Connecticut

Best Attractions in Connecticut | 2013 Editors’ Choice Awards

Looking for fun in the Constitution State? You won’t have to look far! Read our picks for the best attractions in Connecticut. BEST WET & DRY ADVENTURES BROWNSTONE EXPLORATION & DISCOVERY PARK, Portland In a quarry that dates to the dinosaurs, find 21st-century ziplining, rock climbing, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, wakeboarding, mountain biking, and kayaking. […]

By Yankee Magazine

Jun 03 2013

Looking for fun in the Constitution State? You won’t have to look far! Read our picks for the best attractions in Connecticut. BEST WET & DRY ADVENTURES BROWNSTONE EXPLORATION & DISCOVERY PARK, Portland In a quarry that dates to the dinosaurs, find 21st-century ziplining, rock climbing, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, wakeboarding, mountain biking, and kayaking. Or relax at the Snack Shack. 161 Brownstone Ave. 866-860-0208, 860-342-0668; brownstonepark.comBEST WINERY & GIFT SHOP McLAUGHLIN VINEYARDS, Sandy Hook Sitting on a hilltop terrace, sample one of the vineyard’s seven wines. The former barn, now two intimate tasting rooms, is also a shop stocked with local art and artisanal foods. Try the farm’s own maple syrup. 14 Albert’s Hill Road. 203-426-1533; mclaughlinvineyards.comBEST FACTORY STORE PEZ VISITOR CENTER, Orange It’s a PEZ world, with a 14-foot dispenser, hundreds of thumb-snapping cases, and views of the factory floor. Take home some tiny treats. 35 Prindle Hill Road. 203-298-0201; pez.comBEST ALPACA FARM & STORE SAFE HAVEN FARM, Hampton Soft and gentle, dozens of alpacas–native to the Andes and smaller cousins of the llama–make their home here. Shoppers will appreciate the architecturally intriguing store filled with warm coats, sweaters, socks, hats, and yarns (alpaca wool is ultra-fine). For an extra treat, come in spring or fall to see the newborn crias. (Call before visiting.) 39 Drain St. 860-455-0054; safehavenalpaca.comBEST MILITARY MUSEUM UNITED STATES COAST GUARD ACADEMY MUSEUM, New London New England’s only service academy fills a shipshape exhibit with paintings, models, figureheads, cannon, uniforms, medals, ceremonial swords, and rescue equipment that chronicle its origins. There’s lighthouse history, too. 15 Mohegan Ave. 860-444-8511; uscg.mil/hq/cg092/museumBEST SMALL-TOWN WALKING TOURS HISTORIC GUILFORD WALKING TOURS, Guilford Enthusiastic, knowledgeable guides lead two well-researched tours focused on Early American history and architecture. An extra treat: iPads loaded with historic photos. Town Hall, 31 Park St. 203-233-1026; historicguilford.orgBEST HOME & PERSONAL FURNISHINGS WALKER-LODEN LTD., Madison & New Haven Partners Bill Walker and Peter Loden mix baubles, antique furnishings, fair-trade imports, and unique gifts at both shops–all designed to “make you smile.” 788 Boston Post Road, Madison; 203-245-8663. 258 Church St., New Haven; 203-865-8196. walkerloden.comBEST POTTERY SHOP SAWMILL POTTERY, Putnam More than a dozen artists display tableware, jewelry, mugs, jugs, and sculpture just a few feet from the workshop space. Also, plenty of classes for both kids and adults. 112 Main St. #14. 860-963-7807; sawmillpottery.comBEST SEA CAPTAIN’S HOME CAPTAIN NATHANIEL B. PALMER HOUSE, Stonington In 1820, Captain Palmer sighted uncharted land that later became known as Antarctica. Three decades later, he built this Victorian mansion, now a National Historic Landmark, with an octagonal cupola. Admission includes the nearby Old Lighthouse Museum. 40 Palmer St. 860-535-8445; stoningtonhistory.orgBEST ART-FILLED HOUSE HILL-STEAD MUSEUM, Farmington This hilltop treasure trove of Impressionist paintings is a welcoming early 20th-century home. The intimate sunken garden is the summer backdrop for poetry readings. Perfect for day hikes and picnics. 35 Mountain Road. 860-677-4787; hillstead.orgBEST MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE RICHTER PARK GOLF COURSE, Danbury With potential water encounters on 14 holes, you may want to bring a few extra balls. But don’t fret: Tucked into rolling hills, Richter Park fits all skill levels. Go online for special greens fees, available to locals and nonresidents. 100 Aunt Hack Road. 203-792-2550; richterpark.com