As a recent transplant from Vermont, I took a day to discover what all the hoopla was about in Fairfield County.  Now I get it. 

My day began with a trip to the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk. On my way through the bustling South Norwalk District I was distracted by a newly erected mall called the SoNo Collection. I’ll be back. It looks like a heavenly place to spend a rainy day or do some holiday shopping.

Back on track to the Maritime Aquarium, which has endless creatures from their Long Island Sound Habitat with three touch tanks featuring Stingrays, nurse sharks, crabs, sea stars, moon jellies and others. A perfect stop for people of all ages to explore the protected Long Island Sound ecosystem and global environment through living exhibits, maritime science and environmental education. They also feature an IMAX theater and cruises aboard a 64-ft catamaran with many interesting program offerings year around.

Also included on my next visit will be a trip out to the Sheffield Island Lighthouse by Ferry Cruise.

As I was exploring, I was fortunate to meet a local, lifelong Connecticut resident.  I asked, “What would you do if you had the whole day to explore the area before heading back north on the shoreline?” I wanted to explore, relax and get a feel for the communities.  She recommended back tracking a bit to see Rowayton and Darien, well-known towns close by. Wow is all I can say. The beauty is everywhere.  It just feels so homey. School buses, parks, beaches, marinas and quaint downtown shops and restaurants.

My next stop was Westport, which had two special points of interest: Main Street with endless shops in historical settings with a nice mix of national chains and local boutiques, and Sherwood Island State Park where I headed with my picnic lunch. There, I sat on the gorgeous beach before stopping on the observation platform to view the marsh and nature area. There’s plenty of parking and grass in the shade to rest and take in the beauty of the sound.

The next recommendation was to tour Fairfield University Campus. I had no expectation but, upon approach, I was in awe of the beauty of the campus. With school in session on a beautiful fall day there were students out and about and all clearly enjoying their surroundings. I am a bit of a college campus tour nerd but think this is a worthwhile stop for anyone who has an interest in New England Architecture in a bucolic setting.

Another beach? Sure, why not! I was following my GPS to Sasco beach when I thought I took a wrong turn and ended up at the Country Club of Fairfield. This drive took my breath away. The homes and the Fairfield Country Club all had views to die for. Again, an understated white sand beach with many locals enjoying the crisp fall air and another stunning view of the Long Island Sound.

Although I didn’t make it as far as Stamford or Greenwich, I plan to stop there on my next trip to New York. There is lots to see and do in those communities as well.

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