Advice Independent Living

11 Things to Do in and Around the Town of Redding, Connecticut

A senior couple are walking their beagle in the park

A picturesque town with a rich history, Redding, Connecticut, combines a charming setting and fun activities. You won’t find skyscrapers filling the Redding skyline; those are the hallmark of New York City, located just southwest of us. What you will find are forested landscapes, countless parks, museums and other senior-friendly attractions enjoyed by Meadow Ridge residents and visitors of all ages.

1. Go Hiking or Mountain Biking.

Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding in Collis P. Huntington State Park, a vast outdoor space encompassing 1,017 acres of beautiful woods and wide-open fields. Lifelike bear and wolf statues decorate the park, which was created by former owner and accomplished sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington.

Year-round outdoor activities draw residents and visitors to this scenic and historic park. All ages enjoy the opportunity for a sunny summer picnic or a relaxing afternoon by the water. Some also try their hand at fishing in one of the five ponds located within the park. Sports enthusiasts from Fairfield County and the surrounding region head to the park in early fall for deer and turkey bow hunting, allowed with a special permit. During the winter months, paths in the park are open to cross-country skiers.

2. Visit Historical Institutions.

If you enjoy museums, check out the Lonetown Farm Museum, headquarters of the Redding Historical Society. The senior-friendly society opens the property for lectures, fundraisers and other special events. Tours can be made by appointment for visitors planning a special trip to Redding, Connecticut.

For even more American history, head to nearby Danbury to see the Military Museum of Southern New England. This museum holds artifacts from Connecticut and the region spanning every war in American history. From tanks to pamphlets, the museum gives visitors an up-close view of war in the United States.

3. Pick Farm-Fresh Produce.

Discover real country living when you visit Warrup’s Farm. Grab a bag and fill it with the season’s freshest local produce. Be sure to get the kids or grandkids outdoors during the fall months. They can select the perfect pumpkin from the Warrup’s Farm patch or get a taste of local maple syrup and apple cider.

Once spring flowers begin to bloom, it’s time to pick ripe raspberries and strawberries on the farm. Summer months bring zucchini, ruby red tomatoes, string beans, herbs and juicy peaches. If picking produce sounds like too much work, the farm stand has pre-picked produce ready to buy.

4. Relive Redding Battles.

The site of “Connecticut’s Valley Forge” during the American Revolutionary War, Putnam Memorial State Park is the state’s first archaeological preserve and the oldest state park in Connecticut. Dedicated to the soldiers that camped there during the winter of 1778-79, the park contains recreational and historic areas. Ice skating is available during the winter, and fishing opens to visitors during the summer months. The park hosts special events and activities throughout the year, including war reenactments for military history buffs.

5. See Mark Twain’s Library.

The Mark Twain Library serves as Redding’s public book lender. Dedicated to its most famous resident and founder, the library holds historical significance for any American literature enthusiast. Only one day before his death, Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) wrote the check to pay for construction of the original library. The town of Redding presents the Mark Twain Library as the physical representation of the author’s passion and the fulfillment of his last wish.

To support the prolific wordsmith’s legacy, Meadow Ridge is a proud donor to the library and has also developed a strong partnership with the Mark Twain Library. This relationship provides special benefits to our many literary-minded residents – such as weekly visits from their librarian to exchange books and offer insight on her favorite new reads.

6. Discover Native Plants and Animals.

To get a complete overview of Connecticut’s local flora, visit the Highstead Wildlife & Woodlands, a beautiful nature conservatory located in Redding. With more than 100 acres of woodlands, wetlands and meadows, visitors can take in native Connecticut flowers, trees and herbs. The conservatory has altered its focus to emphasize sustainable forest management. Whether your interests lie in gardening or ecological sustainability, Highstead offers visitors an overview of the park with a walking tour or a more in-depth look with conservation lectures.

Another option for nature enthusiasts, Devil’s Den Preserve has 1,756 acres, making it the largest and most frequently visited preserve in Connecticut. Hikers come to explore 20 miles of trails and get a glimpse of native Connecticut wildlife, including bobcats, red foxes and coyotes. Members of our Meadow Ridge Birdwatching Club often flock to Devil’s Den to admire the more than 140 bird species that inhabit the preserve.

7. Learn New Crafts and Compete at New Pond Farm.

New Pond Farm was founded by actress Carmen Mathews. This working farm welcomes visitors interested in daily farm life. The farm also hosts two big annual festivals. In the summer, farmers shear sheep at the Founders’ May Fair. The festival also features sheepdog demonstrations and a traditional May Pole dance. During the fall Harvest Festival, New Pond Farm offers live demonstrations of blacksmithing and rope making. Visitors can try their hand at activities such as beeswax candle rolling and pumpkin carving.

The Redding Road Race, a competitive race held yearly at New Pond Farm, is open to residents and visitors at every fitness level. Competitors can sign up for a half-marathon, seven-mile run or a beginner’s fun run. All proceeds support New Pond Farm.

8. Enjoy Live Music.

During warm summer months from June to August, enjoy Concerts on the Green, a Sunday evening live music show held in Redding. This outdoor event brings people together to take in local music, appreciate the wonderful summer weather, and socialize with new and old friends in the town square. Summer concerts are free to attend and funded entirely by private donations. From country to swing, music of all genres can be heard at the weekly concerts.

9. Explore the Local Art Scene.

Travel to nearby Ridgefield, Connecticut, to visit The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. This modern gallery features art from contemporary artists like Jackie Winsor and David Scanavino. Plan your visit according to the activities schedule and take an art class on subjects like collaging or plaster casting, taught by professional volunteers.

10. Plan a Connecticut Canoeing/Kayaking Trip.

If you want to try out a few water sports but don’t have the necessary equipment, visit Scoot & Paddle, a water equipment rental shop just 30 minutes outside Redding. Scoot & Paddle supplies visitors with rental paddleboards, kayaks and other water-sport equipment. Sign up for a group paddle lesson, or rent your own equipment to spend the day on the water without an instructor. Already have your own canoes or kayaks and want to stay a little closer to Redding? Head to Huntington State Park for free access to the ponds.

11. Visit the Meadow Ridge Trails.

Open to the public, the Meadow Ridge trails are frequently used for outdoor activities, such as scenic nature hikes or taking dogs for a leisurely walk. Pack a picnic and make an afternoon of your visit to the trails or bring along a fishing pole and use the stocked pond located along the trails to enjoy some fishing. The groomed trails are open year-round for nature enthusiasts looking for a little fresh air and exercise. And spending time on the lovely park-like campus is a great way to experience the senior-friendly lifestyle residents of Meadow Ridge enjoy every day.

 

The town of Redding may be small, but its charm lies in the bucolic scenery and a fascinating history. Experience the beauty of nature in local parks or relax with a good book at the Mark Twain Library. Whether you’re a visitor or a new resident, Redding has countless activities for every level of energy and interest.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to peruse our follow-up article: 6 More Things to Do in Redding.

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