Charming Destinations for Kid-Free Outings Abound in Connecticut
From well-known cities like Hartford and New Haven to quaint fishing villages and cheerful beach towns, Connecticut offers many great destinations for romantic getaways for two. And if you're traveling with the family in tow, you can always find a way to give the kids the slip for a few hours or more to experience some of the state's more grown up friendly delights. Here are some suggestions.
Theater Night in New Haven
New Haven, the "Cultural Capital of Connecticut," is a delightful destination for a romantic night out at the theater followed (or preceded) by dinner and drinks. Among numerous fine venues for live entertainment in New Haven is the historic Shubert Theatre (247 College St., New Haven, CT), whose stage has been graced by such acting talent as Paul Newman, Julie Andrews, Gene Kelly and Katherine Hepburn. It continues its long tradition of hosting major Broadway musicals along with top-notch contemporary theatrical productions, so check the schedule for a show that appeals to both of you. The Yale Repertory Theatre, Legacy Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre and Elm Shakespeare Company also add to New Haven's cultural offerings. You're spoiled for choice, too, when it comes to finding a great restaurant for a romantic dinner. Authentic Italian, farm-to-table fare, sushi and French cuisine, among others, are all showcased by New Haven's dining scene.
Toast to the Wine Trail
When you've managed to steal away a weekend without the kids, spend some time exploring the Connecticut Wine Trail and raise a glass to your good fortune. Connecticut boasts more than 37 farm wineries and vineyards, with at least one in every county, making the state the premier viticulture region of New England. Along with samples—or full glasses if you wish—of fine wines, a custom tour of the Wine Trail promises spectacular views of the countryside that change with every season. Some wineries are open year-round and offer outdoor patios as well as indoor tasting rooms, while others close in winter. Many include on-site restaurants and offer live music.
Old-Fashioned Fun at the Drive-In
If getting a babysitter and catching a movie is your go-to date night, put a fun, nostalgic twist on the idea during an Eastern Connecticut getaway by going to a drive-in movie. Mansfield Drive-In Theatre (228 Stafford Rd., Mansfield Center, CT) presents first-run double features on three giant screens, April to September, rain or shine. Pull into your parking spot, tune your car's FM radio to receive the movie's soundtrack and settle in with your other half to enjoy two movies in a row—just the two of you with no kids in the back seat.
Beaches and Bike Rides
Enjoy the serenity of nature with a kid-free daytrip to Sherwood Island State Park (Sherwood Island Connector, Westport, CT), which is home to one of Connecticut's best beaches along with shady picnic groves, a nature center and an observation deck over a wildlife-rich marsh. You can relax or stroll along the beach, go for a swim in Long Island Sound when the weather's warm or rent bikes from nearby Westwood Bike Rentals (15 Cross Hwy., Westport, CT) and explore the park on two wheels. Sherwood Island State Park is open year-round.
Seaside Village Sojourn
With its small-town atmosphere, coastal trails, old stone lighthouse and fishing-boat-filled harbor, the charming village of Stonington, CT, is seemingly designed for a romantic weekend away. Start your day sharing coffee at a cozy B&B, then peruse local boutiques or go to the Farmers Market at the Town Docks for fresh produce and home-baked goods, mid-May through October. Don't forget to take a stroll to DuBois Beach. Dinner could be a table for two with candles and wine at a fine dining restaurant or something a little more casual, but it should certainly feature the freshest seafood caught just hours ago. End the day watching the sun sink over Stonington Harbor.
- Shubert Theatre: History
- Visit New Haven: Dining
- Connecticut Office of Tourism: Making the Most of the Wine Trail
- Connecticut Department of Agriculture: Connecticut Farm Wineries and Vineyards
- Connecticut Office of Tourism: Mansfield Drive-In Theatre & Marketplace
- Mansfield Drive-In Theatre & Marketplace: FAQs
- Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection: Sherwood Island State Park
- Stonington Borough Connecticut: Top Ten Things to Do
A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.