During this time of year, it’s common to look for any excuse to spend time outdoors. The weather is ideal for an afternoon walk across the crunch of freshly fallen fiery red, orange and yellow leaves. The wind invigorates you to keep moving forward to see what lies beyond the wild peace of Mother Nature in the fall.
If you are wondering where to go in order to fully experience Connecticut during the months of autumn, here are some local nature centers and preserves, where opportunities to hike, take part in educational programs, and of course, enjoy the beautiful views of New England’s fall foliage are available.
In Fairfield County alone, there are numerous locations protected by local conservation societies and centers. Acres of unscathed land await, providing the perfect day-trip with family and friends. Visit a local CT Audubon Society Center, two of which are located in Greenwich and the town of Fairfield. At both of these spots, visitors can enjoy education programs and gain much information about the plants and animals that call this area home. You can then experience this freshly gained knowledge first-hand by exploring one of many hiking trails through both centers’ hundreds of preserved acres. Journey through 285 acres of woodland, wetland and meadow habitat at the organization’s Greenwich location, or enjoy one of the Fairfield Society’s nature exhibits. Meet owls, hawks and vultures up-close at a “Live Birds of Prey” Compound, which is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Other local Fairfield County nature centers include Stamford Museum and Nature Center, Danbury’s Old Quarry Nature Center, Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton, which boasts expansive acreage for hiking and observing the fall foliage, as well as more educationally based facilities, such as New Pond Farm in Redding and Westport’s Earthplace. Don’t miss out on the upcoming Earthplace autumn event “Turkey Walk and Trot,” where interesting information on turkeys will be discussed while scouting them out on the center’s protected grounds.
If you live in Litchfield County or want to have a Litchfield weekend getaway, stop by the Sharon Audubon Center, a sanctuary that protects wildlife and their natural habitats, and educates children and community members about the wonders of the natural world. The center includes the Emily Winthrop Miles Wildlife Sanctuary, which, thanks to the donation of former poet Emily Winthrop Milles, has been connecting people to nature and their local, wild surroundings for over 40 years. Become acquainted with your surroundings as you walk alongside Miles Pond, which boasts some of the best views, wildlife and fall foliage of the region. Flanders Nature Center in Woodbury, which offers exploration trails, educational programs and more, is another great option. Perhaps the most well known conservation center in Litchfield County is The White Memorial Conservation Center, where 4,000 acres of rolling hills and wildlife await. If you want more than just a brisk, fall hike on the center’s over 35 miles of trails, this spot has various additional outdoor recreational opportunities including bird watching, boating on Bantam lake and River, and even camping.
Let’s not forget about Connecticut’s beautiful shoreline. In Madison, spend the afternoon at Meigs Point Nature Center at Hammonasset Beach State Park. Here you will find some of the most beautiful sites on the coast, in addition to multiple programs and events through the environmental learning center, which hosts a variety of native animals. Bushy Hill State Park in Ivoryton, a village of Essex, contains over 700 acres of diverse land ideal for fully enjoying the colors of fall. Rocky Neck State Park, located in East Lyme, is the place to be for hiking beach-style through its various trail systems complete with salt marsh viewing platforms and ideal spots to fish and crab.
These are just a few nature and land preservations throughout the state. So, next time you’re wondering what to do on a sunny, brisk day in November, try out one of these sacred destinations, and become invigorated and enlightened by all the wonders and beauty of New England in the fall.