Contrary to what most people think, tobacco isn’t just down south. The plant grew wild along the Connecticut River from pre-European times, when it was dried and smoked by Native Americans. Today, the upper valley north of Hartford  is still active in growing so-called “shade tobacco,” which is literally grown underneath huge shades covering the rows, dried, and used for the outer shell for cigars.
While the industry isn’t as vibrant as it once was, towns like Enfield and Windsor are still dotted with picturesque drying sheds filled with the large leaves left to dry in the sun.
Four of the region’s agricultural villages have teamed up for the annual Four Town Fair (860/749-6527, www.fourtownfair.com , mid-Sept.), one of the state’s largest harvest celebrations. In an apparent homage to Mark Twain, one of the highlights is the jumping frog competition.