Kent, Connecticut, has long been a refuge for Manhattan fashion designers and writers looking for elbowroom. Now the Litchfield County town is also becoming a stop on the East Coast shopping circuit. Four of the local favorites:For Style-Setters At B. Johnstone & Co. (25 N. Main St.; 860/927-1272), each item—reasonably priced suede jackets, Art Deco sconces, hand-knit baby clothes—is carefully selected by owner Bartley Johnstone.
For Adventurers Backcountry Outfitters (8 Old Barn Rd.; 860/927-3377) gives L.L. Bean a run for its money with top-of-the-line canoes, snowshoes, and hiking maps to the nearby Appalachian Trail.
For Sweet Tooths Pick up a box of dainty confections, a fruit tart, or a flourless cake from Belgique Pâtisserie & Chocolatier (1 Bridge St.; 860/927-3681), which is opening an adjoining tearoom this fall.
For Oenophiles At Kent Wine & Spirit (24 N. Main St.; 860/927-3033), the loquacious owner, Ira Smith, can recommend wines from 23 countries—as well as the best spot around for a quiet picnic.—Heidi Sherman Mitchell