5 Reasons I Love State Parks

This past weekend Connecticut celebrated Connecticut Trails Day with almost 200 events in and around many of the 142 state parks, forests, and beaches. Overseen by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, state parks, forests, and beaches cover 255,000 acres of public space and thousands of trails for hiking and biking. One perk of 2020 and 2021 has been our family’s focus on spending more time outdoors, exploring many of these public spaces. To date, we’ve visited about 30 state parks and you can read about our adventures (and trail recommendations and travel tips) in this post focused in Fairfield County, this post focused in western Connecticut, this post focused on central Connecticut, and this post focused on the Mystic area. We’ve also started to amass proper hiking equipment (headline: you’ll want more than just sneakers) and you can read about our hiking supply post here.

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13 Living History Museums on the East Coast Kids Will Love

While traditional museums have priceless artifacts and works of art that are important to see (read why here), kids tend to be more engaged when they can get up close to history. One of the best opportunities for kids to engage with live interpreters and engage with tangible artifacts is a living history museum. Living history museums have indoor and outdoor exhibits, interactive displays, and daily programs and informative demonstrations. Many museums even offer summer camps for children. Most museums do close during winter hours (some spots keep indoor exhibits open), so we’re sharing this list now, as everything prepares to open for the 2021 season. Here are 13 of our favorite spots on the East Coast and two more that are on our 2021 list:

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7 Family Friendly Hiking Spots in Central Connecticut

One of the good things to come out of the COVID 19 pandemic for our family was the desire to spend more time outdoors. While our family has always enjoyed outdoor spots like the beach, the zoo, and various parks, we’ve never really been “hikers.” Until 2020, we also didn’t have many opportunities to explore our state parks. Connecticut has 142 state parks and state forests, covering 255,000 acres of public space and thousands of trails for both amateur and veteran hikers. We’ve been fortunate to have time this past year to “hit the trails”; read about some of our favorite spots in Fairfield County, western Connecticut, and the Mystic area. This week, we’re sharing seven great spots in Central Connecticut. Note: this is not a comprehensive list- there are so many more spots that are on our “to do” list- but it is a good start:

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The Wadsworth Atheneum Art Museum in Hartford, CT

The longest, continuously open public art museum in America (yes, it beats even the MET in New York City!), the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art was founded by Daniel Wadsworth in 1842 and opened to the public in 1844. The term “atheneum” refers to a “cultural institution that includes a library, works of art and artifact, which is devoted to learning history, literature, art, and science.” Today, the museum has a collection of over 50,000 pieces of art, ranging from paintings and sculptures to furniture, installations, and china.

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10 Family Friendly Hiking Spots in Fairfield County, Connecticut

We’re back with another index of places we’ve explored in the past year. (We’ve previously posted about places to hike in Western Connecticut and places to hike in the Mystic area.) Many of these spots are practically in our backyard and it’s taken us an embarrassingly long time to check them out. They are all free to visit in the off season (October-May), although some locations do rely on donations for upkeep and programming. Most of the locations in this collection are somewhat of a stretch for “hiking” for true hikers, as many of the trails are under three miles and fairly easy to navigate. But we think they’re all great spots for family fun, especially families with younger kids.

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Food Trail #7: Bakeries in Milford, Connecticut

Milford, Connecticut, a small city located on the edge of New Haven County along the Coastal Connecticut I95 corridor, is home to over a dozen named beaches (5 are open to the public), a state park, great shopping and restaurant hubs, and plenty of yummy bakeries. For our seventh food trail (check out #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6), we started on the south side and made our way north, stopping at seven bakeries serving up plenty of homemade pastries, desserts, salads, sandwiches, full meals, and drinks. Here are our top picks:

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