Gifts For the Dads Who Have Everything

above: Veluxity Exotic Car Rentals in Greenwich makes guys swoon.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, some 70 million American men are dads. This means that millions of spouses and children are stressing about what to get the men in their lives for Father’s Day. The problem is that guys have enough stuff and don’t need any more. In fact, we still have the ties, sweaters and slippers from last Father’s Day! The good news is that this June the trend is toward giving gifts around doing rather than having. Father’s Day gifts from a bucket list make for cool experiences and warm memories well beyond the day itself. He might even invite the family along.

Here, then, are five “experience gifts” dads will enjoy receiving and may actually even use!

FLASHY TEST DRIVE

What father hasn’t fantasized about trading in that family-friendly SUV for a high-end, imported race car, or a stock car for that matter? We’re perfectly happy being dads, of course, but inside of all of us are teenagers itching to go really fast and impress other guys. A day out at Thompson Speedway Motorsport Park (ironically located in the northeastern part of Connecticut called the “Quiet Corner”), allows us to do just that. Why do guys love going to the Speedway? “Um … because we have cool cars?” suggests a sales associate at Extreme Experience (thextremexperience.com), which manages the driving sessions. Dads indeed have their pick of Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis that on the straightways can top 130 mph. Spouses needn’t worry: A safety course precedes the laps. It’s driving back home without getting a ticket that’s a cause for concern!

For exotic car enthusiasts that don’t necessarily have that need for speed, Veluxcity Exotic Car Rental in Greenwich offers daily rentals on a variety of luxury rides—like Rolls Royce and Bentleys. But if dad really wants to make heads turn, you should consider renting him the bright red 2020 Lamborghini Huracán EVO Coupé seen here.

WHITEWATER CANOEING & KAYAKING

Arrange for a kayak rental and drop in at one of Connecticut’s many rivers.

Few outings are more exciting than running the rapids, even on the relatively placid Housatonic or Farmington rivers. Clarke’s Outdoors (clarkeoutdoors.com) in West Cornwall rents canoes, kayaks and rafts for six-, eight- and ten-mile runs down the Housatonic, dropping in at Falls Village, from early May to September. Main Stream Canoes & Kayaks (mainstreamcanoe.com) in Farmington offers multiple drop-in points and up to 12 miles of paddling between Riverton and New Hartford. Whether on the water for one or five hours, the cost is the same. “Gift certificates are great for Father’s Day,” says owner Myra Emrick. “It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s an adventure.” For a family day on the river, she adds, “It’s getting your kids off their damn phones!” Dads, too! Both rivers feature short sections of Class 3 rapids.

For an on-the-water adventure a little closer to home, check out SeaKayak (seakayakct.com) in Westport for rentals or sign up for one of their guided tours to Cockenoe or Sprite Islands.


COOKING CLASSES

A gift certificate to an evening or weekend cooking class is one of those transparently self-serving gifts that can benefit the giver as much as the receiver: “Since taking that class you’ve become an amazing chef! How about cooking dinner from now on?” Classes in making and cooking pasta are plentiful like The Art of Pasta at Wakeman Town Farm (wakemantownfarm.org) in Westport. At Culinary Works (culinaryworks.com), executive chef Julia Deane offers gift certificates for fun, hands-on, day and evening group cooking classes, held at her husband’s Deane Inc. kitchen showroom in Stamford. With themed meals like “Italian Comfort Food” the classes run from three to four hours, are hands-on and end with delicious (well, depending on how Dad did!) dinners of the food just prepared. As the mantra at Culinary Works goes, “It’s all in the experience!”

Register him for a cooking class—and everbody wins!


TICKETS TO LIVE EVENTS

For guys bemoaning getting older, the best gift may be tickets to a concert by any number of iconic bands and top performers on tour this spring and summer. On the road this Father’s Day and beyond are Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins and the Red Hot Chili Peppers; Tim McGraw, George Strait and Jason Aldean; and Springsteen, the Eagles and the Rolling Stones. With most of the band members hovering around 80 years old, it seems appropriate that AARP is sponsoring the Stones’ “Hackney Diamonds Tour.” Joining Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Woods on the tour is original bassist Bill Wyman, who, at 86, may need help getting on and off the stage. By comparison, the rest of us dads will feel pretty young! For the more low-key music fan, some of the best acts in the county, if not the country, regularly perform at The Fairfield Theatre Company in downtown Fairfield (fairfieldtheatre.org) or The Ridgefield Playhouse (ridgefieldplayhouse.org).


A DAY AT THE SPA

Then again, maybe the best experience gift is doing nothing at all. Instead of cooking, paddling, speeding or rocking out, Dad might enjoy chilling at one of the many luxurious spas throughout Fairfield County. At Dream Spa & Salon in Westport (dreamdayspa.com), the “Basics for the Boys” gift package includes a “man”-datory facial, a deep tissue massage and a pedicure. A kind of mission statement at the spa is, “he doesn’t know he needs it but he does.” Adds owner Lori Dodd, “most men won’t often treat themselves to a spa day—they think that it isn’t masculine or manly—but it has been our experience that once men try it, they like it!” For serious health and vanity work for guys who already know they like to be pampered, Element Medical Aesthetics (elementct.com) in New Canaan offers skin tightening, hair restoration and botox treatments.

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