Wait! Don’t blink! Summer’s almost over!

Like it or not, there are some clear signs that fall is around the corner. The mums are out at Stop and Shop. My older son’s preschool just sent out their “back to school” packet, and our first tuition payment is already due (6 days ago, actually, oops). Early apples are ready at the local pick-your-own farms. I am compulsively buying and hording crayons and makers when I see them on sale for just pennies in Target, Staples, and Wal-Mart. It’s coming.

Now, fall happens to be my favorite season. Part of me thinks I became a teacher because I just loved back to school that much. The thought of not having it was too much to bear. However, even us hardcore fall nuts feel the need to savor the end of summer. Don’t let the last three weeks (!) of August pass you by! If you’ve been too busy to find some local fun to help you end your family’s summer with a bang, here are some ideas…

  • The Farmer’s Cow events around CT include free ice cream in Colchester on August 14th at 7pm, and an incredible Chef to Farm (yes, it’s backwards on purpose!) dinner on August 11-12 in Lebanon featuring the chef from Max’s Oyster Bar. YUM!
  • Belltown Orchards of South Glastonbury offers many delicious pick-your-own options, and they even offer free tractor rides to the fields- an added bonus for the kids. We used their amazing blueberries to make some fantastic jam. I’ve picked blueberries for more summers than I’d like to count, and this year’s crop might be the best I’ve ever seen.
  • If you’re in central CT, Lyman Orchards in Middlefield offers nearly endless opportunities for outdoor family excitement, including a pirate ship sunflower maze, tethered hot air balloon rides on August 11-12 (this weekend!), many pick-your-own options, a peach festival on Saturday, August 18th, and a clam bake on August 25th.
  • Blue Back Square in West Hartford offers free outdoor music on Thursday evenings during August so you can enjoy some tunes while you shop and dine.
  • The Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut has plenty of hands-on fun for children from babies until about age 7, and you can even check out a pass from the museum (included in the price of admission) for the lovely McCook’s Point beach and park (about 2 blocks across the street) for 2 hours of additional fun!
  • Within walking distance of the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut (in Niantic) is Gumdrops and Lollipops, perhaps my favorite candy store ever. Not only do they have a great selection of childhood favorites and amazing fudge, but they sell Salem Valley Farms Ice Cream at their ice cream window and kid’s meals in sand pails! Grab a “pail meal” and eat it on the beach for a memorable day together.
  • The gorgeous Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown will be holding its annual open air market and festival on Sunday, August 26th from 10am-4pm. This event features live music, local farm produce, prepared foods, and artisan creations for sale on the lovely grounds of the mansion. Families are not only welcome here, but encouraged to bring a picnic and spend the day!
  • Debate abounds here in CT over which state park is the best, but controversy aside, did you know you can check out a state parks pass for free from your local library? It’s true! My vote, by the way, is for Rocky Neck Beach…so far, this is the softest sand I’ve found here on our rocky New England coast (don’t let the beach’s name fool you!).
  • Head over to Mystic Seaport for complimentary admission from 5-8pm on Sundays through August 26th as part of their Summer Music Sundays!

Whatever you do, consider this your official notice: Fall is coming. Get out there and savor the end of summer! 

Ice cream and an ocean breeze on the porch of Gumdrops and Lollipops in Niantic!

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