This week, Eco-Adventurer Contributor, Maryann Scaccia, previously Vice President of KB Network News, now mother to two awesome boys and contributor to Eco-Adventurer and Jaunt Magazine, takes us to Connecticut to show our curious readers her secret tips for families traveling through Connecticut’s bucolic Fairfield County.
Connecticut typically conjures up images of exclusive country clubs, candy colored polo shirts and weathered old barns, but the Nutmeg State has so much more to offer – especially for families in search of some good old-fashioned fun in Fairfield County.
So whether you’ve got a week or a weekend, here’s your guide on where to go:
If you like skimming stones on a pristine lake, foraging mushrooms and watching woodpeckers (and who doesn’t) then Selleck’s Woods in Darien is the ideal place to get lost for a couple of hours. Visitors to this nature preserve would never guess they are just a stone’s throw off of one of the busiest sections of the I-95. The roar of road trippers, truckers and commuters is muted by the densely wooded surroundings and the numerous pathways, ponds, marshes, and streams within this sanctuary provide the ideal setting for a morning of quiet introspection or a journey of discovery and wonder. Songbirds, waterfowl, butterflies, turtles, raccoons, and chipmunks are constant company, while chairs carved from fallen trees can be found scattered throughout the landscape.
Sheffield Island & Lighthouse
It would be remiss to visit Connecticut without touring a lighthouse and the Sheffield Island Lighthouse won’t disappoint. Activated in 1868, the lighthouse was in service for 34 years and today is maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers. The cruise to the lighthouse is nearly as informative as the tour itself and a spectacular way to take in an alternate perspective of the coastline and the outlying islands.
Imagine stepping back in time a few decades to and you just might land in Rowayton. Situated along the shores of the Long Island Sound and the Five Mile River, Rowayton is as an authentic fishing village filled with salty seafarers and a charming main drag where characters young and old swap stories in the street.
Start your day at with an invigorating kayaking adventure down the river, where you’ll get a bird’s eye view of a multitude of magazine worthy waterfront homes all the while exploring seldom seen inlets, rocky shorelines and dramatic vistas.
Once you’ve worked up a hearty appetite, head to Rowayton Seafood, where locals congregate for frosty pints and authentic seafood while taking in gorgeous views. If a quick meal is what you’re after soft shell crab sandwiches and lobster rolls are made to order at the riverfront seafood market just outside the restaurant.
Greenwich Point is hands down one of the more beautiful recreational areas in Fairfield County –thousands of visitors each year come to enjoy the sprawling sandy beaches, grass covered dunes and numerous walking trails that wind along the coastline and through marshes, groves and gardens. With 147 acres to explore, it wouldn’t be wrong to plan for an entire afternoon here. There are plenty of things to do, including jogging, walking, cycling, boating, fishing, sailboarding, sun bathing, and swimming– or you could just pack up a picnic and head to a shorefront table on the peninsula’s southwestern tip to squint at the Manhattan skyline across the water.
From late August through October it’s crunch time in Fairfield County – for apple lovers anyway. Whether it’s Honey Crisp or Golden Delicious that takes your fancy, ‘tis the season to head to the orchard to pick your own and there really is no better place than Silverman’s Farm in Easton, CT. Founded in the 1920s, this is one of the oldest operating farms in the area and an all around wholesome day out, complete with tractor rides, a petting zoo and of course a plentitude of apples.
New England is an abundance of little known treasures and one of the best ways to really discover the heart of this locale is to hit the road. Who knows, a white crane may proudly glance up at you just so, a flock of turkeys may ramble across your path or you might just happen upon a couple of cute kids selling the best 25 cent lemonade you’ve ever sipped from a clear plastic cup. Soak up your surroundings and maybe just maybe by the end of your visit you too will feel totally at ease in a candy colored polo shirt and a pair of boat shoes.