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Weekender: The Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

Antiques Alley

Every town in the Litchfield Hills has its share of antiques shops, but Woodbury is the undisputed queen. Many of the stores are unusually attractive—local zoning allows houses to be used for commercial purposes, inspiring dealers to set up shop in their fine 17th- 18th-century abodes on Main Street.

The prize for setting goes to Mill House Antiques (1068 Main St. N.; 203/263-3446), a 17th-century former gristmill on the Nonnewaug River. Its vast selection of English and French furniture from the 1700's and 1800's, both formal and country, is rounded out by custom-made dining tables and chairs.

G. Sergeant Antiques (88 Main St. N.; 203/266-4177) sells distinctive furniture and accessories from fine estates. Its customers include interior designers and museum curators as well as private collectors, who come here to browse for everything from Continental sconces to Early American sideboards.

At Grass Roots Antiques (12 Main St. N.; 203/263-3983), a multi-dealer shop, you'll find Continental items, most of them dating from the 1800's. On a recent visit, the space overflowed with outdoor furniture, estate jewelry, books, bamboo shelves, and decoys. Across a courtyard is their consignment warehouse, Rerun, with an ever-changing array of well-priced bric-a-brac.

Wayne Pratt Antiques (346 Main St. S.; 203/263-5676) is nationally known as an authority on New England high-style furniture. The recent gallery addition to his house could easily be a small museum of rare 18th- and early-19th-century American pieces. The shop also carries Windsor chairs, Colonial portraits, painted country furniture, folk art, and a few tasteful reproductions.

The offerings are stylish at Eleish-Van Breems Antiques (487 Main St. S.; 203/263-7030), which specializes in Scandinavian and northern European furniture and accessories from the 18th and 19th centuries. Displays are organized thematically to mimic the rooms of a house: there's an inviting kitchen with crockery, and a sunroom overflowing with rugs and pieces in the Gustavian mode, an early Swedish style characterized by naturalistic carvings.

Country Loft Antiques (557 Main St. S.; 203/266-4500) will please lovers of French antiques. The multi-level converted barn and silo—situated on 19 acres of rolling green—is filled to bursting with 200-year-old tables and chairs, faïence, kitchenware, and decorative accessories.

A couple of notable dealers can be found in other towns. Joseph Stannard Antiques (Station Place, Norfolk; 860/542-5212) is an outstanding source for French antiques and beautifully woven Oriental rugs. And Michael D. Trapp Antiques (7 River Rd., West Cornwall; 860/672-6098) is respected for his great taste and his stock of 17th- and 18th-century European furnishings, with a special emphasis on architectural artifacts and garden furniture.

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