Autumn is glorious time to spend time in Litchfield, walking the trails and admiring the fall foliage, dining al fresco on warm days, picking pumpkins, and attending all the wonderful seasonal events. Here’s a rundown on some of the season’s highlights.
Bunnell Farm Corn Maze, Weekends 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The corn maze at the landmark Bunnell Farm opened Labor Day Weekend and is open 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends through September, and then 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October – with some special “flashlight nights” added in.
This year’s theme is Litchfield itself and farmer Rick Bunnell explained on Facebook that he put a lot of time into the design that celebrates landmarks including the First Congregational Church, the Litchfield Law School, and the former Litchfield County Courthouse (in the process of being converted into a boutique hotel). Adding to the fun, maze runners can search for the answers to six questions.
Check out the corn maze aerial video Bunnell posted to Facebook.
Bunnell Farm is located at 498 Maple St. For information: 860-567-9576 or [email protected].
Family Nature Day at White Memorial, 9/23, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
White Memorial’s annual Family Nature Day is one of the most popular and anticipated family events in Litchfield.
The 41st annual version features a long list of great presenters. Brain Bradley will be here with his beautiful free-flying hawks and falcons. Riverside Reptiles’ Brian Kleinman is perhaps the greatest mind in reptiles in the state. Learn about North America’s only marsupial with Ferncroft Wildlife Rescue and their Opossum Ambassadors. Meet a Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, and more with Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation and Education Center.
Gerri Griswold, The Bat Lady (and White Memorial’s Director of Administration and Development) returns with Betty the Big Brown Bat, and the Stamford Museum and Nature Center presents Edible Insects. There will be music, guided nature walks, information booths, horse drawn wagon rides, and yummy food including the popular pie sale. There’s also an artisan market, and a silent auction that can be accessed online.
Litchfield Land Trust Fall Sunset Party, 9/29, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
The Litchfield Land Trust’s annual Fall Sunset Party is a fun evening of music and food to support the trust’s mission of preserving land in Litchfield and making special landscapes available to the public with a network of trails.
This year it’s being held in the Jenson Barn at the base of Prospect Mountain (one of the land trust’s marquee preserves).
The evening features live music by Dim Lights, Thick Smoke, food catered by Saltwater Grille, and wines and spirits from Gathering Harvests and Litchfield Distillery, including Litchfield Land Trust’s signature drink, The Easement.
There’s also a silent auction featuring art, gift certificates, jewelry, and more.
The cost per person is $85, or you can enhance your support by becoming a “Conservationist” for $250 and receive two complimentary tickets.
Hawk Watch at Topsmead State Forest, 10/7, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
A free Hawk Watch at Topsmead State Forest is being presented by the Friends of Topsmead State Forest in collaboration with the Litchfield Hills Audubon Society (LHAS) and Housatonic Valley Association (HVA).
Participants will gather at the Welcome Center at Topsmead. Ann Orsillo, an avid bird watcher and member of the Education Committee from the Litchfield Hills Audubon Society, will introduce and guide the hawk watch.
Participants are encouraged to bring a lawn chair, binoculars, and water. The hawk watch will be followed by refreshments, information about the collaborating organizations and a brief talk by Colleen Stradtman, President of the Friends of Topsmead State Forest. She will speak about the mission of the Friends of Topsmead and future plans.
16th Annual Harvest Bounty Brewfest, 10/7, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
As of Sept. 13, Litchfield Community Center had 19 Connecticut craft brewers of beers, wine and spirits lined up for its annual Harvest Bounty Brewfest.
The brewfest also features two live bands, Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Stache and three food vendors: I Know a Guy Deli & Food Truck, Rich’s Wings & Things and Brits Brand (scones and more).
There will be lawn games and fire pits at an event being held rain or shine. (There’s a large tent and the indoor atrium if weather is inclement.) Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Litchfield Community Center’s program and activities.
The list of participants (still growing) includes:
5th State Distillery ~ Athletic Brewing Company ~ Back East Brewing ~ Broad Brook Brewing ~ Charter Oak Brewing ~ Clocktown Brewing Co. ~ Evening Sky Brewing Co. ~ Half Full Brewery ~ Litchfield Distillery ~ Little Red Barn Brewers New England Brewing Co. ~ New England Cider Co. ~ Nineteen 70 Something Distillers ~ Owl’s Brew ~ Quirk Works Brewing & Blendery ~ Reverie Brewing ~ Two Roads Brewing Co.~ Watson Farmhouse Brewery ~ Woodbury Brewing Co.
Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door and $15 for designated drivers. (A special glass guaranteed to the first 150 registrants.)
CJR Car Show, 10/8, 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
The Connecticut Junior Republic’s Cars for Kids show is one of the best vintage, classic, muscle and sports car shows of the season.
Spectator parking opens at 8 a.m. and admission is $5 per car. Judging takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and more than 20 trophies will be awarded at 2:30 p.m.
Breakfast sandwiches, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, and beverages will be sold. A bake sale will be conducted by The Litchfield Aid of CJR.
There also will be farm tours and hayrides and visitors may purchase autumn produce and products from CJR’s culinary arts, farm, wood shop, and other vocational classes.
Proceeds from this event will support CJR’s care, treatment and education services for children, youth, and families in locations throughout the state.
The show is sponsored by the Valley Collector Car Club and the Litchfield Hills Historical Automobile Club, and the media sponsor WZBG, 97.3 FM.
CJR is located at 550 Goshen Rd. For more information, call 860-567-9423, or visit CJR’s website. The rain date is Oct. 15.
Scarecrows in the Meadow
The Litchfield Historical Society’s 4th Annual Scarecrows in the Meadow, a community event for families to celebrate the end of the harvest season, will be on display in the Tapping Reeve Meadow from Oct. 14 – 31 and open for visiting every day from dawn to dusk.
An Opening Celebration will be held Saturday, Oct. 14, from 1 – 3 p.m. in the Tapping Reeve Meadow. Everyone is invited to explore the assembly of more than 50 scarecrows created by local businesses, non-profits, and families. The Opening Celebration will feature a scarecrow-making challenge and storytelling with KidsPlay Children’s Museum, along with fall crafts and activities.
William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty sponsors Scarecrows in the Meadow.
This event is free and open to the public. The Tapping Reeve Meadow is located at 82 South St. For more information about the event or if you are interested in making a scarecrow (limited spots available), see the Scarecrows in the Meadow page on the historical society website.
Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy’s Grand Opening of Horse Show Meadow, 10/21, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
The Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy is holding a special grand opening event for its Horse Show Meadow with live demonstrations, food trucks, and more.
Ripley was founded by S. Dillon Ripley, a former Secretary of the Smithsonian. It’s home to more 80 species of birds from around the world, a breeding facility for rare species, and education center for conservationists.
Admission is $35 for adults and $15 for children 11 to 14. Children younger than 11 are admitted for free. Tickets are here and can also be purchased at Ripley the day of the event.
Explore White Memorial Peaks with Gerri Griswold, 10/28, 8 a.m.
This White Memorial guided hike will take guests up Windmill Hill, Wheeler Hill, Apple Hill (shown here), Laurel Hill, and Schermerhorn Hill.
The group of participants for the four-hour outing will drive from point to point and also discover some interesting features and (hopefully) signs of wildlife along the way.
Guests will meet in front of the A. B. Ceder Room at the White Memorial Conservation Center at 8 a.m. and are advised to dress for the weather, bring snacks and water, and wear sturdy hiking boots. The hike is free but Donations will be accepted to help defray the Conservation Center’s programming expenses.