Last weekend I attended the first ever "Gilmore Girls Fan Fest" in Washington Depot, CT. This might seem like a random place for a TV festival but Washington Depot and the surrounding areas actually have a special place in "Gilmore Girls" lore. The show's creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino has said that the area served as her inspiration for the show, and Stars Hollow.
Sherman-Palladino has explained, “I went on vacation to Connecticut because I wanted to see Mark Twain’s house. I stayed at an inn, and it was very charming, in a tiny town, and everybody seemed to know each other, and there was a pumpkin patch across the street.”
Even though the festival has ended, "Gilmore Girls" fans can still visit the real life places that helped ASP create their favorite fictional town. Here are five of my favorite places from my visit to Washington Depot.
Mayflower Grace, 118 Woodbury Rd, Washington
The Mayflower Grace was the inn where Sherman-Palladino stayed during her time in Connecticut and the place that ultimately inspired her to make Lorelai an inn owner. It's not the Dragon Fly, but it is pretty idyllic with a 3,000-acre nature preserve, a New England spa and delicious seasonal menus served in its award-winning restaurant.
Hickory Stick Bookshop, 2 Green Hill Rd, Washington Depot
The main difference between Stars Hollow Books and the Hickory Stick Bookshop is that you won't find Rory browsing the shelves for her next book selection. But, you will find a large selection of best sellers, new releases and books by local authors.
Dawn Hill Antiques, 11 Main St, New Preston
The closest place to Kim's Antiques in real life might be Dawn Hill Antiques. Like Kim's, the store is family-owned and very intimidating, but not because you might get chased out by Mrs. Kim, because of the swanky Swedish painted furniture and the 18th- and 19th-century clocks that are are store's specialty.
Washington Food Market, 5 Bryan Hall Plaza, Washington Depot
The first thing I thought when I walked into the Washington Food Market was that it was the real life Doose's! I could almost see Dean stocking the shelves and hear Taylor barking orders.
It's easy to see how this small town store inspired Amy to make Doose's Market one of the cornerstones of Stars Hollow.
Pavilion Hall, New Preston
A major highlight of the fan festival was a special appearance by Miss Patty herself, Liz Torres, at Pavilion Hall. Torres presented a special dance recital by local girls and even got up on stage herself to show off her own moves, just like she would at Miss Patty's School of Ballet on the show. The Pavilion is a must-see when passing through nearby New Preston.
Still need more "Gilmore Girls" to hold you over until November 25 when the show returns? Check out the new trailer for the upcoming episodes on YouTube.