I’ve heard that the Rat Pack used to stay in Ridgefield. Is this true?
Why, yes, it is true. In the late 1950s and into the ’60s, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, and others, also known as the “Rat Pack,” would escape to a converted barn on New Road, just off Route 7.
The barn, originally owned by Jane Trahey, was set on 13 acres of wooded land, much of which has since been sold off. Trahey once wrote of the barn in House Beautiful: “Five people can weekend here, and you really don’t have to see them till cocktail time.”
Of course, these particular five fun-loving celebrities cherished their cocktail time—having been dubbed Rat Pack because of their late-night carousing together. The barn was later passed on to Maria Pucci and Betty Lee Hunt who hosted celebrity guests such as Lauren Bacall, a lady of the “Rat Pack,” in addition to Sal Mineo, Eddie Fisher, John Travolta, and others. Carol Ancona of Ancona’s Wines & Liquors says: “The Rat Pack came often because Ridgefield was a great escape from their hectic urban lifestyles.”
When not at the barn, these film and stage stars hung out at the Stonehenge Inn & Restaurant, just a few hundred yards from the barn. In fact in 1957, Elizabeth Taylor honeymooned with one of her seven husbands, Mike Todd, at Stonehenge. Eddie Fisher, who stayed at the New Road barn, was the best man in Taylor and Todd’s wedding and coincidentally was Taylor’s next husband after Todd’s untimely death in a plane crash.