by Rona Mann / photos by Angela Carontino
It’s just a minute or so after 6AM on a Saturday morning in this sleepy little village.
The coffee is brewing, the doors have just been unlocked, the music system and the lights are turned on, and already people are beginning to come through the doors at a pretty good clip. They’re after morning coffee, perhaps a slice of marble cake or other homemade pastry to accompany it, or maybe it’s a breakfast sandwich or some picnic supplies. All of them, however, are after a welcoming place with friendly conversation and will no doubt find it instantly, as this is a place where neighbor knows neighbor, where there are no strangers, where each day begins with a rhythm: the door opening, the coffee pots perking, the newspapers being delivered, and the sounds of the early morning taking over the considerable space. Yes, there is a very distinct rhythm here, one that in essence began a century ago and continues to this day.
This is Roxbury Market, the talk-of-the-town gathering place for the tiny burgh of Roxbury, Connecticut tucked away in the northwest quadrant of the state. Yes, this is Roxbury, a town of little more than 600 families nestled between New Milford and Southbury that originally was a part of the town of Woodbury. But fiercely individual and independent like its people, Roxbury now stands proudly on its own here in this historic and wooded picture postcard that is framed within Litchfield County.
There’s a good bit of both geography and history in this town, not the least of which is the origins of Roxbury Market itself, when in the ‘20s and ‘30s was known as Hodge’s, owned and operated by Burton Hodge and his son, Philo, descendants of one of the most prominent families in town. Today on the same parcel of land Roxbury Market serves as more than just a place for morning coffee and conversation, it remains the pulse of the town…a place to grab a quick sandwich from the deli, fill in needed grocery items, or indulge in a memorable ice cream treat.
Yes, ice cream is a big part of life around these parts. When folks get a hankering for this frozen dessert, Roxbury Market is their go-to in town because the market doesn’t just sell ice cream from a freezer…they are a primary satellite location for Ferris Acres Creamery and their premium treats, named the #1 ice cream in the State of Connecticut in 2017. This Newtown based family owned farm dating back to 1703 and boasting more than 22 years of ice cream production right on their farm, provides Roxbury Market with some of their more popular flavors like Bada Bing, Ali-Oop, Elvis’ Dream, Paradise Found, and more. Market owner Wayne Ferris, who just happens to be a part of the Ferris Acres Creamery family, is proud to announce that this summer Roxbury Market will carry 40 flavors of Connecticut’s finest, including local favorites, “Roxbury Rox,” “Marilyn Madness,” and “Arthur Miller.” The latter two flavors are a tip of the hat to local celebs, named for the famous power couple (she the sexy actress and icon and he the Pulitzer Prize award winning playwright) who at one time lived in Roxbury. For those pop culture historians, other famous people who at one time lived or still reside in this charming piece of Americana include Early American revolutionary, Ethan Allen; actor Dustin Hoffman; film critic, Rex Reed; Broadway composer-lyricist, Stephen Sondheim; late movie idol, Richard Widmark; and heralded author, Frank McCourt (“Angela’s Ashes”), among others who seek the peace, quiet, and virtual anonymity of living in Roxbury.
In addition to what you might expect to find at the Roxbury Market, here are just some of the things you may not be expecting. You’ll find shelves of locally produced jams, honey, marinara sauce, relishes, and chutney next to books by area authors, magnificently carved wooden bowls, garnet jewelry, and a full line of popular Goatboy Soaps, a product of nearby New Milford, made in small batches using essential oils. The Market is proud to showcase these products created by the unique talent pool that surrounds this Litchfield County area. While your breakfast or wrap is being made, it’s fun to walk around the store and perhaps acquire one of these “finds” as your next hostess gift, or perhaps just a treat for yourself.
The early morning crowd can always count on finding the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or the local Republican American as intellectual accompaniment with their coffee and a starting place for lively conversation or heated discussion. It’s as good a reason as any to make a daily stop.
Fact is, there’s always a reason to visit The Roxbury Market. Here’s another.
On Saturday, August 11th Wayne Ferris and the Roxbury Market presents the first annual Roxbury Jazz Fest right at Munson Meadow, adjacent to the market property at 26 North Street in the very heart of town. This is an all-day-into-the-evening exciting celebration of music guaranteed to lift your spirits and make this community jump, dance, and sing as one. Local artists on tap to perform include The Doug White Quartet, Marc Wager and the Roxtones, the Kathy Thompson Band, Medusa, featuring Jocelyn Pleasant and Corey Hutchins, and the Hot Club of Black Rock. “This will be our first year,” Ferris says, “but we hope to make the Jazz Fest an annual event, so we’re urging people to come, kick back, and enjoy.”
Make sure you stop at the Market first to pick up your sandwiches, wraps, chips, beverages, and other picnic fixings, then spend a great summer day enjoying the artistic endeavors of the people who give rhythm and music to the pulse of this unique community.
Hot, fresh coffee, homemade pastries, delicious deli sandwiches, breakfast, all the news that’s fit and unfit (!) in print, and news you’ll hear from your neighbors, grocery items, gift items, a mini ice cream parlor, and now a backyard arena in which to enjoy local jazz on August 11th.
Yes indeed, this is Roxbury Market…your kind of place with your kind of people. It’s the pulse of Roxbury!
Come feel the pulse at 26 North Street; (860) 355-0733
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