There are a lot of small towns in Connecticut that get a lot of attention and rightfully so. Essex, Mystic, Chester, and Kent, just to name a few. One town that is a bit under the radar but is beloved by those who know of it is Collinsville. Located in the Farmington River Valley along the Farmington River the town is everything you could want in a classic New England town.
There are shops, restaurants, antiques, and a gorgeous walking/biking path all situated along the Farmington River.
On a recent sunny Saturday in late March, we visited Collinsville and immersed ourselves in the full experience as we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon in the early spring sunshine.
There are a number of ways that visitors travel into Collinsville. In fact, it often feels like arriving by car is the least popular way. The Farmington River Trail runs right through the center of town and anytime you visit Collinsville during the warm weather months you will see almost as many bikes as people. Even more, visitors arrive by foot, parking at one of the lots along the scenic Route 4 and making their way into town.
Traveling into town by bike is something that we have done on many occasions, however this time with a new puppy in tow we opted to drive into the center of town to park. Despite the large crowds finding a parking spot was no problem.
Once we arrived the first activity on the agenda was a stroll along the Farmington River Trail. As we meandered along bikes rolled by and joggers zipped past. We watched the river gently move downstream as ducks swam along the water and occasionally dove for food. For those who love to watch water animals plan a walk in the early morning or late evening. Also, make sure you explore both sides of the trail. By following the trail that heads away from town you will be rewarded with sweeping views of the Farmington River. While following the trail that goes through the center of town you will cross the Farmington River Bridge. Make sure you stop a moment to admire the views of the valley far below on each side of the bridge, you might just catch a glimpse of a fly fisher in the waters below. Just be sure to watch out for the bikes whisking by.
If you are looking for other ways to enjoy the water stop by Collinsville Canoe & Kayak and spend some time paddling down the river. The staff will launch you right out into a calm part of the river that is perfect for everyone from the most experienced to the inexperienced family.
While in town there are plenty of places to explore. After your walk or bike ride stop for a bite to eat at LaSalle Market & Deli. They are known for their pizza and sandwiches. Lines can be long on the weekends but it is worth the wait. If you are looking for more of a sit-down meal then Lisa’s Crown & Hammer and their pub fair is your pick. Visitors to town also enjoy stopping by the old train depot for a pint while they enjoy the sights and sounds of town. Again expect to wait a bit for a table during peak times.
After a bite to eat explore the shops around town. Collinsville is known for its antiques and you could lose yourself for hours in Antiques on the Farmington. Spend some time exploring the shelves, you never know what you might find.
Other shopping options include Blumen Laden and America the Beautiful Country Store where you can find solid wood furniture, one-of-a-kind gifts, and unique décor.
When your done exploring the store escape to the back where you will find delicious locally made ice cream from Canton Creamery among many other local treats. Our personal favorite is Avery’s Soda, all the flavors are good but we are partial to the Birch Beer.
Collinsville is a treat unto itself. Despite the crowds visiting the town feels like you have escaped the hustle and bustle of everyday life and even if just for a few hours you are removed from it all. If you haven’t visited before add Collinsville to your list if you have visited before stop by again!
Featured image from the Visit Collinsville Facebook page