Most places in the Litchfield Hills are around 100 miles from New York City, and between 115-150 miles from Boston. Interstate 84, which enters the state at Danbury, runs northeast through Connecticut. A car is essential for exploring the region.
Bradley International Airport (www.bradleyairport.com), close to Hartford, is around an hour away from the Litchfield Hills region. It offers direct flights to most major US cities, as well as a non-stop route to Amsterdam.
Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) operates services from Poughkeepsie in upstate New York to other US cities. From here, take the Metro-North Railroad (www.mta.info), which connects to Bethel, Waterbury and Danbury.
US country code: +1. Litchfield Hills: 203 or 860.
Poet Mark Van Doren may have brought literary attention to the region with his 1939 poem 'The Hills of Little Cornwall', but Northwest Connecticut's best-known author is Pulitzer Prize-winning Philip Roth, many of whose novels are set in the area. The Ice Storm by Rick Moody takes place in nearby New Canaan, while contemporary ghost story The Night Country unfolds in Avon, just to the east of Litchfield County.
Do go / Don't Go
The obvious time to come to New England is during the Fall, when the trees form a palette of russets and golds that genuinely awes. The downside, though, is that this is when prices are highest, hotels are fully booked and all beauty spots throng with camera-toting 'leaf chasers'. Spring and summer are balmy and beautiful, while winter is the time to bring your skis.
Connecticut cuisine, like that of the rest of New England, is centred around the abundant seafood brought in from the coastal areas around the Long Island Sound. Even inland, you'll find plenty of clams, oysters, lobster and shad (river herring) on menus. Hasty pudding, a sturdy, polenta-like dish made from corn meal and water, dates from the early days of settlement, and is still eaten in rural parts of the region - particularly around Thanksgiving.
Taxis are more prevalent in the bigger towns - though they don't exactly fly past with New York-like regularity. If you're in the Morris area, call Berkshire Livery (1 860 567 8769) to order a cab.
If in doubt, tip. Pretty much everyone involved in Connecticut's service industry expects a gratuity. For good service, go for 15 to 20 per cent.
US dollar ($).
Bring plenty of outdoor clothing. That first inhalation of fresh Northwest Connecticut air is sure to bring out the pioneer spirit in you.
You can barely move for actors and writers up here, thanks to the Litchfield Hills' proximity to NYC - so the area's cultural scene punches far above its weight. Galleries, specialising in everything from sculpture to watercolour can be found in even the smallest towns, and theatres draw in an affluent, educated audience most nights. Take in a show at the splendid art deco Warner Theatre (www.warnertheatre.org) in Torrington.
It's all about antiques in this part of Connecticut - a part of the US where displaying one's heritage is a way of life. Woodbury (www.antiqueswoodbury.com) is known as 'the antiques capital of Connecticut'. For a guide to the region's hundreds of dealerships, visit www.litchfieldhills.com. For the best local products, head to the Connecticut Store on Bank Street in Waterbury.
Hike up 2,326 feet to the summit of Bear Mountain, Connecticut's highest peak, for beautiful panoramic views of three states. To get to the top, you must pass through atmospheric deer- and coyote-filled forests.
Get into the car, wind down the windows and drive the 56-mile North Litchfield Hills scenic drive. Take the car up through rural northwest Connecticut, heading west across rolling hills from Winsted before driving south along the state's border with New York. Pass through the Housatonic River valley, and finish at Canaan. You'll have passed through some of the most dramatic scenery in New England.
February The Eastern United States Ski Jumping Championships come to the slopes of Salisbury, along with all manner of winter sport-related festivities (www.swsa.info). June The Litchfield Hills Road Race, a seven-mile run through the town of Litchfield, forms the centrepiece for a day of celebration in which around 100 artists exhibit their work in the town's Gallery on the Green. June also sees the Taste of Litchfield Hills festival, which involves wine tasting, vineyard tours and local restaurants handing out samples. July/August The Goshen Country Fair (www.goshencountryfair.org) is an irresistible slice of Americana, combining displays of agricultural prowess with muffin stalls and pie-eating competitions. November-April The ski season comes to Northwest Connecticut, and Mohawk Mountain becomes all a-buzz with goggle-wearing swishers.