I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Collinsville is Connecticut’s hidden gem. When most people think of Connecticut they think of Stars Hollow, the fictional town from Gilmore Girls. Stars Hollow is based on Washington Depot (another great CT town), but there is just something so magical about Collinsville. They have LaSalle’s Deli that hosts open mic nights every Friday and serves AMAZING food. The train tracks that run through town have been turned into a handicap accessible walking trail that includes a bridge over the Farmington River. There are multiple yoga studios in the coolest converted buildings you’ve ever seen. You can even visit The Underground Art Studio that is, you guessed it, underground. Most importantly, Collinsville frequently holds the most unique and community cultivating events.
This past weekend my friend Gina and I took part in The Champagne Walk. For several hours Friday evening, local merchants in downtown stayed open late to serve champagne and welcome visitors into their spaces. It truly was a great excuse to see some of the businesses I wouldn’t normally frequent, but have been wanting to explore the insides of. That sentence came off a little weird, so I should explain that there are many insurance brokers and similar businesses that occupy older colonial homes that I walk by and have always wanted to explore because I am nosy.
Since I got there a little early I explored the Canton Historical Museum to see their Festival of Trees. The entire building was filled with Christmas trees donated by local businesses that the museum will eventually raffle off. I put all my tickets into the drawing for the cutest green, rustic ladder decorated with garland, vintage ornaments, and topped with a lantern. Please let me win! The second floor of the museum holds an incredible toy train exhibit that is a replica of what Collinsville looked like before the great flood of ’55. I like a lot of weird things, but I never expected to spend so much time photographing and admiring a toy train exhibit. Also, they were one of the only places open and not pouring alcohol. This wasn’t a big deal to me as I’m history buff, but several soccer moms took offense and implored me at the front doors to be careful when I went in as their was no alcohol. Luckily for me I survived and enjoyed the exhibits stone sober.
The rest of our night included a lot of champagne and a lot of talking. Another fun, and true, stereotype about New Englanders is that we love to talk and are incredibly friendly. I smile at everyone and will go out of my way to be nice, but small talk is where I normally draw the line. However, you get a few sips of champagne in me and it was like I was running for mayor in a town I don’t even live in. This did lead to a few tours of old buildings and insight into upcoming business ideas for downtown, so no complaints. We ended our night shutting down 41 Bridge Street, a restaurant/bar with live music and stand-up comedy. I had never been inside before but instantly fell in love with their gorgeous Art Deco interior. The Gilded Age is my least favorite era of American history, so boring, but apparently I dig the Gatsby-esque vibes.
In conclusion, 10/10 champagne glasses. Would do this even again in a heart beat and hope it becomes a holiday tradition. If event’s like this interest you Collinsville also has an upcoming Sip and Shop happening this Friday!