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Living in History

A very old house with a very new spirit



By Tim Lee

Owning the oldest house in Litchfield is both a privilege and a major commitment. Bruce Schnitzer and Alexandra Champalimaud live in the house built by Oliver Wolcott in 1754. Wolcott was one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence, the first governor of Connecticut, and yes, one evening in 1781, George Washington was his houseguest.

Schnitzer, a Texan by birth, and his first wife discovered Litchfield 32 years ago. “The agent who showed us the house said that we were the first people to get past the kitchen—that’s how much work needed to be done,” says Schnitzer. “We were interested in history and historic houses and weren’t daunted by the restoration effort. But I can tell you it was more of a challenge than we bargained for.”

By the time Champalimaud came on the scene eight years later, Schnitzer was a single parent with two small children, and the living-room décor consisted of an oriental carpet and a pup tent. Champalimaud is an internationally celebrated interior designer, specializing in commercial spaces. For her, the challenge was to update and make the house livable for all concerned. “With a house like this, heritage is more important than decoration. This was not a place on which to put a big ego stamp. It’s not about ripping everything out; it’s about quietly fitting new pieces in,” Champalimaud says.

The rooms speak for themselves. The paints used have been mixed according to the original formulas. Period pieces share space with comfortable upholstered chairs that evoke the warmth and coziness of the original rooms. Oliver Wolcott was well traveled and the house reflects the European tastes he developed. The 1754 Colonial was upgraded to Federal style, but by the 1790s the house had been “tarted” up a bit.

One disadvantage to having a house on the main thoroughfare is that it is close to the road and invites passersby to stop and stare. “I have a particular aversion to a real hedge. It just seems unfriendly and not in keeping with the history of the house. So, over time, we moved mature shrubs from the back to the front. The desired result is to still allow views of the house from the sidewalk, while providing a reasonable degree of privacy,” Schnitzer explains. Now, clusters of greenery or blossoms, depending on the season, escort visitors along the path leading to the red front door. Many of the original 15-acre plots along North and South Streets have been broken up, but Champalimaud and Schnitzer still maintain their house’s original acreage. It stretches out the back and includes a serene pool area, various walking paths and plantings, and a vegetable garden—all within walking distance of the village green.

Schnitzer and Champalimaud are actively involved in local conservation and preservation. As one of the founding members of the Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust, Schnitzer was instrumental in preserving the post-office building, as well as the agricultural building on the green that now houses Talbots. Champalimaud and Schnitzer have also purchased and restored the West Street Yard, a series of commercial buildings on Route 202. One building houses Charym, a wellness-and-spa–integrated health center that Champalimaud created and about which she is passionate. “Charym means beauty in Bhutanese,” she explains. “As I was spending more time in Litchfield, I envisioned a place that could offer an entire lifestyle regimen. We offer yoga and Pilates classes, fitness, body work, and skin care. It’s all about beauty based on a more holistic philosophy. We want to add nutrition, special cooking classes, a detox program—and to respond to the community’s needs.”

Since they love to entertain, the South Street house is invariably filled with family and friends whenever Schnitzer and Champalimaud are in residence. “Bruce’s daughters grew up in this house and, of course, it is very special to them. His daughter Annabel recently had her wedding reception on the property. My sons were young teenagers when they came here and have now made it part of their lives as well. All the children have come to love this house for its history, and respect Litchfield and they are here to stay,” Champalimaud says. The couple appreciates the quiet and solitude to be found in Litchfield. “I love walking over mountains and valleys with my dogs, while Bruce tends to end up in the garden.”

Schnitzer feels they have been blessed with this piece of history and he and Champalimaud hope it will always be preserved as such. “At the moment, the children want to carry on the tradition and maintain what we have put together,” he says. “It’s important that these significant Litchfield houses are kept in good hands

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August 2018

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer! How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Meet the CT Clay Artists at a wine and cheese reception, Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 5-8PM.  This unique gallery exhibition includes a display of diverse ceramic art, as well as other...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
11 Railroad St.
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
Telephone: 860-355-6009
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

 Little Free Library at StoneHill, an official partner with the global sensation nonprofit that has registered more than 75,000 lending books boxes, is offering a week-long summer camp called...

Cost: $200

Where:
Community Center
23 South Street
Just off the Litchfield Green
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Little Free Library at StoneHill
Telephone: 203-770-4156
Contact Name: Rose Buckens
Website »

More information

The United States is a melting pot of various cuisines from Around the World. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample and enjoy foods from around the world by visiting area...

Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer! How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The United States is a melting pot of various cuisines from Around the World. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample and enjoy foods from around the world by visiting area...

Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

In 1837, eighteen year old Victoria ascended the British throne, untrained and innocent. Those who would try to usurp her power underestimated this self-willed intelligent young woman whose...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06579
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer! How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is soaking up the last of summer with a week of FREE afternoon crafts and games for families at the Tapping Reeve Meadow. Starting...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
82 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The United States is a melting pot of various cuisines from Around the World. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample and enjoy foods from around the world by visiting area...

Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer! How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is soaking up the last of summer with a week of FREE afternoon crafts and games for families at the Tapping Reeve Meadow. Starting...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
82 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KentPresents 2018 ideas festival, August 16-18. Meet and mingle with diplomats, artists, scientists, authors...leaders in every field. Experience it all in the intimate and bucolic...

Cost: $2,500

Where:
Kent School
1 Macedonia Road
Kent, CT   06757
View map »


Website »

More information

The United States is a melting pot of various cuisines from Around the World. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample and enjoy foods from around the world by visiting area...

Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Steep Rock’s Association’s Judea Garden presents, as part of a series of events celebrating the Garden’s 10th season of growing and giving, Summer Garden Abundance:  What to...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Telephone: 186-086-87586
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Meet the CT Clay Artists at a wine and cheese reception, Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 5-8PM.  This unique gallery exhibition includes a display of diverse ceramic art, as well as other...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
11 Railroad St.
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
Telephone: 860-355-6009
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is soaking up the last of summer with a week of FREE afternoon crafts and games for families at the Tapping Reeve Meadow. Starting...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
82 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KentPresents 2018 ideas festival, August 16-18. Meet and mingle with diplomats, artists, scientists, authors...leaders in every field. Experience it all in the intimate and bucolic...

Cost: $2,500

Where:
Kent School
1 Macedonia Road
Kent, CT   06757
View map »


Website »

More information

The United States is a melting pot of various cuisines from Around the World. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sample and enjoy foods from around the world by visiting area...

Cost: $250

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Light hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary glass of wine will be served. Music will be provided by Western Lands Trio. Please mark your calendar to come enjoy a social evening and support land...

Cost: $45

Where:
Sunset Meadow Vineyards
599 Old Middle St
Goshen, CT
View map »


Telephone: (860) 201-4654
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

The internationally renowned Slam Allen is a messenger of love. This dynamic entertainer uses the genres of Blues, Soul, R&B, and a touch of Rock and Roll to deliver powerful soul stirring...

Cost: $30

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Are you just dying to get some dirt under your fingernails this season? Come to Back 40 Farm for Friday Field Days and help us out with weeding, transplanting, hoeing, harvesting, and more! Who:...

Where:
Back 40 Farm
Washington Depot, CT


Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Meet the CT Clay Artists at a wine and cheese reception, Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 5-8PM.  This unique gallery exhibition includes a display of diverse ceramic art, as well as other...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
11 Railroad St.
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
Telephone: 860-355-6009
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is soaking up the last of summer with a week of FREE afternoon crafts and games for families at the Tapping Reeve Meadow. Starting...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Tapping Reeve Meadow
82 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KentPresents 2018 ideas festival, August 16-18. Meet and mingle with diplomats, artists, scientists, authors...leaders in every field. Experience it all in the intimate and bucolic...

Cost: $2,500

Where:
Kent School
1 Macedonia Road
Kent, CT   06757
View map »


Website »

More information

Join the Litchfield Historical Society for Saturday morning walking tours exploring new themes and areas of the town. Walking tours last about an hour, be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring a...

Cost: Free for members; $5 for non-members

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Litchfield Historical Society
Website »

More information

Saturday, August 18 •  4:00PM •  Music Shed With a first-rate choir and ensemble, coupled with Simon Carrington’s remarkable programming, this concert has always...

Cost: Tickets: $60 – $20, $10 (Young Adults 18-25), and Kids under 18 Free!

Where:
Norfolk Chamber Music Festival
Ellen Battell Stoeckel Estate, 20 Litchfield Road
Norfolk, CT  06058
View map »


Telephone: 860-542-3000
Website »

More information

Summer Concert Series Package includes 4 concerts that will be shown all at Hunt Hill Farm. All concerts start at 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM on the dates below with artist information. For more...

Cost: $100

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farn
Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Opening Reception: August 11, 4-6pm. This event is free and open to the public. MAQUETTE: The Art of the Model is an exhibition of maquettes or models by many of the sculptors currently...

Where:
Washington Art Association
Gallery 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza
Washington Depot, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Washington Photographer Philip Dutton’s dramatic photos document The Chief Bigfoot Memorial Ride of 1990, a momentous event that helped commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Massacre at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 186-086-87586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Jennifer paints with vibrant hues in multiple layers, capturing her exuberance and fascination with color and texture. She has developed her own style through many years of experimentation,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

The Farm-Fresh Market was created in 2007 with 15 local vendors, and has grown over the years to become a staple of the Litchfield Hills community throughout all seasons. We were so proud to be...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Center School Parking Lot
Woodruff Lane
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Telephone: 860-567-3871
Website »

More information

Meet the CT Clay Artists at a wine and cheese reception, Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 5-8PM.  This unique gallery exhibition includes a display of diverse ceramic art, as well as other...

Cost: Admission Free

Where:
Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
11 Railroad St.
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Gallery 25 at New Milford Art Depot
Telephone: 860-355-6009
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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