Top Spots

Getaway Guru: One-Tank Trip to Sherwood Island State Park, Westport

August 18, 2012 2:00 PM

View Comments
photo credit: ct.gov

photo credit: ct.gov

Connecticut, the third smallest state, lends itself to easy sight seeing. With minimal time on the road, and no venue farther than a couple of hours, a return journey day trips are always a tank of gas away. One of the most beautiful, Sherwood Island State Park, promises memories that’ll last a lifetime. Just 65 miles away, it’s the perfect escape when nature beckons. Fall in love with these beaches as those waves carve sand art on the beach in undulating lines of red (garnet), black (magnetite) and white (quartz).

Getting There

From Hartford, less an an hour and a half away, Sherwood Island State Park in Westport calls to travelers with the waves of Long Island Sound. Major cities along the route include New Haven, home of Yale University, and Bridgeport. From I-95 north and south: Take exit 18 to the Sherwood Island Connector directly into the park. From Route 1 north and south: join the Sherwood Island Connector in Westport. From Route 15 north: Take exit 41, south on Route 33 to Route 1 North, to the Connector. From Route 15 south: Take exit 42, south on Route 57, to Route 33 south to Route 1 north to the Connector.

Along the Way

Sakura Japanese Restaurant
680 Post Road East
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 222-0802

Get the Japanese experience in a variety of ways: Witness fresh meats and vegetables cooked and served with flair and drama at the Hibachi grill tables; eat in the regular dining room, or be seated on the floor, in traditional Japanese style, in a secluded tatami room. Enjoy sukiyaki, shabu-shabu or the sushi bar. Sakura offers online ordering options as well if you’re only planning a pit stop in town or want to picnic nearby.

Must-See
Sherwood Island State Park

Greens Farms, CT 06838
(203) 226-6983
www.ct.gov/

Click here for prices

Connecticut’s first state park spans 235 acres of beach, wetlands and woodlands in the Greens Farms section of Westport. Bordered on the west by the Sherwood Mill Pond and on the south by the Sound, the “island park” is demarcated from the mainland by creeks and ditches, and is accessed by the Sherwood Island Connector. Picnic in the grove, swim in Long Island sound, or view marsh life from the observation platform on Sherwood Island. Interactive events and activities at the park and Nature Center offer exhibits that illustrate the rich diversity of indigenous plant, bird and animal life.

Connecticut Audubon Center at Fairfield
2325 Burr St.
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 259-6305
www.ctaudubon.org

The center promotes environmental conservation through science-based education and advocacy anybody can get behind. It features live avian programming and exhibits. A Butterfly Garden, Farm Pond, (hosting frogs, ducks and turtles), a greenhouse featuring a Sensory Garden, and the Live Birds of Prey Compound are major highlights. The neighboring Roy and Margot Larsen Wildlife Sanctuary, illustrating varied land, forest and freshwater wetland ecosystems, covers a vast area of 155 acres. Fascinating reproductions of 19th century art are featured in outdoor exhibits as well. A somber, awe-inspiring 9-11 Memorial brings travelers back to that pivotal day in American history. The park was a staging area for relief efforts to the city. Other nearby, notable beaches include Sasco Beach, South Pine Creek Beach, Marvin Beach, Calf Pasture Beach, Penfield Beach and Jennings Beach.

Related:  Four Nature Hikes To Explore Connecticut’s Outdoors

Maritime Aquarium
10 North Water St,
Norwalk, CT- 06854
(203) 852 0700
www.maritimeaquarium.org

Price: $13.95 adults/$10.50 children/$12.95 seniors

The Maritime Aquarium, located in a refurbished 1860s factory at the mouth of the Norwalk River, enlightens visitors about a vital natural resource: Long Island Sound. Visitors learns to say  “sea stars,” instead of starfish, and “jellies,” instead of jelly fish, as neither of these is actually a fish. The sea creatures exhibited in simulated natural environments offer an insight about their roles in the ecosystem. The IMAX Theater, the largest in Connecticut with its six-story movie screen is an unforgettable, immersing, larger-than-life experience.

The Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court
Westport, CT-06880
(203) 227-4177
www.westportplayhouse.org

Headed by the Tony Award-winning artistic director Mark Lamos, the playhouse really is a theater you’ll talk about for years to come. A not-for-profit enterprise, it is a cultural epicenter, a veritable smorgasbord of stars of the theater world. A state-of-the-art facility, preserving its original charm and character, the playhouse presents live theater of the highest standards: a melding of drama, comedy, musicals and revues, plumbing the depth and scope of  theatrical literature from the past and present. With its delightful mixture of classy, tasteful or homey restaurants, shops, clubs, museums and galleries, it has integrated with greater Norwalk, the Harbor and Long Island Sound beyond and is a happening place. 

Lodging

The Westport Inn  
1595 Post Road East
Westport, CT-06880
(866) 599-6674

Price: from $149

This high-end boutique inn sits conveniently near some of the area’s most fun shops and restaurants. Amenities include flat-panel HD TVs, free WiFi, luxurious furnishings and iPod docking stations. A fitness center, 24-hour business services, courtesy bike rentals (seasonal), a restaurant and lounge, and more than 6000 square feet of banquet and meeting space round out the facilities. Pets are welcome.

Longshore Club Park Golf Course
260 Compo Road South
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 222-7535
www.thegolfcourses.net

Price: $28 to $43

Originally designed by Orrin E. Smith, Longshore Club Park was built in 1922. Recently renovated, this 18-hole, regulation length, public golf course promises something for every play. The park-like setting, rye grass greens, driving range and layout provide a fun and rewarding experience. Grab a bite at The Splash restaurant for delicious dinner with a side of ambiance.

RelatedTop Scenic Drives Within 60 Miles Of Connecticut

Bina Joseph, a resident of Glastonbury, CT is a freelance writer covering all things travel-related in Connecticut.
A passionate veteran of the travel industry, Bina has visited more than 40 countries, giving her a unique, global perspective. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 880 other followers