The coastal Fairfield region of New England is the gateway to the region from New York and its neighbors. The overture to Fairfield is the beautiful mansions of Stamford and Greenwich, where seaside marinas and restaurants are tucked in among town beaches, and shopping is upscale, especially on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, sometimes known as the Rodeo Drive of the Northeast. SoNO, the South Norwalk neighborhood next to the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, has an interesting mix of dining, shopping, and night life.
A list of notable museums in the region has to begin with The Glass House in New Canaan, the unique creation of architect Philip Johnson. The Bruce Museum in Greenwich focuses on the arts and natural science, and the Lockwook-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk invites visitors to tour this 62-room Victorian house, called America’s first chateau. The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport is in home of the world-famous circus impresario of the 19th century.
If you love to get outdoors, the region has a very dynamic Audubon Society with lots of property for exploration, many nature centers: Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford, Connecticut Audubon Society Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary in Fairfield, and Earthplace in Westport, and more.
Attractions for children and animal lovers include Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, and Stamford Museum and Nature Center in Stamford, and the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport. And for an archetypal introduction to New England, how you cannot do better than a lighthouse – in this case the historic lighthouse and nature preserve on Sheffield Island, at the entrance to Norwalk harbor. Sheffield Island Lighthouse can be reached by a ferry from Norwalk that takes visitors on tours of the lighthouse from May through Labor Day.