One of my favorite shows is Gilmore Girls and I have been a fan of the town of Stars Hollow for many years. I also just found out that I went to the same schools as two of the actors on the show – Alexis Bledel (elementary school) and Todd Lowe (high school). When I heard that it was inspired by a real town in Connecticut, I knew I would have to drive to the small town of Washington Connecticut the next time I visited the area. While I was a little disappointed in the town since I expected a town square type area with the businesses (they were a lot more spread out), I still found it fun to walk around and visit the quirky little town.
The Po Cafe
- 5 Kirby Road, Washington, CT 06793
The first stop on Gilmore Girls tour is Luke’s Diner Part 1 (aka The Po Cafe). The Po Cafe is a quaint spot in Washington, Connecticut that sits next to the town post office and across from the “town green” of the picturesque church where many of the town happenings take place. It is small but packed with so many fresh food offerings, it is a definite must-see.
The Po Cafe focuses on local sourcing for its ingredients and has great sandwiches, smoothies, and desserts. My favorites were the Po Pork sandwich (so so good), the Thanksgiving break sandwich (amazing), and the Sookie cookies with a little bit of everything. I loved the nod to the show in a couple of their dishes.
One note: The Po Cafe is a little far from the rest of the highlights of the town (and not an easy walk since there is no sidewalks that connect) so it is best to drive to the next part and park and you can walk to the rest.
Next stop in the center of town (not quite a square, but everything else we saw is contained in) is Luke’s Diner Part 2 or Marty’s. We found so many great breakfast and lunch items here, but since we ate lunch at The Po Cafe, this was a great place for a croissant and coffee. One of the most fun part of the menu was the fresh dog food options. You can order out for a special treat for your most favorite companion as well.
Washington Food Market
- 5 Bryan Hall Plaza, Washington Depot, CT 06794
A Gilmore Girl episode wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Doose’s Market. We found this look alike in the Washington Food Market. This cute little grocery store was fully stocked with your families’ staples as well as a beautiful arranged produce section. This little store has been open in this same location and serving the town for over 100 years, which made it even more special to see. We picked up some drinks while we were there and had fun walking through the historic store.
The Hickory Stick Book Shop
- 2 Green Hill Road, Washington Depot, CT 06794
In Bryan Hall Plaza, right next to Marty’s is the cutest book shop called Hickory Stick Book Shop. When you walk in, you can just image stepping into Stars Hollow Books. It is well organized and the children’s section is really cute. I wanted to buy all of the staff picks since they seemed really interesting. We were in our nerdy element in this store and bought a couple of books about the local area.
- 118 Woodbury Rd, Route 47, Washington, CT 06793-1208
The story is that Amy Sherman-Palladino, the Gilmore Girls show’s creator, stayed at the Mayflower Inn during a vacation and that stay inspired many of the elements in Gilmore Girls. We didn’t stay in the Mayflower Inn during our visit, but we drove by to take a couple of photos and see the grounds. It was a beautiful building, and I can see why it would inspire beloved parts of the show.
More Interesting Things to See in Washington Connecticut
As we walked around the town, we saw some more interesting and quirky parts of Washington, Connecticut. The first site was an impressive town hall that is right across the street from the plaza. It had the classic New England architecture and when doing some research, we found out that Washington uses a town meeting form of government with a Board of Selectmen (just like Stars Hollow).
There were a few other fun parts of Washington that we saw. The town hair salon had a big statue to the side of it and the church across from The Po Cafe was a beautiful example of a small town church with a steeple and expansive green space around it.
We had a great time finding parts and pieces of the town that may have inspired one the best shows and now watching Gilmore Girls even is a little more special since we have seen “behind the scenes”.
- Gilmore Girls Getaway. (2020, October 28). Explore Washington CT. https://explorewashingtonct.com/plan-your-visit/explore-interest/gilmore-girls-getaway/
- The Hickory Stick Bookshop. (Accessed: 2021, April 7). The Hickory Stick Bookshop. https://www.hickorystickbookshop.com/
- Marty’s Cafe | Home. (Accessed: 2021, April 7). Restaurants_725. https://seeyouatmartys.com/
- Mayflower Inn & Spa. (2021, June 8). Mayflower Inn & Spa | Boutique Hotel in Litchfield County, Connecticut. https://aubergeresorts.com/mayflower/
- MeetYouAtThePo.com – About. (Accessed: 2021, April 7). Meet You At The Po. https://sites.google.com/view/meetyouatthepo/about?authuser=0
- Washington Food Market Full Service Family Owned Grocery Store Washington, CT. (Accessed: 2021, April 7). Washington Food Market Full Service Family Owned Grocery Store Washington, CT. http://www.washingtonfoodmarket.com/