The Colors Of Fall Brighten Up Litchfield County
The rolling hills of Litchfield County are packed with tourists on fall weekends. Some business owners say this year has been one of the best in recent memory.
"Business has been fantastic. It's beautiful out there," said Russell Sawicki, owner of Cornwall's Wandering Moose Cafe. "We're right next to the Housatonic River with the covered bridge. It's just fantastic."
His business, adjacent to the bridge, was crowded with people from across the country Tuesday afternoon. One couple from Dallas, Texas brought their friends from Lubbock to New England this year to see the fall colors.
"We only have green and brown leaves," Cheryl Fox said.
Fox was last in New England to see the foliage four years ago but said this trip has been so great she plans on returning.
Other establishments are seeing an increase business, including the recently renovated Litchfield Inn.
"This year has been an awesome year compared to last year," said Kathleen Waldman, general manager at the Litchfield Inn.
The inn has had no vacancies for months, according to Waldman.
Visitors at inns like the one in Litchfield spend their money across the county, including at vineyards like Haight-Brown.
"I think if anything else it's going to be one of the best year's for turnout," said Haight-Brown co-owner Jacques Muratori. "The weather's been great. We can't complain about that."
The leaves turned about one to two weeks faster than they did last year which is just about normal. Tourism is a more than 9 billion dollar industry in Connecticut and for business owners in the hills this season is their most critical.
"This gets us right through the winter," Sawicki said. "If it's a bad foliage season it's a struggle through the winter."