“Life’s short. Talk fast.” (And day trip often!)
A little-known fact about The WB Television Network’s smash hit television series Gilmore Girls is that the setting was inspired by a real Connecticut town. The town of Washington is home to a plethora of adorable attractions, including the Mayflower Inn and Spa where the magic all started for Gilmore Girls creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino. Much like Sherman-Palladino, tourists from far and wide have sought out the magic of a quaint New England area and found what they were looking for in charming Washington, CT.
If you’re starting your journey from central Connecticut, make Marianna’s Belltop Bakery of Meriden your first stop. This locally owned bakery brings visitors from as far as Greece and Rome to try their famous cannoli. Fortunately for us locals, all we have to do is take a trip up the street.
Once in Litchfield County, take note of Arethusa Farm Dairy’s Bantam location, so you know where to stop on the way back for ice cream.
Once in Washington, your first stop should be The Hickory Stick Bookshop. Supporting this local business will not only result in a whirlwind getaway into a literary world of classics and new releases, but will also put you right in the center of Washington Depot, the true Gilmore Girls neighborhood. There’s even a local boutique, Five Janes, that features Gilmore Girls collector’s items. From “Stars Hollow” T-shirts to “Luke’s Diner” mugs, Five Janes is the must-stop shop.
Speaking of Luke’s Diner, Marty’s Cafe is the next best thing. If the weather allows, enjoy the outdoor dining experience on the patio—here you’ll be on the corner of Bee Brook and Green Hill Road where you can see the Gilmore Girls inspiration before your very eyes. With a view of Washington Town Hall and bustling shoppers keeping the streets lively, this captivating corner will have you feeling like a Gilmore.
For the non-Gilmore fans (if any exist), the list of activities in the area goes on and on. From the library to the museums, nature preserves to caves— who knew Washington was the place to be?
Whether you’re a fan of the girls, day-tripping, or cozy New England towns with a lot to offer, Washington, Connecticut is waiting to be discovered!
Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden-based journalist, educator, and creative. A graduate of both the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden writing about the city she loves. When she’s not helping out in the English department at Maloney High School, she’s either exploring the Eastern seaboard for her lifestyle blog (@east_side_vibes_ on Instagram) or working on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach . Email Francesca at firstname.lastname@example.org with tips on what you want to read about next, or just to say hi!