Cornfest, Hay Day, and Parks Galore: 25 Things to Do This Fall in Hartford County

8/23/17 - By Erin McNamee

Fall is my favorite season: there are so many fun activities available in the greater Hartford region in that short stretch of comfortable weather punctuated by New England foliage. Inevitably, by the time November rolls around, there are at least ten things that I wished I’d done but either I didn’t think of them, or I didn’t get around to them. To help you make the most of this fall season, we've compiled a list of fall favorites (including some indoor activities for those rainy days). If you get around to all of them, you’re my hero.


1. Talcott Mountain State Park - Simsbury
Hike to the beautiful Heublein Tower atop Talcott Mountain, accessed via route 185 in Simsbury. The 1.25 mile (one way) tower trail is not too strenuous -- my two-year old was able to complete it with only a quick shoulder ride at the very end. The tower offers panoramic vistas of the New England countryside. Accessible only by foot. Open daily from 10 am-5 pm, Labor Day until October 31.

2. Hubbard Park - Meriden
For a more challenging hike, head to Castle Craig in Meriden’s Hubbard Park. The castle sits atop East Peak, which is 1,007 feet above sea level. If your little one’s legs are tired, drive to the base of the tower via Reservoir Road, open 10 am-4:45 pm, May 1-October 31. The park also has a playground, tennis courts, and the scenic Mirror Lake.

3. Cornfest - Old Wethersfield
7,000 people are expected to attend Old Wethersfield's Cornfest. There will be musical acts, dancer, the WHS band will perform.  There will be a "Best Apple Pie Contest" and free hayrides too.

4. Flamig Farm - West Simsbury
Take a daytime hayride for some fall fun at Simsbury’s Flamig Farm. Pet and feed the animals, go on a pony ride, and visit the farm store. For the older set, brave a nighttime Haunted Hayride.

5. Westmoor Park - West Hartford
Get up close and personal with the animals at Westmoor Park in West Hartford, always a favorite with the littlest crew. Don’t miss the Hayride and Pumpkin Fetstival on 10/6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., for more fall fun activities.

6. Auer Farm - Bloomfield
A 4-H education center just over the West Hartford border in Bloomfield, Auer Farm is a great for their annual fall festival, also on . Their extensive grounds are open to the public 7 days a week to explore.

7. Rails to Trails Bike Path - Simsbury
Explore the multi-use bike trail in Simsbury. Park at the Rotary Playground at Iron Horse Boulevard, bike a mile and loop back to play. Satisfy the appetites you’ve worked up at any of the nearby restaurants on or just off of Hopmeadow Street.

8. Apple Picking - multiple locations
Pick your own apples at one the Hartford area’s many orchards. Mommy Poppins has assembled a terrific list of places to pick apples of many, many varieties. 

9. CT River Ferry - Rocky Hill/Glastonbury
Take a fun ferry across the CT river between Glastonbury and Rocky Hill. A tug boat will arrive and pull you and your vehicle to the other side. The ferry service is open April 1-November 30, Monday-Friday (7 am - 6:45 pm) & weekends (10 am-5 pm). Walk on or bring your car.

10. Pumpkin Patches - multiple locations
Visit one of the area’s many pumpkin patches to pick the perfect pumpkin and enjoy a host of fun fall activities. Many of these places offer hayrides, games, and an assortment of pumpkins.

11. Lyman Orchards Corn Maze - Middlefield
Get lost (and found) in Lyman Orchard’s famous corn maze in Middlefield.  

12. Hay Day - Farmington
Explore Hillstead Museum's beautiful grounds and nature trails. Head to Hay Day on October 1 for a horse-drawn hay ride, face painting, live music, and hearty food and beverages.

13. The New Children’s Museum - West Hartford
Check out the exhibit, Dinosaurs in your Backyard,  at the Children's Museum in West Hartford. Visitors will learn about the dinosaurs that lived in Connecticut during the Jurassic Period. This is a hands-on and interactive exhibit.

14.  Go hiking - multiple locations
Fall is the best time to get high on nature, by climbing up a mountain. Check out the list of hiking trails Mommy Poppins has assembled for you and your family.

15. Farmington Miniature Golf - Farmington
Get in a last round of mini golf before it closes for winter or head to the Haunted Mini Golf Halloween event, held evenings in October, if you dare. Cap it off with pumpkin ice cream at the adjacent ice cream parlor.

16. Stratton Brook State Park - Simsbury
Collect acorns on the walking trails, play on the sandy beach, and skip stones on the pond at scenic Stratton Brook State Park in Simsbury.

17. Fishing Spots - multiple locations
Bring your rod and reel to any of these fantastic, kid-friendly fishing spots before the cold weather sets in.

18. New England Air Museum - Windsor Locks 
This museum in Windsor Locks is offering more activities geared to children ages 3 and up. Kids can play pilot in a replica of a U.S. Navy reconnaissance aircraft, try out a pedal plane, color a craft, follow a scavenger hunt, and more.

19. Wickham Park - Manchester
Explore the eight themed gardens, sensory garden, aviary, playground, indoor nature center, bird sanctuary, and sports facilities, including an 18-hole disc golf course, at Manchester’s Wickham Park. A unique park!

20. MDC Reservoir - West Hartford
Take a loop around the MDC Reservoir off of Farmington Avenue in West Hartford. The 3-mile paved loop circling the water is stroller, bike, and pedestrian friendly! There are many additional trails to explore off of the main loop.

21. Elephant and Piggie’s We're in a Play! - West Hartford
Buy tickets for Playhouse on Park’s theatrical adaptation of "Elephant and Piggie’s We're in a Play!"  December 9 through 17. Any play there must be followed by ice cream next door at AC Peterson’s, a West Hartford institution!

22. CT Trolley Museum - East Windsor
Enjoy the fall foliage on a 3-mile round trip trolley ride; unlimited rides are included with admission. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in October, take a trolley to the pumpkin patch and pick out a perfect pumpkin, then take the next trolley back for pumpkin and face painting.

23. Mill Pond Park - Newington
Mill Pond Park in Newington offers something for everyone: fish at the children’s pond, play on the boundless playground, check out the waterfall, build a fairy house on a wooded trail, play on the tennis courts, or play ball on the soccer and baseball fields and basketball court.

24. Fall Fairs - Hartford
Head to one of CT’s many fall fairs and festivals, headlined by the Southington Apple Harvest, the Durham Fair, and the Berlin Fair.

25. Horsebarn Hill Road - UCONN Storrs
Take in breathtaking fall views on Horsebarn Hill Road while visiting the animal barns and equestrian center. Don’t forget to visit the Dairy Bar for some farm fresh ice cream.

Originally published 9/23/14. 

Photo Credit: Lightcap, Martinedale, Edmonds

Places featured in this article: