitions with handmade pieces lining walls and shelves, a reflection of the town’s longstanding appreciation for the arts. Club Getaway’s foliage-filled landscape extends beyond its borders into other nearby parks. A stately string of waterfalls glide down 250 feet of limestone hills at Kent Falls State Park, about a 10-minute drive from Club Getaway. A designated trout park, Kent Falls also provides hikers with a steep, quarter-mile journey next to the tumbling water. Other parks in close proximity host campgrounds, picnic areas, and swimming sites.
Since opening in 1975, Haight-Brown Vineyard has churned out 2,000 cases of grape-based libations each year from its nearly 10-acre vineyard and welcomed visitors into its rustic, cottage-like wine house. Emphasizing vinifera and French hybrid grapes, the state?s first-established winery creates a selection of wines that include the Big Red, a bold syrah; the Morning Harvest, a rich malbec; and Honey Nut Apple, a traditional apple wine that incorporates local honey and cinnamon. Vintners share their time-tested expertise during regular classes that teach aspiring oenophiles about a variety of vintages and techniques for cheese and chocolate pairing. Amid the tasting room?s wood accents and crackling stone fireplace, customers sample vintages and attempt to describe taste sensations with adjectives such as ?silky? or ?very different from milk.?
Each ingredient that sits in the kitchen at Maciavelli's Italian Restaurant was personally approved by the head chef. A keen eye keeps only the freshest options on hand, such as the broccoli that tops the veggie special pizza and the ricotta cheese stuffed inside the baked shells platter. The chefs also cook trays of bake ziti, veal cutlets, and stuffed mushrooms for birthdays, graduation parties, and couples massages.
For a half century, the Fascia family tree has been made of solid chocolate. John and Helen Fascia first began making the treats in 1964, with their three daughters helping out in the family's kitchen. Eventually, the business grew out of the house and today the Fascia's chocolates can be found throughout Connecticut and at their central Waterbury factory. The family still leads the team and continues to make small batches of hand-crafted chocolates as well as other treats?including authentic gelato made on-site.