Photo Gallery: Salisbury And Lakeville, CT, And Millerton, NY

Drink, eat and farm like a local at a trio of tiny towns in Connecticut and New York

Priority number one when you're in Salisbury, Connecticut: See some cows.

After we made ourselves at home at The White Hart, a newly renovated sort of town hall, and ate our weight in guinea fowl potpie, we couldn't help but fall in love with the quaint little villages just minutes away from this town of 4,000. We sipped teas with locals, browsed bookshops and, yes, saw many a heifer.

But as we chatted and explored, one thing was certain: All roads lead to The White Hart. Everyone has a story about the historic inn, which has invigorated the city and brought in new faces and fantastic food from chef Annie Wayte.

Take a tour.

A roaring fire greets guests at The White Hart.

Nestled on a triangle of greens between the two main roads in Salisbury, Connecticut, The White Hart inn has been a town gathering space for the past 200 years. New owners, including Malcolm Gladwell and chef Annie Wayte, have revived the beloved rooms, like this stunning rustic dining room.

The one spot in the whitewashed inn that hasn't been made over: the dark, wooded taproom. "Quite honestly, I wouldn't dare," Wayte says. "To me, it belongs to the local people. It was that that drew me in here in the first place." This particular day, Victory Prima Pils is on tap.

Everyone remembers Murph. "All you have to do is ask a question here," one local says in between sips from his beer. He explains how Murph was a local businessman and a regular at the taproom. "He went here, then the Boat House, before he made his way back home." Now, anyone who sits at the tip of the L-shaped bar by the taps has the honor of literally walking in his footsteps.

The airy garden room leads right to the sunny porch, but the real gem in this inn is all the amazing art, from sketches by René Magritte to this more contemporary painting by Donald Baechler.

This beautiful bath and almost 18th century English bedroom in the master suite ensures a lovely stay. While the rooms book up quickly in summer and fall during the holiday season—even some partners of the inn couldn't get a room—early winter (aka right now) is the best time to snag a spot.

Just a short drive away is Harney & Sons Fine Teas in Millerton, New York, which was originally conceived at The White Hart when founder John Harney ran it. Emeric Harney, John's grandson and the general manager of the Soho outpost, pours a medium-bodied oolong from China's Fenghuang Mountain. "It's good to have a good old landmark growing up," he says, remembering the spaghetti and meatballs at The White Hart he always ordered as a kid. "That was missed."

Shelf after shelf of teas at the expansive Millerton shop.

Down the street from Harney & Sons is Oblong Books & Music, a well-curated bookshop beloved in the community and just over 40 years old. Owner Dick Hermans sources a concise but thoughtful CD collection, while his daughter, Suzanna, oversees the fantastic and fully stocked cookbook section. "Sitting here, you see the life of this whole surrounding community," book seller David Stanford says from behind the register.

This brown-haired beauty is a cross between an Angus and a Devon, and she lives on Whippoorwill Farm in nearby Lakeville, Connecticut, which sits between Millerton and Salisbury. Husband-and-wife farmers Allen and Robin Cockerline have been raising cows on their patch of land for the past 12 years, and it all started with grass. "He became very good at growing grass—good, nutritional grass," Robin says. Theirs is a mix of clover, alfalfa and timothy.

"These girls are just here to have babies and nurse them," Robin Cockerline says of the cows on the pasture. But the farmers also sell various cuts at their tiny shop and ground meat to restaurants in the city, including The White Hart in the past.

"I always wanted to cook in an English pub," Wayte says. And she gets to live out that dream by cooking for locals and visiting families at her inn. Make her guinea fowl potpie (get the recipe).