By Peter Vey
Whether you’re hiking through the mountains or nibbling your way through the annual display of reds, yellows and oranges, there are plenty of leaf-peeping opportunities and trails in CT that are sure to inspire you on your travels.
ULTIMATE CONNECTICUT FALL FOLIAGE TOUR
Route 169 (in eastern Connecticut) and Route 7 (in western Connecticut) are both good options to begin your autumn tour. You’ll find many homes, schools and churches along Route 169 that were built during Colonial times. Spend a few hours in these small hamlets and unspoiled forests, and you may almost forget what century it is. Driving down Route 7 alongside the Housatonic River is also a great choice for sightseeing.
One of the best ways to view the changing colors is from a lookout or tower. Many state parks and forests, such as Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden offer high vantage points from which to see a panoramic display of the trees. The tower will be open weekends only through Sept. 21 due to construction.
The Connecticut Office of Tourism calls the Lower Connecticut River Valley the ultimate foliage tour. Devil’s Hopyard State Park, near the east side of the Connecticut River in East Haddam, provides a return to the pristine serenity of times past and offers a stunning view of the landscape. And in October, Connecticut River Expeditions offers foliage cruises on the RiverQuest, a relaxing way to see the stunning foliage.
CULINARY DISCOVERIES & ANTIQUE TRAILS IN CT
While it’s common to come to Connecticut just to see the foliage, the state is also home to a number of food and activity trails. Connecticut has a rich and thriving chocolate industry. The Chocolate Trail is a favorite of both couples and families alike.
There are wonderful chocolate factories, shops and cafes located all over the state, but Fairfield County, in particular, is home to some legendary stops. Grandma Josie’s Confections in Monroe is one popular mom-and-pop store.
Le Rouge Chocolates by Aarti in downtown Westport is a must-stop for chocolate lovers. It offers a selection of truffles and European ganache cakes. Fascia’s Chocolates is another renowned destination farther north in Waterbury. Here, guests can see how chocolate is made and make their own chocolate bar.
Connecticut is also home to some of the highest-rated pizzerias in the country. With so many options, a journey through the Connecticut Pizza Trail is a must-do. Most say that New Haven is the pizza capital of Connecticut. This makes sense, as the town is home to two of the most legendary pizza spots: Pepe’s and Sally’s. Both use traditional coal-fired ovens to bake their pies.
Still hungry? Get your fill of regional clam chowders along the Northeast “Chowda Trail.”
History lovers might want to hit the Connecticut Antique Trail. For a route that combines the best of both worlds – antiques and pizza! – take Interstate 95 from Mystic to Stamford and discover dozens of great pies and historical goodies on your travels.