Things to do in and around Stamford

Photography: clouds © somchaij – stock.adobe.com

With the kids back in school and the summer’s heat a distant memory, a lot of families tend to move their activities inside during the fall. But they’re missing out on all kinds of outdoor fun that can be enjoyed throughout Stamford. Here are some fresh-air options to consider

 

Photography: © DiMar – stock.adobe.com

Play Bocce Ball at Scalzi Park

Autumn is a great time to play bocce ball here, with the Stamford Bocce League having finished up its spring and summer schedule. The eight bocce courts at Scalzi Park are lighted, which means they’re ready to use on fall evenings when the breeze is still warm. Make sure you wear flat shoes or sneakers to help keep the courts in good shape. Need a refresher on the rules? Go to www.stamfordbocce.com

Did You Know?
The Stamford Open Bocce League Tournament was started 40 years ago. In 1983, the first-ever winners took home the title and a $400 dollar cash prize provided by the Medaglia D’Oro espresso coffee company.

 

Photography: © microgen@gmail.com

Tee Off at Sterling Farms

The City of Stamford operates Sterling Farms, which has a driving range and an 18-hole, par-72 course with rolling terrain through picturesque farm buildings. Lessons (including a junior golf programs) are available, and outdoor dining is on-site at The Stillery Restaurant & Bar. The golf shop has equipment and merchandise for sale, if you need to add something to your bag toward the end of the season.

Did You Know?
Sterling Farms was originally designed by Architect Geoffrey Cornish in 1969. This par-72 course opened in the spring of 1972, and in 2005 it was renovated by Architect Robert McNeil.

 

Dig In at Goodbody Garden

For more than 40 years, members of The Stamford Garden Club have met every two weeks to maintain the Goodbody Garden on the grounds of Fort Stamford in the Westover neighborhood of the city. Anyone can join in and get their hands dirty. Weather permitting, the club members are usually there every two weeks on either a Tuesday or a Thursday morning, as well as on the last Saturday morning of every month. Email goodbodygarden@gmail.com to find out about upcoming events.

 

Go for a Saltwater Fishing Charter

Fish Hunter Charters has multiple boats that head out into Long Island Sound to chase a number of game fish, including species like striped bass, fluke and blackfish. Through early October, day and night charters are available with all fishing equipment and fishing licenses provided. The crew speaks English and Spanish, and provides bottled water. If you want to bring your own drinks and snacks, that’s an option too.

 

Jog the Pine Hill Road and Meander Loop Trail

This is one of the most popular trails at Mianus River Park, drawing birdwatchers, hikers, joggers and leashed dogs, who are also welcome. The loop trail stretches 2.6 miles and is considered an easy distance to cover in just less than an hour. Summertime months are busiest on this trail, so autumn months bring an opportunity to enjoy the scenery with fewer people around.

 

Sing Along at Czescik Park

Community musicians turn the gazebo into a stage at this park in Shippan during early autumn, to perform concerts for anyone who wants to bring a lawn chair or a picnic blanket and listen. (Yes, you can also bring food and drinks for a proper dinner during the show.) Look for details about upcoming performances hosted by Music in the Park at the Czescik page on Facebook.

 

Photography: © Lilya – stock.adobe.com

Go Leaf-Peeping on the Mianus Maze Trail

Of all the trails for leaf-peeping at Mianus River Park, the Mianus Maze Trail is a standout. It’s five miles long, but if you get your fill of the changing colors in the trees faster than most, you can shorten the distance by using cross-through trails along the way. This trail runs along the Mianus River, which means you can take some fantastic photos with the leaves reflecting in the water.

 

Photography: Garvin Burke

Play Chess at Latham Park

This downtown park has chess tables that are free to use, and open to players of all ages and skill levels. The official Chess in Latham Park event happens on Saturday afternoons through the end of September; that’s a good time to pick up some tips by watching the better players and the occasional master. Games here are first-come, first-served. Singles can often find playing partners looking for a match.

 

Photography: © Wasan – stock.adobe.com

Toast at the Beer Garden at Shippan Landing

At this waterside beer garden, you’ll find local craft beers, food trucks and live music. All of it takes place well into the autumn months. (What would a beer garden be without an Oktoberfest celebration?) Purists can work their way down the menu through the pale ales and IPAs, while those with a more adventurous palate can try the canned cocktails, hard ciders and wine.

 

Photography: © Grzegorz – stock.adobe.com

Birdwatch at Cove Island Park

This city-owned park is a birdwatching favorite during the spring and autumn migrations. According to Audubon, many species return here year after year because Cove Island Park is on the coastal migration path. Waterfowl and gulls are among the 287 species of birds that have been documented here in recent years (in addition to dozens of types of butterflies). Bring your bicycles, too; there’s a cycling path on-site.

Did You Know?
The pintail or northern pintail is a duck species with wide geographic distribution that breeds in northern Europe as well as North America.

 

Stroll Down Bedford Street

Much of Stamford’s original downtown has been made over with modern offices, shops and malls, but Bedford Street remains. Its historic charm can be enjoyed from the Ferguson Library to Latham Park, which is often used as a host site for festivals. Do some window-shopping at Bedford Street’s boutiques, or grab a drink at an outdoor table at a café. If you work up an appetite, there are many restaurants to visit nearby.

 

Catch (and Release) a Trout on the Mianus River

There is a Trout Management Area inside Mianus River Park. It’s a section of the river that is open for catch-and-release fishing, using artificial lures and single hooks from September 1 through the third Saturday in April.(If you want to keep what you catch, you have to come back in late spring or summer.) The catch-and-release rules during autumn mean the odds are high of actually landing a fish, since each can be caught more than one time.

 

Photography: contributed by Meads Farm

Learn Horseback Riding at Mead Farm

Mead Farm, with a history dating to 1928, offers year-round horseback lessons for children and adults. There are numerous programs for beginners as well as advanced riders, and participants can choose from private, semi-private or group lessons. Anyone thinking about buying a horse can try the Own-Your-Own-Horse-for-a-Day program, which is a full-day experience of feeding, riding, grooming and more with a staff member’s supervision.

 

Dock-and-Dine at Harbor Point

If you’re a boater, you can grab a first-come, first-served slip at Harbor Point Marina and then walk to your choice of restaurants in the area. The food options include burgers, Italian food, Mexican, seafood, steaks, sandwiches, salads and organic coffee. On weather-friendly days, outdoor dining is an option well into the warmer months of autumn. In addition, there’s a waterfront walking path, if you want to burn a few calories after a big meal.

 

Photography: Ed vanVeen, Edward V Photography.

Take a Hike at Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens

Autumn is a fantastic time to take a hike through the arboretum’s trails—not only because the temperatures are cool and comfortable, but also because the leaves changing colors create one of the most beautiful natural tapestries anywhere on earth. The arboretum has shorter loop trails and longer trails to explore, including along Poorhouse Brook and Forsyth Pond.

 

Paddle the Scenic Waters off Boccuzzi Park

SoundWaters offers kayaks and paddleboards for rental through Labor Day weekend at Boccuzzi Park. You can rent a board for one or two hours, and kids younger than 13 are welcome as long as they’re accompanied by an adult. Dogs are also welcome, as long as they have a leash and a life jacket of their own. Of course, after the rental season ends, you can bring your own board to make the most of warmer autumn days too.

 

Photography: farmers and pies by Garvin Burke: fresh produce contributed

Shop at the Sunday Farmers Market

This weekly farmers market at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center stays open into October, with a special Apple Day of tastings and demos on September 17. You can find fresh produce, flowers, maple syrup, honey, bee pollen, wool, soap and more, all in a family-friendly environment that encourages lingering. It’s a great place to spend a morning gathering ingredients for an autumn Sunday afternoon feast at home.

 

Walk the Dog at Kosciuszko Park

If you want to enjoy waterfront views while Fido gets his sniff on, then the seven-acre Kosciuzko Park is the place for you. There’s a walkway surrounding all the action of the ballfields and the children’s playground, or, you can check out the narrower loop trail that extends closer to the water. Lots of dog owners come here, so remember to bring a leash as well as some basic training skills.

 

Pay What You Can at Fairgate Farm

The Fairgate Farm Market operates on Thursdays through October with a mission to make healthy food accessible to everyone who wants it. Items for sale come mostly from the farm on Stillwater Avenue, as well as from local producers throughout the state. Every item for sale has a standard price, but the system is pay what you can at the register with no questions asked. Yes, you can pay extra to help cover the needs of shoppers who need an assist.

 

Photography: contributed

Ride the Carousel at Mill River Park

The Nissen Carousel stays open during the autumn months for kids of all ages to enjoy. Rides are $2 apiece, or a $10 pass can be purchased for six rides. The colorful, whimsical carousel is named for David and Marian Nissen. It is built with 30 handcrafted animals, including horses, a rabbit, a frog and a seal. When the kids get tired of riding, they can enjoy the on-site outdoor playground.

 

 

 

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