Take a Day Trip to the Country: Easton, CT
If you're just about 'over' the pool, the park, the trek to camp, maybe your kids are too. Perhaps it's time for a break from the suburban summer monotony -- time for a drive to the country. Fortunately, in Fairfield County you don't have to be in the car for much more than fifteen minutes to pass over to the pastoral side of things. And Easton makes it easy-peasy to make a day of it, with the majority of its hotspots on a main drag, and well within a mile or so of each other.
Just hop off the Merritt at exit 46 and head north on route 59. You're just minutes from the fresh air you're seeking (and to prove it, your cell signal will immediately start cutting in and out :)). May we suggest you start the day at the treasured Silverman's Farm. You've got options here -- start in the store with some coffee, cider and fresh baked goods, at their animal farm across the street, or in the orchards. Early apples are now in season. To pick your own, purchase a collecting bag inside the store (typically about $16 -- it holds a LOT of fruit), and then wait for your ride out by the orchard entrance. (The rules are typically two people, including children, per bag, so call ahead if you want to be clear on what you'll pay and how many peaches you'll be coming home with)! Once your work is done, carefully cross 59 and take the kids to the petting zoo. That is, unless you don't have cash ($5 adults; $3 kids) ... go back into the store and buy passes there with your credit card. Once inside the animal farm, whip out some quarters, buy those kids some feed, and let them squeal with delight tossing yum-yums to the goats, llamas, buffalo, emus and whatever else you find. After you've made your way around, hit up the hand-washing station and let the little ones run amok on the tractor-shaped playsets. You can toss your stuff onto one of the picnic tables under the big tent nearby, and sink your teeth into one of those peaches ... you know, when you're not refereeing the kids.
At this point, the 'I'm hungries' will be fast approaching, and you've got a decision to make -- the simple stopover to the Easton Village Store, or a short jaunt over to the legendary Olde Blue Bird Inn on Black Rock Turnpike. The Village Store is about a 100 yards up the road, and serves deli sandwiches, salads, ice cream and short-order standbys like eggs and burgers . You can also snag that box of pasta you need while you're there. Meanwhile, the Blue Bird is about ten minutes away, and a landmark famous for its pancakes, muffins and daily specials. (FYI: They're only open 'til 2pm Mon-Sat). Either way you'll be taken care of. If you pick the Blue Bird, locals say there's a small playground in Toth Park, right next door.
Alright Mom, you're always saying 'Eat your veggies,' (I bet you said it during lunch), but right now all you've got in tow is fruit! Hop back in the car and head for either Sport Hill Farm (a wee bit north of Silverman's on 59), or Sherwood Farm, a wee bit south of the Village Store, toward the Merritt. You can't go wrong -- both have a beautiful selection of fresh, organic vegetables. (The lady at Sport Hill has actually pulled carrots out of the ground for me -- I was so spun out I had to update my FB status immediately. Another customer told me the same thing happened to her with an escarole request). Both farms have chickens the children can feed, but Sport Hill will provide the goods for you. Sherwood has been there since the 1700s and boasts a playset, a pet T-rex and live bees built into the wall of the market -- you've never seen anything like it. Both have CSAs, which would keep you coming back on a regular basis, and can tell you I was COVETING the baskets people were toting to their cars at Sherwood. I promise, you'll leave the country feeling inspired to go home and cook dinner -- that alone makes Easton worth the trip!
451 Sport Hill Rd.
Easton Village Store
440 Sport Hill Rd.
Olde Blue Bird Inn
363 Black Rock Tpke.
Sport Hill Farm
596 Sport Hill Rd.
355 Sport Hill Rd.
Originally published 8/5/12.