A Connecticut fall is usually full of activities. Even with Covid-19 related restrictions once again in effect across some Connecticut towns, this autumn promises to serve up plenty of excitement. So, here are our top 7 picks for enjoying the beauty of the season this fall.
Continue a Connecticut Fall Tradition
Apple picking has long been a fall tradition in Connecticut. Fortunately, many orchards remain open and still serving customers in 2020. While an exceptionally wet year, coupled with COVID restrictions, may mean an altered slate of activities at many farms, you’ll still find fruit for the picking.
Our usual favorite is Lost Acres Orchard in Granby. Conditions this year are promising a bounteous pick-your-own season. You’ll also find a harvest of pre-picked apples available as well as fresh-pressed cider and exceptional baked goods. Head over at lunch time and enjoy a scrumptious farm-cooked meal on the outdoor covered patio.
Another favorite for family fun is Karabin Farms in Southington. Due to CDC guidelines, the petting zoo is closed, and hayrides have been shelved, but pick-your-own fruit is available if you don’t mind a quick stroll into the orchard.
Pick a Perfect Pumpkin or Even a Mum
What would a Connecticut fall be without pumpkins and mums? Fortunately, the current environment hasn’t put a damper on the growth of these bright orange orbs or their flower counterparts. Both can be found in abundance across the state and even just over the border in Massachusetts.
Meadowview Farms and neighboring Coward Farms, located in Southwick, just across the state line inside the Connecticut notch, offer plenty of both. For added fun, little ones can take a ride on the Coward Express locomotive.
Taking up temporary residence onsite is the highly portable and totally delicious Cinnamon Saloon. Featuring smoothies, delectable coffee beverages, seasonal desserts and some of the most famous cinnamon rolls on the fair circuit, it’s hard to pass up a stop at Coward’s this fall.
Other locations with pumpkins for the picking include Brown’s Harvest in Windsor, still offering a full slate of fall-themed fun, including hayrides and a 6-acre interactive corn maze. The 400-acre Jones Family Farm offers pick-your-own pumpkins this season.
Be sure to check farm websites before heading out to understand all COVID-related safety measures in place. You may be required to purchase a ticket in advance at these locations to ensure proper social distancing.
Enjoy Connecticut Fall Colors on a Scenic Drive
Fall foliage may be a little late to bloom across the state, thanks to extremely wet conditions this fall. As soon as those maples start popping though, it’s the perfect time for a Connecticut road trip.
Some of our favorite Connecticut fall driving routes crisscross the northern hills, where autumn usually brings a riot of color. Try picking up Route 44 from Avon and heading west through Canton. You’ll tour the old mill town of Winsted before the elevation starts to climb.
Wind your way through scenic Norfolk and follow signs toward Haystack Mountain. A drive drenched in fall color leads nearly to the top of the mountain where a short trail traverses the rest of the way to the Haystack Mountain Tower. From here, you’ll catch full views of blanketed valleys alive in the richest shades of the season, as well as a glimpse of what the eastern mountains of New York State have to offer.
From here, continue north on Route 272 toward Campbell State Falls. Another short trail through colorful forests will lead you to the 100- foot falls. After your visit, you can retrace your way back or hit some backroads to discover your own Connecticut fall surprises.
Another Connecticut fall driving route to consider is Route 8 out of Waterbury. While the initial mileage is highway travel, the road is sparsely occupied and crosses some spectacular countryside, particularly when covered in fall color.
At Winsted, the highway ends and travel becomes the standard two-lane fare. You can continue on Route 8 north past Colebrook reservoir and into Massachusetts, where a right on Route 57 takes you through quintessential New England villages and hamlets, to Route 189 south back into Connecticut. Be sure to stop at the Granville Scoop right before the Connecticut state line, for some of the creamiest ice cream in the area.
Another alternative is to pick up Route 20 East just past Winsted. This scenic drive rounds the stunning Barkhamsted Reservoir and tours the scenic Tunxis State Forest. Either alternative to this Connecticut fall driving route will cross through Granby, where local IPAs are being served up at Cambridge Brewhouse, before the road terminates at interstate 90.
Enjoy a Connecticut Fall Hike
If you’re really looking to soak up some Connecticut fall color and enjoy the autumn foliage, there are fewer opportunities as sensory rich as a setting out on one of Connecticut’s hiking trails. Case Mountain Preserve in Manchester offers valley views, including the distant Hartford skyline, and wooded pathways over historic park-like trails.
The 2.5-mile roundtrip hike to the top of Talcott Mountain in Simsbury leads to colorful vistas and the added bonus of the historic Heublein Tower. Views from the top of the 165-foot structure reach as far as New York on a clear day offering plenty of opportunities for ogling the stunning fall foliage.
Enjoy Connecticut Fall Color from the Water
While summer is a prime time to get your feet wet and kayak the state’s waterways, autumn in Connecticut can’t be beat for beauty. Gliding peacefully across the water’s surface as the stunning leaves sway overhead and drift gently down around you adds an additional dose of tranquility to any day. Just feel the stress melt away.
Kayaks can be rented at Collinsville Canoe and Kayak in Canton directly across from the historic town center as well as other locations throughout the state. However, we like the Farmington River here as the calm water makes for an easy paddle both up and downstream.
Take a Fall Beach Stroll with Fido
As cooler temperatures roll in, Connecticut’s beaches open up to dogs, making fall in Connecticut the perfect time for taking a beach stroll with your furry friend.
Hammonasset State Park allows dogs on walking trails year round, offering a pleasant stroll beside the crashing waves at any time of year. But to enter the sandy beach area, you’ll need to wait until October 1st, according to the Friends of Hammonasset website. Dogs are permitted on the beach until April 1. Sherwood Island State Park also offers open beach access to dogs and their owners during the same date range.
Visit Connecticut’s Lighthouses
Visiting the many lighthouses that dot the Long Island Sound is a worthy fall adventure, especially when you consider that some are rumored to be haunted. What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than by communing with a ghost who resides over a watery beacon?
While some of Connecticut’s lighthouses can be visited by land, the majority require a short boat trip. Traditional tour providers, such as the Cross Sound Ferry, have recently reopened, offering narrated tours of lighthouses located within the Long Island Sound., but Captain Dave of Pelican Adventures is serving up tours by reservation, this fall.