Little Black Book

Retail Therapy Awaits in Small-Town Connecticut

by Michael DePerno and Andrew Fry
Plain A look inside Plain Goods. All photos by Michael DePerno and Andrew Fry.

When designers Michael DePerno and Andrew Fry left NYC and Northern California to open their chic lifestyle shop Plain Goods in New Preston, Connecticut, they knew what they were doing. The quaint New England town is a dream for designers and shoppers. Bring a van if you drive out to this small town in northwestern Connecticut. You might end up redecorating after hitting their favorite spots.

NEW PRESTON, Connecticut – The northwest corner of Connecticut is known for its rich history and natural beauty — rolling hills, rivers and lakes, and some of the best preserved homes and structures in the country. When friends visit from far and wide, they are often impressed by the gentle, relaxed nature of the region, which is one of many reasons we choose to call it home. Along with its proximity to New York City, we were drawn to the area because we wanted to live in an antique home, which was a great contrast to Michael's former mid-century modern home in Northern California.

When we decided to open our shop , we found a sweet old cottage in the village of New Preston in need of some TLC. It sits on East Aspetuck River and New Preston Falls and couldn't be a lovelier setting. We opened this past November just around the corner from Main Street, a bit off the beaten path — just how we like it.

The many inspiring shops, gardens, and architecture — all of which weigh heavily in our work — make New Preston a designer's — and a shopper's! — dream. These are our favorite spots.


Cutting Boards, New Preston, Connecticut

Vintage cutting boards at Privet House. Photo courtesy of Privet House.

OUR FAVORITE SHOPS


7 East Shore Rd.; +1-860-868-4769
A thoughtfully curated shop with interesting Japanese furnishings. Owners David Whitman and Peter Stiglin are the masters at bringing the indoors and outdoors together. We recently purchased a beautiful, vintage Japanese plaid pillow for one of our design projects.

1 New Preston Hill Rd.; +1-860-868-0280
Of course this is one of our favorites! We carry a mix of clothing, textiles, pantry items, shoes, leather goods, apothecary items, antiques, and vintage pieces with a natural, unadorned refinement.

13 East Shore Rd.; +1-860-868-1800
Situated in a wonderful antique two-story building, Suzanne Cassano and Richard Lambertson have created a true shopping experience. Their expertly curated collection of all things home and beauty is so appealing. We love their Santa Maria Novella products and always find something new at their revolving pop-up shop next door.

Pergola, New Preston, Connecticut

The indoors and the outdoors in harmony at Pergola.

DK Schulman, New Preston, Connecticut

Hand-printed papers at DK Schulman.

11 Main St.; +1-860-868-0066
One of the best collections of period Swedish painted furniture we've seen. The upper level of shops range from antique carpets to vintage rattan furniture.


11 East Shore Rd.; +1-860-868-1264
A go-to for anything kitchen. We love their hand-dipped candles in a rainbow of colors and owner Marty Rook's thoughtfully selected cookbooks.


15 East Shore Rd.; +1-860-868-4300
The upstairs of this shop has a wall of wonderfully colored bulk stationery, bolts of ribbons, and exquisite handmade papers.

18 East Shore Rd.; +1-860-619-0555
An intimate space where Sal gives great haircuts and carries the full line of Aveda products.

9 East Shore Rd.; +1-860-868-0119
A shop chock-full of clothing and home furnishings. The pioneers of New Preston Village, the Seitz's have a little something for everyone. We are especially fond of their Hartford cotton shirts.


Sweets, New Preston, Connecticut

The colorful offerings at Sweeets.

Nine Main Cafe, New Preston, Connecticut

Nine Main Bakery.

OUR FAVORITE MEALS AND MARKETS

10 Main St.; +1-860-868-9003
A sweet little market in a barn-like structure with a great selection of local lettuces, fresh picked vegetables, and cheeses. The chicken pot pie is especially tasty, and comes in two sizes.

9 Main St.; +1-860-868-1879
The incredible whole-wheat scones are reason enough to come, but so are the Waramaug sandwich and the out-of-this-world blueberry waffles they make from scratch on weekends.

13 East Shore Rd.; +1-860-868-3388
Jars and jars of candies abound, old-school treats like Necco Wafers and the best malted milk eggs, personal favorites.

258 New Milford Turnpike; +1-860-868-1496
A wonderful place for shepherd's pie and a beer with outdoor seating on the Aspetuck River.

Lake Waramaug, New Preston, Connecticut

An afternoon scene on Lake Waramaug.

Street Scene, New Preston, Connecticut

The sweetest ride around: A vintage car for an antique town.

THE NATURE HIGHLIGHT


Named after Chief Waramaug of the Potatuck Native American Tribe, the lake is one of the crowning glories of the area. Biking by the pristine waters is great exercise and we like taking out our canoe and kayaks. It's one the the best places in the summer for swimming and recreation.

And when you're here, spend a few hours in Washington, our charming hometown nearby.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

New Preston is about two hours from New York City. The easiest way to get here is by car, though there are Metro North trains that stop at the Harlem Valley Wingdale station. From there, it's a 35-minute drive into town.


BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE

U.S. Road Trips: The Northeast
What to Do on Your Day Off: Connecticut
The Design Duo's Favorites in Washington, Connecticut

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