Accentuate the Positive

The editor of The Litchfield County Times, a 2010 SNA Newspaper of the Year, the national award-winning glossy magazine Passport and other publications, celebrates the best of what Northwest Connecticut and beyond has to offer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Appreciating Brookfield

On the northern edge of Fairfield County, Brookfield is a town in transition. It has long been impacted by commercial growth, a fact that gave it a reputation among non-residents as a hectic town defined by the retail/commercial hustle and flow of Federal Road. Not helping matters in the past was the traffic-choked Four Corners intersection, a test of will for drivers trying to move between New Milford and Litchfield County and Danbury and points south.

But Brookfield was always far more, and far better, than those issues and challenges. The Four Corners/Federal Road area is just one aspect of a much larger town---a community that counts Candlewood Lake among its scenic and lifestyle assets, and a community that is still rural and historic in many places. For most residents, the town presents the best of both worlds; quiet, wooded residential neighborhoods that are just minutes from a wealth of services and shopping.

I just returned from popping out to Brookfield from our office in New Milford, which is easier than ever since the completion of an extension of the so-called Super 7 highway, the state route that funnels traffic between I-84 and Route 7 on its way to/from New Milford. The extension brought the highway spur around the Four Corners area, where it now seamlessly flows back into the non-highway part of Route 7, which, in recent years, was widened to four lanes in both directions. Traveling in the area has never been easier.

The development has also created a major opportunity/challenge for Brookfield, which is to re-imagine the Four Corners area and coax into being a true town center that would be the locus of living in town. But there's no need to wait to discover what Brookfield has to offer.

Two of its amenities are especially worth mentioning at this time of year, the landmark Brookfield Craft Center and the incomparable Bridgewater Chocolate company, which began life in the basement of the Bridgewater Village Store and expanded into a factory/retail shop in Brookfield. Bridgewater Chocolate is premium and handmade, and its legions of admirers---both ordinary and lofty---include actress Gwyneth Paltrow. I stopped at the Bridgewater Chocolate shop for some stocking-stuffers and the place was humming with folks doing holiday shopping. To learn more, see the Web site: Meanwhile, here's a look at the gorgeous display area and something amazing made by Bridgewater Chocolate (in photos by Laurie Gaboardi), along with one of the seasonal offerings:

The other landmark that's perfect for discovering in the holiday season is the Brookfield Craft Center: After undergoing difficulties earlier this year, and actually closing for a period to deal with financial difficulties, the craft center is back with new energy and purpose. And right now its galleries are given over to the annual holiday exhibit and sale of very fine crafts. Here's a view of the sale, in a photo by Walter Kidd.

In addition to the unique and homegrown Bridgewater Chocolate and Brookfield Craft Center, the town, as mentioned, is a holiday shoppers' paradise full of brand name retail operations, which means the time to discover Brookfield, or visit once again, is now.


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Location: New Milford, CT, United States

Executive Editor of a national award-winning publishing group with newspapers and glossy magazines: The Litchfield County Times, LCT magazine, Passport magazine, Fairfield County Life, etc. Contact me at

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