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RI Archives: Rural Road Trips

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Sidewalk Sale (And a History Lesson) in Kent, CT

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Kent is one of the great strolling towns in our region. It has art galleries with integrity, bookstores for real readers, cafes, a few well-curated antiques shop, several housewares and clothing boutiques—and not a chain store in sight. Shopping in Kent is never better than during the annual Sidewalk Sale, which runs August 7 - 10, with most shops offering great bargains on summer merchandise.

Five Favorites in Kent
Belgique Patisserie & Chocolatier
Routes. 7 & 341; 860.927.3681

Morrison Gallery
8 Old Barn Road; 860.927.4501

Ober Gallery
14 Old Barn Road; 860.927.5030

Richard J. Lindsay, Bookseller
15 North Main Street; 860.927.3025

R.T. Facts antiques
22 South Main Street; 860.927.1700

One of Kent’s secret gems is the Sloane Stanley Museum, which is located just off Route 7 about a mile north of the town center. The museum is devoted to the life and collections of Eric Sloane (1905 -1985), an artist, author and illustrator who chronicled country life in books, paintings and drawings. Before he died, Sloane got the Connecticut-based Stanley Works to build a museum for his hand-tool collection and to give it to the state of Connecticut to run. Sloane set up the museum himself, creating displays and painting all the signage in his distinctive hand.  The displays are so charming that even if you think the history of hand tools is boring you will be captivated by vignettes that show how brooms were made from a single piece of wood or by the butter churn that is powered by a dog running on a treadmill.

The museum includes a recreation of the artist’s studio (below) that was located in nearby Warren. You’d swear it’s a vintage movie set (from, say, Holiday Inn or Christmas in Connecticut) but the docent swears it’s an exact replica of Sloane’s actual workplace. It is startling because it feels as if Sloane has only departed the room minutes ago and will return soon to his books and paintbrushes.
Rural Intelligence Road Trips

Sloane Stanley Museum
31 Kent-Cornwall Road (Route 7), Kent; 860.927.3849
Open: Wednesday - Sunday, 10 AM - 4 PM through October 31.
(Closed for the winter; reopens in May.)


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Posted by Dan Shaw on 08/07/08 at 02:12 PM • Permalink