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The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Hartford CT - An All New 21st Century Visitor Experience in a National Historic Landmark.

Great Things To Do in Connecticut includes off-the-beaten-track fun

Connecticut is packed with great things to on a getaway for families, kids, or just adults, like scenic shoreline and country drives, antique shopping, world-class museums, historic sites, pretty walks, and plenty of activities and attractions for your vacation adventure. Phone ahead or check the attraction's website before visiting, especially for outdoor activities.

Litchfield hills Farm market
Cruising off Rathbun's Square 500x250 - Argia Mystic Cruises - Mystic, CT
Argia Mystic Cruises

12 Steamboat Wharf Mystic, CT, 06355 Phone: 860-536-0416

Explore New England's coast aboard a romantic sailing ship

Return to the romantic Age of Sail aboard the 81-foot schooner Argia. She is a US Coast Guard-inspected vessel and one of the last sailing ships in New England. We're docked in Mystic, Conn., and sail in Fishers Island Sound, a calm, protected body of water, from June 26th to mid-October. Bask in the sun on our spacious wooden deck while we explore the seafaring village of Mystic, the surrounding islands, and historic lighthouses. Delight in quirky sea stories of the area, told by the crew and Captain of Argia. Feel free to bring your own picnic and beverages. Wine and beer are permitted. Enjoy a half-day cruise, or experience the romance of the sea at twilight with a sunset sail.
Exterior View - Yale Center for British Art - New Haven, CT - Photo Credit Richard Caspole
Yale Center for British Art

1080 Chapel Street New Haven, CT, 06510 Phone: 203-432-2800 Toll-Free: 877-274-8278

The best of British art in a celebrated edifice

The YCBA houses the largest collection of British art outside the United Kingdom, encompassing works in a range of media from the Elizabethan period to the present day. It offers exhibitions and programs year-round, including lectures, concerts, films, symposia, tours, and family events. The building, opened in 1977, is the last to be designed by acclaimed American architect Louis I. Kahn and it is near many of New Haven’s best restaurants, shops, and cultural destinations. Museum Hours: Tues–Sat, 10am–5pm; Sun, Noon–5pm. Museum Shop hours: Mon–Sat, 10am–5pm; Sun, Noon–5pm. Free and open to the public.
Becky Thatcher 500x250 - Essex Steam Train & Riverboat - Essex, CT
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

One Railroad Avenue Essex, CT, 06426 Phone: 860-767-0103 Toll-Free: 800-377-3987

A Connecticut River adventure by train and boat

Gather family and friends for a sightseeing adventure aboard the only steam train and riverboat connection in the United States! This 2½-hour narrated journey explores the nature and beauty of the Connecticut River Valley, designated as one of “the last great places on Earth” by The Nature Conservancy. View historic sites such as Gillette Castle and the Goodspeed Opera House. Excursions begin and end at the historic 1892 Essex station. Please check our website regularly for 2020 schedules and updates.
Tour Group - Harriet Beecher Stowe Center - Hartford, CT
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

77 Forest Street Hartford, CT, 06105 Phone: 860-522-9258

Visit and tour the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center – and leave inspired

If you are looking for an interactive and educational experience that will inspire you to consider what you can do to make the world better, get yourself to the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, where guides not only show you how the author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” lived in the 19th century but will encourage conversation about the issues of her day and of the modern day. So, you will look at the restored rooms of the Victorian Gothic cottage as well as talk about slavery, the role of women and other issues. The collections in the center, a National Historic Landmark, include letters, photos, memorabilia, paintings, drawings and the dining room table where the abolitionist and activist wrote the most famous of her 30 books.
The Dinosaur Place at Nature's Art Village CT Great Things Oakdale CT
The Dinosaur Place at Nature's Art Village

1650 Hartford-New London Tpke. (Rt. 85) Oakdale, CT, 06370 Phone: 860-443-4367

A great time will be had by all at this attraction-filled dinosaur park

You are going to have a gigantically fun-filled day at The Dinosaur Place at Nature's Art Village. Discover more than 50 life-sized dinosaurs along a 1.5-mile nature path and check out the new Carnivore Cavern, shoot water cannons at the dino-themed Splash Pad, escape from the tricky A”MAZE”asaurus by sliding through the mouth of a T-Rex, or climb all over our two-story enclosed T-Rex Tower Jungle Gym. There’s also a playground, for all ages, featuring a three-dimensional climbing web. Just outside The Dinosaur Place there is a whole village to explore with an 18 hole mini-golf course, and seven fun shops including one that features a wide assortment of minerals and fossils. Stop for ice cream or a burger or bring a picnic lunch. Check the website for social distancing rules and other health and safety updates.
The Glass House Exterior New Canaan CT
The Glass House

199 Elm Street New Canaan, CT, 06840 Phone: 203-594-9884

Architect Philip Johnson’s eclectic country home

One man’s extraordinary skills and whimsy led to the construction of this most unique house that’s not a house. The Glass House is a space divided into 14 structures instead of walls dividing a single interior into rooms. Built over 37 years on 49 acres in New Canaan, architect Philip Johnson gave each structure a different function. The Pavilion in the Pond is for gatherings and views of the rustic landscape. The Brick House was where Johnson read and slept. The stucco studio served as workplace and library. Grainger, a warm weather retreat had both air conditioning and a television. Certified as a National Trust Historic Site, it serves as a museum to Johnson's work and architectural style. Open May 1 to November 30.
The Spa of Essex Massage Essex CT
The Spa of Essex

63 South Main Street Essex, CT, 06426 Phone: 860-767-7796

Royal pampering washes aches away

You will be treated like royalty at the Spa at Essex, where experts perform seemingly magical therapies and treatments on sore muscles, tired skin and drooping spirits. When you enter the property, you are greeted with warmth and bundled into comfortable robes and overstuffed chairs (including chairs for two) while you wait for treatments like massage, facials, manicures and pedicures, makeup and more. Innovation treatments bright aging or troubled skin. Couples, mothers-to-be, and gentlemen can enjoy refreshing and energizing treatments for their particular needs. Customers exclaim over the cleanliness of the indoor and outdoor spaces, which include a sunny patio with a fountain. Specials like the flower facial and the South Seas body treatment with tan will bring you back over and over.
Locomotive - Railroad Museum of New England - Thomaston, CT
Railroad Museum of New England

242 East Main Street Thomaston, CT, 06787 Phone: 860-283-7245

The past comes alive at this museum that honors the region’s railroad history

Take a trip into the past at the Railroad Museum of New England – and do it in the comfort of a vintage passenger car, part of a diesel-led train excursion through valleys and woods, past dramatic rock cuts and over the scenic Thomaston Dam. In addition to educational exhibits, the museum offers exciting opportunities to explore a variety of locomotives, passenger and freight cars and cabooses, representing the best of the region’s rich railroading history. Popular train trips include scenic excursions, chocolate tours that include a visit to a chocolate factory, spirit-tasting tours and trips that celebrate the holidays, from the Easter Bunny Express to the Pumpkin Patch train to the magical Northern Lights Limited and Santa Express.
Ivoryton Playhouse in CT
Ivoryton Playhouse

103 Main Street Ivoryton, CT, 06442 Phone: 860-767-7318

A full roster for great theater for 2018

The Ivoryton Playhouse is a unique theatre with a rich cultural history. Built in 1911, the Ivoryton Playhouse is the oldest, continuously running, self-supporting summer theater in the nation. Some of the great names of from the stage and screen have appeared at Ivoryton Playhouse including Katharine Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Groucho Marx and Tallulah Bankhead. Today, the Ivoryton Playhouse produces a year-round, professional season of award winning musicals, comedies and dramas as well as summer children’s theatre and many special events.
View from Above 2 - Foxwoods High Flyer - Mashantucket, CT
Foxwoods HighFlyer

350 Trolley Lane Blvd. Mashantucket, CT, 06338 Phone: 860-312-3597

Ride the skies in a zipline tour that begins on this casino’s rooftop

At Foxwoods Resort Casino, there are all types of adventures to be had, including one that begins on the rooftop! From the top of 32-story Fox Tower, 350 feet off the ground, you can embark on a zipline trip that takes you, at speeds of up to nearly 60 mph, through the Connecticut air and over the treetops to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, about a mile away. You can head back to the casino on a shuttle that leaves every 15 minutes. (A viewing shuttle leaves the casino every 15 minutes for friends and family who just want to watch.)
Aug 2020 Image - IT Rope Adventures at Jordan's Furniture - New Haven, CT
IT Adventure Ropes Course

40 Sargent Drive New Haven, CT, 06511 Phone: 203-812-9981

Experience the world’s largest indoor ropes in New Haven

Located inside Jordan’s Furniture in New Haven, CT, It Adventure Ropes Course offers adventurous activities for guests of all ages to explore. Explore our heart-pumping four-level ropes course + zip rails sitting at heights up to 56 feet. Your full body harness and sling line will keep you connected at all times while you explore 100+ challenges, including crisscross angle rope ladders, zig-zag swinging beams, cargo nets, bridges, and more. Soar through the air on the zip rails over the liquid fireworks water show from one end of the course to the other. Don’t forget, little kids are included, too! With a chaperone’s assistance, small children under 48” are able to build coordination and confidence on the Little It course, which is positioned close to the ground and designed specifically for them.
Bruce Museum Entrance Greenwich CT
Bruce Museum

One Museum Drive Greenwich, CT, 06830 Phone: 203-869-0376

Eclectic collections to be found in the rooms of this Greenwich museum

The Bruce Museum, sitting high on a hill overlooking Greenwich Harbor, is both elegant and accessible. Changing exhibitions of both art and science are on view in the recently renovated main galleries, and in 2020 include a major show of works by noted Danish artist Laurits Andersen Ring and a science exhibition highlighting recent scientific discoveries through a combination of stunning imagery and real biological specimens. The museum’s permanent science galleries close in early 2020 for a year-long renovation in anticipation of the museum’s transformative expansion project, with groundbreaking on a building addition slated for fall 2020. The museum’s Seaside Center, in nearby Greenwich Point Park, hosts family activities special presentations on the first Sunday of the month that are free and open to the public.
Blueberry Girl 500x250 - Bishop's Orchards - Guilford, CT
Bishop's Orchards

1355 Boston Post Road Guilford, CT, 06437 Phone: 203-453-2338

Pick your own activity from corn mazes to wine tastings at family farm, orchard

Take your pick of activities at Bishop’s Orchards, a family farm whose roots go back 140 years. Peruse farm-based and other local products (go for the cider) at the delicious farm market or pick your own produce, from berries, peaches and pears in the summer to apples and pumpkins in the fall. Kids will love the Little Red Barn & Pumpkin Patch, with tractor and train rides, a hay tunnel and face-painting. Adults will love wine tastings and tours at the winery. And everyone will want to take a crack at the corn maze. End your day with some Fly Fishing Fudge ice cream at the famous creamery stand. Special events include a Halloween Parade and Paint and Sip sessions.
Full View - Mark Twain House & Museum - Hartford, CT - Photo Credit John Groo
Mark Twain House & Museum

351 Farmington Avenue Hartford, CT, 06105 Phone: 860-247-0998

Come and explore the beautiful home of America’s favorite author which was featured in 1000 Places To See Before You Die. Take guided tours through Mark Twain’s historical home, visit his personal library, the children’s rooms, the servants’ wing and his famous Billiard Room where he wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Enjoy informative exhibitions and documentaries held in the Museum Center, visit the museum store to discover one of a kind treasures, or grab a relaxed lunch in our Nook Farm Nook cafe. House tours run daily beginning at 9:30 A.M. with the last tour leaving at 4:30 P.M., while the Museum Center is open for self-guided visitation during regular hours.
Harbor View - Stonington Borough Merchants - Stonington, CT
Stonington Borough Connecticut

Go fishing, climb up to the top of a lighthouse, or sit back and watch the sun set

Dotting a mile-long peninsula, this charming seaside village welcomes visitors with a variety of activities from kayaking and paddleboarding to reenactments of the 1814 Battle of Stonington to great shopping and dining. Visit beautiful DuBois Beach at the tip of the peninsula, enjoy a picnic or concert on the lawn of the Old Lighthouse Museum (where you can climb the steps for a fabulous view after exploring maritime artifacts) or tour the Capt. Nathaniel B. Palmer House, once home to the discoverer of Antarctica. At Dodge Paddock, walk around a salt marsh meadow with ocean views; or take a short nature walk along the harbor with amazing views; go sport fishing; or just enjoy a spectacular sunset over the harbor.
Reasons to Cheer - CT Wine Trail
Connecticut Wine Trail

You can literally taste the adventure

On the Connecticut Wine Trail, you can literally taste the adventure as you meander from scenic vineyards to intriguing tasting rooms. The trail’s two dozen wineries offer a variety of wines, views and experiences. Some have tours; others just invite you to stroll. There are wineries in historic barns or fieldstone buildings; one is in a World War II-vintage airplane hangar! Some have live music, or cheese and chocolate pairings, comedy nights, tapas nights, movie nights. Some have restaurants; others have box lunches and picnic sites by a pond or on a patio. All offer tastings and participation in the Passport to Connecticut Farm Wineries program, where you collect stamps for wineries visited. Please check our website for winery reopening and safety information.
Onrust - 500x250 - Connecticut River Museum - Essex, CT
Connecticut River Museum

67 Main Street, Steamboat Dock Essex, CT, 06426 Phone: 860-767-8269

Lots to see, but even more to do, at this river museum on Essex Harbor

Learn about the Connecticut River – or sail on it! – when you visit the Connecticut River Museum, on park-like grounds overlooking scenic and historic Essex Harbor. There’s plenty to see, from models of yachts, nautical paintings and history exhibits to the tools used in early fishing, hunting and trapping to a vertical, three-floor river mural that goes up a staircase. And there’s the model of the Turtle, the Revolutionary War submarine. But there’s also so much to do: rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboard and paddle the river’s coves right outside the museum’s doorsteps, go on a winter wildlife eagle cruise to see bald eagles, or cruise aboard the Onrust, a replica of a 1614 Dutch sailing ship.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children Boy and Balls Norwlak CT
Stepping Stones Museum for Children

Mathews Park - 303 West Avenue Norwalk, CT, 06850 Phone: 203-899-0606

Closed for 2020 - We look forward to seeing you in 2021!

At Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, Conn., we create an environment that inspires lifelong learning. Our museum offers engaging and educational exhibits with indoor AND outdoor experiences that give children, families and educators twice the space to discover, learn, and grow. Our Energy Lab includes hands-on exhibits that teach how the sun, the wind, the force of water, and the burning of fossil fuels produce energy. Tot Town is an imaginative world shrunk down to toddler level. Our Build It! exhibit lets children explore architectural design and construction. We've got tools they can use to pretend to finish walls, paint with brushes and rollers, apply carpeting, and more. After a visit, youngsters will see their world in a whole different way.
Pool The Spa at Norwich Inn Norwich Connecticut
The Spa at Norwich Inn

607 West Thames Street Norwich, CT, 06360 Phone: 860-425-3500 Toll-Free: 800-275-4772

Pampering as high art

Get away for the day, overnight or to celebrate something festive. This shrine to relaxation is set in a historic Inn in bucolic surroundings. 42 country acres hold perennial gardens, spring-fed ponds, century-old oak trees, a reflecting pool and an oversized deck welcome you to the spa and inspires a sigh. Thirty-seven treatment rooms offer sauna, steam, hot tub, salon, plus signature services from facials and massage to hand and foot therapies, and even tarot card readings. There’s a fitness center and indoor pool and activities to enhance your health and stimulate the senses. Enjoy special packages including Day Spa and Overnight Spa to Rejuvenation and Personal Escape Packages available on Sunday nights of holiday weekends at a small upcharge.
Bluefish Girls 500x250 - Black Hawk Party Boat - Niantic, CT
Black Hawk Sportfishing

Sailing from the Niantic Bay Marina Niantic, CT, 06357 Phone: 860-448-3662 Toll-Free: 800-382-2824

Spend a special day or evening on the water

Board a great party boat with an experienced skipper and fish for striped bass, bluefish, porgies, sea bass, blackfish and other delicious food from the sea. Serious fisherman sail on the "Captain's Choice," trips scheduled for the best fishing time and circumstances. Enjoy a night bass trip with no crowds or tangles or a special seal watch, sunset, fireworks and/or nature cruise with science field trips also on the menu. Plan a private day charter of 15 or more and night charters of 12 for your next party or celebration. You can bring your own gear or rent rod and reel. New to fishing? The experienced crew will ensure you have a great day on the water. But do bring your lunch. Then catch your dinner. Reservations are not required and the parking is free.
Beluga Whale 500x250 - Mystic Aquarium - Mystic, CT
Mystic Aquarium

55 Coogan Boulevard Mystic, CT, 06355 Phone: 860-572-5955

Discover the area’s top tourist destination

From hands-on interaction with the likes of sharks, stingrays and reptiles to interactive exhibits that make learning about the ocean planet so much fun and even exclusive opportunities to meet animals up-close, it’s no wonder Mystic Aquarium is amongst the most popular destinations in New England. Explore indoor and outdoor exhibits where thousands of animals including whales, penguins, frogs, fish and more act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. Learn how you can help protect our ocean planet at one of the daily trainer talks and be sure to experience a complimentary sea lion show. Plus, encounter animatronic dinosaurs that practically come to life in ‘Jurassic Giants’! Enjoy special events, activities and more throughout the year that make Mystic Aquarium a destination worth revisiting often. SEA more at MysticAquarium.org.
Meadows & CT River Aerial View - Historic Wethersfield, CT
Historic Wethersfield

So much to see and do, indoors and out, in this historic town

Outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, shoppers and nature-lovers will all enjoy the charms and attractions of historic Wethersfield. Open historic homes range from Puritan times, through the Revolution (including the home where Washington and Rochambeau planned the Yorktown campaign) to the early 20th century. The town also has 644 acres of parkland for hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, skateboarding and swimming, among other pursuits, as well as a nature center. Main Street offers eclectic shops and galleries, and the town hosts several festivals and events, including arts and crafts fairs, a corn festival and weekly farmers’ markets. Take the country’s oldest continuously operating ferry, marvel at the giant trees in the Broad Street Green, enjoy a movie night or a town tour by lantern.
burgis brook alpacas ct
Burgis Brook's Alpacas Offer a Friendly Welcome

Burgis Brook Alpacas on North Canterbury Road (Route 169) in Canterbury is a full-time farm for raising, showing, and breeding alpacas located on 43 acres of rolling hills and forest. The farm store carries farm-raised alpaca yarn milled in Connecticut as well as hand-woven and knitted scarves and accessories and high quality Peruvian imported garments. Visitors are always welcome, but call in advance to let the farm hosts know you're coming. Hours: Sunday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 204 p.m. Phone: 860-389-1650.
creamery book bison
Buffalo Do Roam at This Expansive Playground

You don’t need to mosey out to the Dakotas to enjoy the sight of free-roaming buffalo. Creamery Brook Bison Farm in Brooklyn offers guided walking tours where visitors may observe groups of animals, make ice cream and butter, or eat lunch at a picnic area. There is also a 40-minute wagon ride through a working dairy farm and out to the fields to where the buffalo live. Watch the buffalo cows and calves come to the wagon for a snack of hay and grain. Other fun for families includes a farmyard petting area, a stand serving gourmet ice cream, and a gift shop. Call ahead for public hours. Phone: 860-779-0837.
buttonwood farm griswold ct
Farm Makes Wishes Come True

Buttonwood Farm on Shetucket Turnpike in Griswold began as a dairy operation a little more than 30 years ago, and its history has continued to evolve. The farm’s home-made ice cream is served daily from noon or 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. from a modest storefront on the farm. The waffle cones are made from scratch on the farm, too. The farm plants hundreds of thousands of sunflowers and created its “Sunflowers for Wishes” program. The farm gives a bouquet of sunflowers to anyone in exchange for $10 donation, which goes directly to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2020, sunflowers are sold July 25-August 2. 860-376-4081.
first light sport fishing
First Light Offers Chance for First Bite

You don’t need to own a boat or even know what you‘re doing to try sportfishing. You can start by finding an experienced outfit like First Light out of Noank. First Light is a fully equipped bass boat that was designed to fish New England waters safely and comfortably. She is outfitted with the latest electronic gear and tackle to provide a productive and exciting fishing trip. First Light leaves her slip at the Noank Shipyard most nights and early mornings in search of trophy stripers. She also stands ready to steam offshore of Block Island or Montauk Point for shark and tuna when feasible. The mission of our Sportfishing at First Light is catch fish and have a good time. For more resources on sportfishing rentals and charters, contact the Connecticut Charter Party Boat Association . 860 344-1698.
skydiving in danielson ct
Skydiving: The Leap of a Lifetime

Ready to face your fear of heights? Take the plunge and experience the sensation of floating in a freefall at speeds upwards of 120 miles per hour. At the Skydive Danielson facility in Danielson, qualified instructors lead first-time skydivers into the adrenaline rush of a lifetime: a scenic ride over the landscape followed by a tandem jump from a height of 13,000 feet! Those who leave the Skydive Danielson facility wanting more can sign up for technical classes and receive their license to skydive. 860-774-5867
bird watching at bluff point
Birds from the Bluff

Among its other virtues as a hiking and lookout site, Bluff Point State Park off Depot Road in Groton is a rich resource for bird watchers. Many shorebirds can be seen year round. Along the loop trail watch for various shore birds in the river, mudflats and salt marsh. The tangles of vines along the trail and the beach are other fruitful places to view many species. In the fall American pipits are common and in the winter the Ipswich race of the savannah sparrow is sometimes seen, as well as an occasional snowy owl. Various grebes, cormorants, gulls and ducks are often seen from the bluff.
sheffield island lighthouse
Cruise Views of Harbor, Sea Life, Sheffield Lighthouse

Norwalk Seaport Association resumes cruises on June 24 for the summer 2020. Cruises will take visitors around Norwalk Harbor and the Sheffield Island Lighthouse, the latter of the two happening at the delicious hour of sunset. In contrast to most years, these cruises will not stop at the lighthouse island, but the trip will offer lovely views of migratory birds and their breeding nests, along with the other islands that dot the harbor. Cruises take place daily, Wednesdays through Sundays. Passengers are asked to wear masks. Cruises depart from the Seaport Association dock at North Water & Washington Streets in South Norwalk. Ample parking at the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium. Phone: 203-838-9444 or 203-838-2898. Tour schedule.
audubon center greenwich CT
Audubon Center Brims With Activity Year-Round

Greenwich Audubon Center at 613 Riversville Road in Greenwich offers lots of recurring classes and programs that encourage people of all ages and physical abilities to enjoy the center and its lessons about nature. All year round, the center offers activities like Nature Yoga with Brittani Kelly, emphasizing nature around us and the health of the environment; Family Yoga, which welcomes kids to join the experience; and Sensory-Sensitive Saturdays, welcoming people with extra sensitivities who would like to enjoy learning about nature in a quiet and soothing space. Check out the center’s events pages to learn more. These are great activities for cold-weather and warm-weather seasons.
Taste of new haven tours
Get a Taste of New Haven

Gather with friends to soak in the tastes, sights, and sounds of New Haven. On Taste of New Haven themed food and drink tours, guides lead guests through the buzzing city and into its finest eateries, with fun stops at cultural spots along the way. Tours are food-themed (New Haven pizza, sushi) or neighborhood-based (Canal Quarter, Wooster Square), and timed to warm you up for a night at the theater. Tours run year-round for 1.5-4 hours in rain or shine, and your departure point is revealed when you register. 888-975-8664.
rail bike rides
By Rail and By ... Bike (???)

Get off your couch and onto an admittedly weird-looking vehicle that allows you and one to three friends to pedal the old train rails of eastern Connecticut. Extended Excursion Rail-Bike, which departs from 22 Bridge Road in Haddam is a 10-mile round-trip pedaling adventure from Goodspeed Station along the Connecticut River to Deep River Station, and return. Stretch your legs; enjoy the weather of late summer to fall, and see the sights enjoyed -- maybe -- by railroad travelers of old. It is different, to be sure! Two seat bike rental is $80; four seat bike rental is $150. Bring water. at least one rider must be above the age of 18.
sea mist cruise of thimble islands
Cruise the Thimble Islands

The Thimble Islands, just off the shore of Stony Creek, was first seen by Europeans in 1614 and, by legend, served for a time as a hideout for the pirate Captain Kidd. Once called The Hundred Islands, the islands have a long history of use from farming to quarrying. Experienced local oat captains can take you on cruises around these beautiful islands. Companies are Tour the Thimble Islands departing from Stony Creek Dock in Branford, CT; and Thimble Island Cruises Aboard the Sea Mist, departing from the town dock in Stony Creek. Read the schedules and guidelines posted by tour operators. Advance reservations are required and social distancing, including use of masks, is usually expected.
olde mistick village in mystic CT
Olde Mistick Village for Nostalgic and New Shopping

Olde Mistick Village, at 27 Coogan Blvd. in Mystic, just off Exit 90 of I-95, is a quirky but really fun place to shop, especially as the Christmas season approaches. It is an open-air shopping center set up to resemble a Colonial village, complete with duck ponds, a waterwheel and replica of a steepled New England meetinghouse, where performances and special events take place. Visitors can wander along brick pathways to more than 40 stores that sell gift items from the world over. The meeting house and Victorian gazebo host performances of musicians, dancers, and storytellers free of charge. Open daily, year-round. 860-536-4941.
bartlett gardens
Arboretum Is a Portal to Nature

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens at 151 Brookdale Road in Stamford welcomes people every day from dawn to dusk to explore 12 gardens and many trails (with your dog, if you like), and to enjoy champion trees, gardens, wildflower meadows, red maple wetlands and boardwalks, and woodland walking trails. The arboretum’s Silver Center hosts art displays and summer concerts. Come for botany classes and doggy happy hours. Events, classes and concerts. Trail map. 203- 322-6971
beardsley zoo in bridgeport CT
Visit the Giant World Through Its Animals

Plan to bring your young ones – or adults with a love of exotic animals – to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo at 1875 Noble Avenue in Bridgeport. One of the state’s top family attractions, the zoo displays 300 animals: condors, tigers, ocelots, wolves, a giant anteater and a golden lion tamarin. The zoo is open daily and the carousel is open Thursday through Sunday. Feed your brood at the Peacock Café then go on for further explorations. Special areas include a tropical rainforest, an aviary, and a New England farmyard. This is a great activity for bad-weather days. Zoo is open daily, year-round. 203-394-6565
go karts
Arrive, Then Drive! Or Jump!

Supercharged, at 1 Sachatello Industrial Drive in Montville is well-named. At this 110,000-square-foot indoor karting and trampoline park, electric-powered karts speed around an indoor multi-level track. Two tracks offer challenges for all ages and skill levels. All drivers be at least 58 inches tall, and be able to operate the vehicle safely. There is no minimum age requirement. At the 8,000-square-foot, multi-angled trampoline park, everyone can jump for fun or tension relief or just because it feels good. Dream up games of dodgeball, airbag play and basketball. Open daily. 860-444-7700
denison pequotsepos nature center in Mystic CT with VisitNewEngland.com
Meet the Outdoors at Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center

Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center at 109 Pequotsepos Road in Mystic is a nature preserve and learning center with lots of hiking trails and a delightful nature store. Bring your family for a day of walking, birdwatching, nature photography and a picnic. On the 10 miles of hiking trails through woodlands, wetlands, and meadow, you can search for bluebirds, turtles or bullfrogs, admire a summer wildflower garden or simply enjoy a peaceful walk. Wander the Butterfly House and enjoy the tree house. See “Night in the Meadow” in the small theater. Open daily. Trail map. 860-536-1216
talcott mountain
One Tower and a 1,200-Square-Mile View

Walking a one-mile trail through beautiful woods is an easy price to pay for a visit to Heublein Tower in Talcott Mountain State Park on Montevideo Road in Simsbury. Guests may tour the house and tower, built as a summer home in 1914 by Gilbert Heublein. The 1,000-foot high promontory provides splendid views of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, the Berkshires of Massachusetts, and Long Island Sound. Hikers and birdwatchers may encounter a variety of wildlife. Heublein Tower historic home and museum is accessible by walking trail only. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends, Thursday through Sunday, and Labor Day weekend through October 31, daily. Check website for tour times. 860-242-1158
owl shop in new haven
For Late-Night Camaraderie, Try the Owl Shop

The Owl Shop at 268 College Street in New Haven has a long pedigree. It was opened in 1934 on Wall Street as a bookstore by Greek immigrants. The proprietor was also mixing his own tobacco blends, for sale. A second store opened on College Street in 1937. Today, this history has created a convivial cigar lounge and coffee bar frequented by Yale and New Haven people for relaxation and camaraderie. You can buy light snacks and enjoy live jazz on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Happy hour, needless to say, happens nightly. Open daily, past midnight. 203-624-3250.
Salisbury general store CT
General Store in Salisbury Is a Browser’s Delight

Located in Northwest Connecticut, Salisbury General Store and Pharmacy at 20 Main Street in Salisbury is one of those purely delightful stores with merchandise far beyond what the name might imply. Located in the gateway to the Berkshire Mountains, the store welcomes visitors, tourists, hikers, and shoppers looking for gifts. The store stocks specialty soaps and spa products, unique gifts, toys, crafts, cards and party goods, wooden kitchenware like cutting boards, and textile arts. The store features the work of local artisans. Hiking supplies too! 860-435-9388.
ambler farm
Ambler Hosts Farm Fun Year-Round

Ambler Farm, at 257 Hurlbutt Street in Wilton is a 200-year-old farm now managed as a working farm, educational resource, and open space for the public. People are welcome to drop in any time to walk, visit the animals, stop by the farm stand, spread a picnic. Adults and kids can watch the sheep-shearing; learn to knit and do other traditional crafts; enjoy the maple syrup harvest; and much more. Annual special events include Ambler Farm Day, Valentine’s Tea, and the Summertime Barbecue. New events are in the works. Open every day of the year from dawn to dusk. Phone: 203-834-1143.
bluff point state park ct
Bluff Point Beckons to Walkers, Skiers

Bluff Point Coastal Reserve in Groton offers the visitor a delightful mixture of wooded hiking and cross-country skiing trails coupled with spectacular wildlife viewing on Long Island Sound. Because of its Coastal Reserve designation, access to the bluff is by foot or non-motorized vehicle only. The trail to the bluff passes through wooded and open areas until the view broadens as the bluff is approached. Here vegetation is more sparse and diminutive because of wind exposure. Among the plants to be found at the headland are native beach plum, beach pea and red and white shore roses.
weir farm in ct
Artwork Down on the Farm

Weir Farm National Historic Site on Nod Hill Road in Wilton is one of two national historic sites that preserves and displays a place for the visual arts. (The other is the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire.) From 1882 to 2005, Weir Farm was the home and workplace of three generations of painters, starting with J. Alden Weir. Visitors today can view the Weir home and studios, take guided walks of stone walls and painting trails, and enjoy the rotating art exhibits. In April 2020, the farm was featured in the newest coin produced by the U.S. Mint in its American the Beautiful Quarters program. The grounds are open year-round; hours at the Visitor Center vary seasonally. Phone: 203-761-9945
vista lounge at mohegan sun
Lounge in an Onyx Mountain

In the heart of the lavish Mohegan Sun is Wombi Rock, a jagged sculpture of onyx and alabaster formed into a three-story mountain with intimate seating areas tucked among it nooks and crannies, all beneath a star-studded dome of sky. Projected on the dome above is changing fiber-optic displays of the sun, moon and stars. At the top, overlooking the gaming floors, is the Vista Lounge, an oh-so-divine bar and perch to see and be seen. Great fun to sit in this crystal nest, enjoy a drink, and watch the casino turn below.
birdcraft museum ct
Sanctuary Is Home to Birds of Many Feathers (and Species)

Connecticut Audubon Society’s Birdcraft Museum in Fairfield is an intimate natural history museum with its own songbird sanctuary. This family-friendly museum offers first-class natural history programs and exhibits to bird lovers of all ages. Planted in 1914 as a refuge to attract, and harbor migratory and resident birds, the six-acre site has sheltered more than 120 species of birds. A bridge over a pond on the property allows close-up views of the sanctuary and its inhabitants. Visitors can observe a honeybee hive, a collection of African animals, and other changing exhibits, and attend scheduled demonstrations of bird-banding in spring and fall. 203-259-0416.
winter wine trail
Absolute Bliss: A Day Along the Wine Trail

Connecticut’s mild climate makes the state a fruitful place for growing grapes, and the state’s wine-making industry has bloomed in the past three decades. A delightful way to sample Connecticut vintages is to take a drive along the Connecticut Wine Trail , a route that bypasses 15 vineyards (and some beautiful countryside). The trail consists of two sections, in the eastern and the western parts of the state. Blue highway signs mark the trail and the state produces a colorful brochure. Remember: the Winter Wine Trail is very active! a winery tour in winter is a great way to lift your spirits. All the wineries have tasting rooms and all offer at least one tour daily. 860-267-1399.
Stamford Museum and Nature Center Stamford CT
Family Fun on the Farm (Planetarium Included)

The folks who run Stamford Museum and Nature Center at 39 Scofieldtown Road Stamford have a genius gene for making farm life, the outdoors, nature and the sky a fascinating adventure for young children and families. The science and nature attraction is on a 118-acre site and it encompasses a working farm, hiking trails, picnic area, a playground, art galleries, and a planetarium with observatory and regularly scheduled events describing the heavens above. Many special seasonal events and things to do for families include maple harvest, Easter egg hunts, and fall activities. Property includes the Bendel Mansion & Galleries. Open all year, with hours change seasonally. Phone: 203-322-1646.
the shops at yale in new haven CT with VisitNewEngland.com
The Shops at Yale Are Just the Start of Your Exploration

With more than 50 unique boutiques and shops in Chapel Street Historic District and Broadway, Shops at Yale at 255 Crown Street in New Haven has the perfect mix of browsing, shopping, dining and people-watching to fill a weekend. The Shops at Yale are rich with boutiques alongside national retailers like Apple, J. Crew, and Urban Outfitters; bluestone sidewalks and beautifully restored architecture; award-winning restaurants and theaters; and world-renowned museums. Near at hand are public spaces that host lots of fun cultural events (one example among many is the sidewalk chalk art festival in August). Mix your pleasures with a visit to ancient beauty at the Yale Center for British Art, the Peabody Museum, Yale School of Architecture Gallery, and the historic Shubert Theater.
Guy Wolff pottery in Bantam CT
Garden Pottery With Antiquated Inspiration

The potter Guy Wolff is highly respected by people who love fine craftsmanship. Wolff says he is inspired by at 18th and 19th century English flowerpots and centuries old Asian vases. His pottery for use in the garden is sold and collected widely. He works and operates a showroom at a renovated 1740 house at 1249 Bantam Road, 1.1 miles west of Bantam on Route 202. 860-567-5577.
Northwest Park & Nature Center in windsor CT
Year-Round Fun in Nature and a Coffeehouse, Too

Located on Lang Road in Windsor, Northwest Park & Nature Center is a 473-acre recreational facility that has the virtue of staying open and lively throughout the year. There is a nature center, 12 miles of trails to enjoy during the winter and summer, maple sugaring, a Coffee House Concert Series that brings live music to listeners, and more. Annual events include Country Fair, pancake breakfasts, maple sugaring demonstrations, owl prowls, holiday wreath-making workshop and other forms of fun for all ages. Nice outdoor activities for parents and kids. Phone: 860-285-1886
Connecticut Barn Trail
Come Visit Connecticut’s Beautiful Barns

You don’t need to be a photographer or painter to appreciate the beauty of farm barns. These icons of farming life have caught the attention of Connecticut historians, who created a Connecticut Barn Trail. Use the trail and its maps to explore this beautiful countryside at your own pace. The trail has seven routes that highlight barns at farms and farm stands, orchards, wineries, and historic sites. 203-562-6312.
Julia Bookstore in Madison CT
A Bookstore With a Serious Love of Reading

R.J. Julia Booksellers at 768 Boston Post Road in Madison opened two decades ago as an independent bookstore whose mission was, and is, to be a place where words matter and where writers meet readers. The store hosts more than 200 events a year. Authors from all over the country visit the store to inspire, educate, and entertain. A knowledgeable staff, opinionated book selections with shelf-talker tags help book lovers find books that are just right for them. Open daily, Phone: 203-245-3959.
Heron American Craft Gallery Kent ct
Craftsmanship in the Shadow of the Berkshires

During the past 21 years, Heron American Craft Gallery at 16 Main Street in Kent has become a destination for people who are searching out the dynamic, ever changing work of American crafts. This shop presents an explosion of color, wit, and whimsy in the form of unusual playthings, ceramics, jewelry, glass work, sculpture, rugs, and clothing. This shop in the foothills of the Berkshires honors the spirit of handmade goods. Open daily. 860-927-4804.
Farmers Market Trail in Connecticut
Hop-Scotch Your Way Among CT’s Farmers Markets

Summer and fall in particular are the times for harvesting, cooking, and eating fresh produce grown right where you live. Connecticut has devised a Farmers Market Trail – including a very helpful trail map – that guides you to farmers markets, with all the details about days, times, locations, and products. These  are places with live music, entertainments for kids, hand-made goods and gifts. The Trail map tells you where to find farm-to-table eateries, walking trails, art galleries, and historic sites. The map shows ATMs near markets. 
Connecticut’s Sundae Drive trail
For Motivation, Try the Sundae Drive

Connecticut’s Sundae Drive trail with an accompanying brochure and map sends you off on a tasteful adventure along some of the prettiest roads and vistas of the Mystic region of this lovely state.
The drive’s “Tasty Ten” hot spots of creamy flavor includes dairies and ice cream shops in Storrs, Pomfret, Mystic, Plainfield, Old Lyme, New London, Griswold, Salem, and Sterling. A winner for both adults and kids! Brochure and map.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford
Wadsworth Presents a Mix of Art and Entertainment

The marvelous Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford is a grand place to visit, particularly after the mid-decade overhaul of the galleries. Permanent and changing exhibits are always worth a fresh visit. This museum leads the way in providing events and entertainments to showcase and enhance exhibits. These may include films, talks, live music, even Sunday brunches. There’s always something to enjoy. 860-278-2670.
Adventure Rooms in Middletown ct
Knowledge. Experience. Teamwork. Street Smarts

Here’s an intriguing indoor activity for you and your smartest friends. Adventure Rooms at 282 Main Street Extension on Middletown offers a simple challenge: escape from a closed room in less than 60 minutes. You and your teammates will find yourselves in an unfamiliar environment, where you have to rely on common sense and each other to escape the room. You work together to gather objects, find clues, decipher codes, open locks and solve puzzles to find the key that will lead you to freedom. Are you part of the 30 percent who escape? Advance registration is required. Typical group is two to eight people and typical cost is $27 to $30. 860-358-9130.
Boothe Memorial Park and Museum Stratford ct
Boothe Memorial Park Is Entertaining All Year

Boothe Memorial Park & Museum on Main Street in Stratford sits on an idyllic, 32-acre site in the north end of Stratford by the Housatonic River, which was the estate of the Boothe family for many generations. There are many architecturally unique buildings and attractions on the grounds as well as a new, handicapped-accessible playground with two climbing walls. The annual Great Pumpkin Festival is a huge attraction in the fall, while outdoor concerts and Shakespearean plays beckon visitors in the spring and summer. Tours of the historic buildings are seasonal (May - October). The park is open and free of charge year round. 203-381-2046.
Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium at Yale University
Asteroids Are the Opening Act at Leitner Observatory

Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium at Yale University opened in 2009 to the delight of star lovers and planet chasers in New England. Located at 355 Prospect Street, the observatory and planetarium are open to the general public on Tuesday and Sunday nights. The shows will include a live presentation highlighting planets and constellations visible in the night sky, as projected onto the planetarium's 30-foot dome, followed by Passport to the Universe, a digitally projected tour through the solar system, galaxy and beyond. Shows last approximately 35-40 minutes and, weather permitting; telescopes will be set up for observing afterwards. 203-285-8840.
Institute for American Indian Studies Washington CT
American Indian Museum Presents Authentic History

Located just off Route 199 in the town of Washington, the Institute for American Indian Studies museum and educational center focuses on the indigenous peoples of northwestern Connecticut. Changing exhibits highlight Native American culture from across America, while permanent exhibits focus on American Indian living traditions of the northeast. Outdoor exhibits include a replicated Algonkian Village and simulated archeological site. The Museum Gift Shop offers Native American jewelry, crafts, pottery, books and more. Open year-round. 860-868-0518.
Bushnell Park on Trinity Street in Hartford
Beautiful Oasis in the City

Bushnell Park on Trinity Street in Hartford is a wonderful public sanctuary that merits a full-day visit. The park is home to a carousel that dates from 1914 – the golden age of these structures that combine artistry, magic, and simple fun. For people who love the artistry of nature, Bushnell Park is an urban arboretum of rare and native trees. Visitors can pick up a brochure and take a self-guided walk of magnificent trees from many parts of the world. The park also has beautiful fountains, statues, a pond, and a performance pavilion. The park offers free tours of the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch and hosts many public events. Open: May to mid-October. Phone: 860-232-6710.
Ten thousand Villages in Connecticut with VisitNewEngland.com
Ten Thousand Villages Brings the World to You

Visit the Ten Thousand Villages store at 967C Farmington Avenue in West Hartford to browse and purchase folk art, ceramics, textiles, baskets, jewelry, wall hangings, pillows, rugs, mirrors, vases, incense, candleholders, and furniture handmade by artists in the developing world. Enjoy international music, the aroma of gourmet coffee, and rich chocolate. Your fair trade purchase helps improve the lives of thousands of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. 860-233-5470.
new england air museum CT
Historic Aircraft on Display at Air Museum

The New England Air Museum at 36 Perimeter Road at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks is New England’s largest aviation museum and one of Connecticut’s most interesting attractions. It houses more than 80 aircraft and an extensive collection of engines, instruments, aircraft parts, uniforms and personal memorabilia. Within this collection are the Sikorsky VS-44A; a B-29 Bomber; the Silas Brooks Balloon Basket (1870); the Bunce-Curtiss Pusher (1912); the Sikorsky S-39; and a Kaman K-225 helicopter. The museum hosts lots of special events, many of them welcoming to children. Open year-round. 860-623-3305.
Taste of New Haven Food and Drink Tours
Find Food Adventure with New Haven Food Tours

Most of us know that New Haven is famous for its original and authentic pizza, but there is so much more for your palate to enjoy there. Taste of New Haven Food & Drink Tours hosts culinary walking culinary tours of this delightful, historic city. Experienced tour guides lead guests on tours with names and themes like Theater District, Canal Quarter, Goatville, Wooster Square, Pizza and Pints Bike, New Haven Symphony, Latin American Tapas, Pizza Lovers, Live To Eat, Theater District, Latin American Tapas, and On 9. Tours usually last 3 to 4 hours, although the Pizza Lovers Tour and the Pizza & Pints Bike Tour are 6 to 7 hours. Gift certificate available for a unique present. You also may book a private tour! Call and check the website for 203-710-3710.