New England's beautiful fall foliage is here again, and that means pumpkins on the porch, in our pies and muffins, and even in our coffee. Picking a pumpkin is a fall ritual for many, and the perfect excuse to get outside on a crisp afternoon. Fairfield County has more than a few great spots to pick out your soon-to-be jack-o'-lantern, and most places offer activities like corn mazes and hayrides as well as mouth-watering cider donuts and other goodies. If you live in central Connecticut, look for your dream pumpkin at one of these patches near Hartford; and no matter where you live in the state, you'll find even more ideas to keep busy this season in our Fall Fun Guide.
Brandee Gilmore made the turn from media maven to mommy with the birth of her first son in 2008. During her 'maven' days, she produced and directed television shows for Bravo and the Outdoor Life Network, before settling into TV newsrooms in Maryland, Washington D.C., New York City and Connecticut as an on-camera reporter, anchor and writer. Aside from moonlighting for Mommy Poppins CT, Brandee also acts as Media Coordinator and PR consultant for Olive My Heart, a gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar shop in Hudson, Ohio. Brandee graduated from Long Island University, Southampton, with a major in marine science and completed her Masters in broadcast journalism at Boston University. Brandee has been married eight years, and has two sons. She lives, bakes obsessively and plays backyard baseball in Trumbull, CT.
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If your kids are anything like mine, summertime is all about finding the coolest playground splash pad. Seriously, where were these things when we were kids? We had either scorching hot asphalt playgrounds, or plastic kiddie pools and popsicles at home. Now, as parents, we can appreciate how great it is for our kids to be able to swing, slide, and cool off in one convenient, nearby spot. Here's our roundup for spraygrounds, splash pads, and water sprinkler parks in Fairfield County; best of all, most are free.
Check out our Connecticut Beach and Water Fun Guide for more ways to stay cool this summer.
There's no shortage of shoreline in Fairfield County, but that doesn't mean you won't pine for an outdoor swimming pool from time to time. Finding one you're allowed to use, however, may be more challenging than finding an affordable beach. Many towns have never had them. Others have shut them down for safety/insurance reasons. That leaves a handful of town pools, and those at private clubs (and ok, yes, countless backyard pools, but we're assuming you gave up your fence-hopping days when Junior came along). Mommy Poppins has done some digging, and found a handful you can pay to take a dip in for the day.
If you find yourself sans extended family this Thanksgiving in Fairfield County, maybe you're miserable, maybe you're counting your blessings. Either way, you've no doubt realized that cooking a feast for a family of four seems somewhat ludicrous. Perhaps going to a restaurant seems even more ludicrous, but hear us out... Some of the best chefs in the state are keeping their doors open, and are probably already prepping for the pumpkin soup, butternut squash ravioli, pecan nut tarts, and eggnog creme brulees they have planned -- not to mention a perfect slice of turkey and NO MESS to clean up. We've also listed restaurants open on Thanksgiving in Hartford County and Litchfield County.
With its close proximity to both New York City (only 30 miles to Manhattan) and Long Island Sound, Stamford offers the best of both worlds. Here you can take advantage of the waterfront perks like crabbing, fishing and swimming at Cove Island and Cummings Park, hop on the adorable Harbor Point Trolley and check out the city or visit the Heckscher Farm babies at the Stamford Nature Center. There's certainly no shortage of things to do in Connecticut's third largest city.
In fact, we've rounded up 50 ideas for you and your crew to check off, whether you live and work in Stamford, or just wanna play for the day. For fun happenings about Fairfield County check out our neighborhood guide and our Connecticut Summer Fun Guide.
Preschool. How could something so full of fun and games be so, so, so agonizingly difficult to select?! Surely, there was a time when it was either 'the one around the corner,' or that 'Montessori one across town'. No more. The Montessori approach has been joined by Bank Street, Project Approach, and Reggio Emilia (and no doubt, others I've never heard of). There's also a wide range in cost. And scheduling. And wait for it…admissions requirements. There are easily hundreds, if not thousands of options for preschool in Fairfield County. Mommy Poppins and her friends have, at least, HEARD good things about the following preschools, or have children enrolled in them. Surely, we've missed some good ones, so please jump into the conversation and let us know where they are (especially you city dwellers out there - Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport)!
A host of museums in Fairfield County and New Haven County offer free admission on certain days of the month or promote free admission all the time for young kids. Check out the latest exhibit at the Aldrich, see a classic at Yale Peabody, or something from the bronze age at Fairfield University. Best part is that you can do it for free during their free admission times in these Fairfield County and New Haven area museums.
When your child takes those first steps into toddlerhood, it becomes obvious that the game has changed. No more baby that sleeps soundly in a carrier, or is amused by being pushed around in a stroller. Toddlers hit the ground running and are ready for some hands-on interactive fun. Those loveable bundles of joy have endless energy and an unquenchable desire to explore their surroundings. That's why we've rounded up 25 places in Fairfield County we know toddlers will love, from active play options to animal fun to sweet treats. Many of the destinations on our list are free, and some of the activities also appeal to older siblings. And for some more indoor fun options check out our Indoor Fun Guide.
Check out our top 25 tot spots and if we missed any of your favorites, please add them in the comments.