Lake Waramaug

d2f3ce8411b9336e91b3228ef7534465Speak of Bordeaux, Napa or Tuscany, and wine comes straight to mind. Yet, Connecticut doesn’t typically conjure those same images. It’s that very unexpected quality that makes a visit along the Connecticut Wine Trail such a treat. Tiny little towns spill around lakes and sweeping hills. Vineyards and open pastures can make you believe you’ve taken a wrong turn off the Interstate and arrived somewhere in the middle of Europe. Tucked away in northwest Connecticut along sprawling back country roads is a scenic region known as Lake Waramaug. It boasts the only vineyard in Connecticut with a micro-climate influenced by an inland lake. The result is a longer growing season that yields robust grapes, able to weather the New England climate and deliver gorgeous varieties of wine.

Lake Waramaug is nestled in the town of Warren. It’s an area originally known for agriculture, iron ore industries and the Native Americans that settled the land. Nowadays, the agricultural remnants give way to areas of beautifully untouched landscapes and private homes with million-dollar lake views. Though vineyards and views tell a story of wealth, Lake Waramaug maintains an open and inviting atmosphere. Public parks, campgrounds and ongoing sporting events welcome visitors from around the world. Many organized running and biking events are held there throughout the year as well.

Hopkins-Inn-New-Preston-CTYou won’t find any major restaurant chains or shopping outlets here. Instead, the focus is on nature. It’s a great option if you want somewhere to camp, rent a kayak, explore a winery or enjoy a meal with a view. Check out ctvisit.com for more details.

Eat and Drink: At Hopkins Winery. They have an indoor bar and give seasonal wine tours. 22 Hopkins Road Warren, CT 06777 www.thehopkinsinn.com

Move: With the Bicycle Tour Company. They offer self-guided or guided tours around the lake and surrounding area. Visit www.bicycletours.com for more information.