Connecticut: Fall Foliage along the Historic Merritt Parkway
The Fall foliage season in Connecticut typically begins mid-to-late September and can run through early November. The best way to take in the colors of the season is through a scenic driving tour. Although there are several recommended routes for different areas of Connecticut, the one below will lead you through Fairfield County along the historic Merritt Parkway. Originally constructed in 1934, the Merritt (Rte. 15) remains one of the last scenic highways in the U.S. Having banned commercial vehicles, and featuring sixty-nine unique bridges designed by architect George L. Dunkelberger, each one representing different 1930’s designs, such as art deco and art moderne, the highway has earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are several stopovers you can make along the drive to get the most out of enjoying the seasonal colors and activities of the Fall. Beginning in Greenwich, for the Audubon Center, take exit 28, turn north onto Round Hill Road, turn left onto John St., the entrance is on the right (613 Riversville Rd). The Audubon Center is located on 285 acres and features 7 miles of walking trails (contact the Center to arrange tours). Back on the Merritt, heading north, in Stamford, you can visit the Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens off exit 35. Follow High Ridge Road (Route 137) north for 1.5 miles to Brookdale Road. Turn left on Brookdale Road, the entrance will be on your right (151 Brookdale Rd). Bartlett offers open gardens and landscapes that feature regional plants characteristic of southwestern New England in addition to 10 trails through different areas of its 91 acre property. Continuing north on the Merritt, take exit 46 to visit the town of Easton and Silverman’s Farm. Off the exit ramp, turn right at the traffic light. You’ll immediately come to another traffic light at Rt. 59. Turn right, heading north on Route 59 (Sport Hill Road). After about 2 1/2 miles you’ll see the farm (451 Sport Hill Rd). The historic farm, which was founded in the 1920’s, offers a variety of seasonal activities including a pick-your-own orchard, pumpkin patch , hayrides and animal farm. To finish off the trip, take exit 49N to visit Jones Family Farms & Winery in Shelton, CT. Follow Route 25 North to stop light. Take a right at light on Route 111 and go for 3.3 miles, then turn right onto Route 110 and go 2 miles. Turn right on Israel Hill Road/Walnut Tree Hill Rd and follow signs for the Homestead Farm and Winery parking lot on your right (606 Walnut Tree Hill Rd). Both the winery and Harvest Kitchen, where farm-style cooking classes are held, are located on the main property. A short distance away at Pumpkinseed Hill, visitors can partake in pumpkin picking, hayrides and try their luck at navigating the corn maze.