Pick Your Own Fruits and Veggies
Remember the children's book Blueberries for Sal and author Robert McCloskey's description of the satisfying ku-plink, ku-plank sound of filling a bucket with fresh-picked blueberries? You can get the feeling — and the blueberries — yourself by visiting area pick-your-own farms. Peaches, apples, raspberries and other fruits and vegetables are also available at some farms. For a complete list of pick-your-own locations in Connecticut, visit www.pickyourown.org/CT. Some of our favorites include Dzen Tree Farm, 215 Barber Hill Road, South Windsor (www.dzentreefarm.com or call 860-648-2233); the Pickin' Patch, 276 Nod Road, Avon (Visit www.thepickinpatch.com or call 860-677-9552); Bushy Hill Orchard, 29 Bushy Hill Road, Granby (Visit www.bushyhill.com or call 860-653-4022); and Rose's Berry Farm, 295 Matson Hill Road, Glastonbury (visit www.rosesberryfarm.com or call 860-633-7467).
In a summer that's been notable for a lot of dry heat, nothing feels quite so welcome as the sight of a spectacular waterfall and the feel of mist on your face. Make the drive to Kent Falls State Park in Kent and hike the short but steep trail to the falls. Overlooks afford fantastic views. (Be careful to mind young children.) Water volume at the falls is affected by weather, so a dry season does not produce the same gushers that snow melts and major rainstorms do, but spectacular is still spectacular. When you're done ogling the falls, enjoy a picnic, or pack a frisbee and play in the open meadow.
Kent Falls State Park is 5 miles north of Kent on Route 7. For more information, click here. Admission costs on weekends and holidays are: $7 per Connecticut-licensed car; $10 for those with out-of-state plates.
Climb Every Mountain
Admit it: You've always wanted to try rock climbing. At Stone Age Rock in Manchester, beginners and pros are welcome for indoor and outdoor climbing adventures. Outdoor rock climbing guided trips and lessons are offered with destinations including Wolf Rock in Mansfield Hollow, Rattlesnake Mountain in Farmington, Pinnacle Rock in Plainville, and Ragged Mountain in Southington. Cliff heights from 30 feet to 120 feet are designed to thrill beginners to the more advanced.
Stone Age Rock is at 195 Adams St., Manchester. For more information, visit www.stoneagerockgym.com or call 860-645-0015.
Canoeing or Kayaking in Collinsville
If you have a hankering to get out on the water, head to what is billed as New England's largest paddling specialty shop: Collinsville Canoe & Kayak in the Collinsville section of Canton. Purveyor of paddling adventures for decades, Collinsville Canoe rents canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards. Select your vessel of choice, and take it out behind the shop onto the Farmington River or sign up for a guided tour, the kind that could take you to destinations including the Bantam River, Mettabassett River, Great Island, or Four Mile River, to name a few. Please note: If you paddle behind the shop, there is no lifeguard on duty. The minimum age to rent without a parent is 18. On-site rental rates start at $12 for a one-person recreational kayak. Lessons and off-site rentals are available.
Collinsville Canoe & Kayak is at 41 Bridge St., Collinsville. For more information, visit www.cckstore.com or call 860-693-6977.
Putt, Putt, Putt
We can't all be Phil Mickelson or Arnold Palmer, and maybe that's why mini-golf exists, to give the mere mortal among us a chance at a hole-in-one. Connecticut has plenty of mini-golf spots. Among our favorites is Farmington Miniature Golf & Ice Cream Parlor, a traditional mini-golf course that has been owned by the Guglielmo family since 1962. (1048 Farmington Ave., Farmington. Visit www.farmingtonminigolf.com or call 860-677-0118.) Blue Fox Walk in Simsbury is another adventure-style course. In lieu of obstacles like windmills and horseshoe bends, expect difficult angles on an 18-hole course. Club sizes range from tiny ones for tots to bigger ones for adults. A snack shack and a bowling alley are also on the premises. (1603 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury. Visit www.bluefoxent.com or call 860-651-9055.) South Windsor boasts Fairways Miniature Golf. Its course is loaded with moving obstacles. Other features include a batting cage, a snack bar, and Dells Frozen Lemonade. (75 Speilman Road, South Windsor. Visit www.fairwayminiaturegolf.com or call 860-289-5021.) If it happens to be raining, head over to Windsor Locks to Monster Mini Golf, an indoor facility with a monster theme and an 18-hole glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course. (20 Main St., Windsor Locks. For more information, visit www.monsterminigolf.com or call 860-370-9450.)