Kids are great, but moms and dads need time with each other and with others their own age. And while going out to dinner and a movie is always fun, there are many other things for parents to do in Connecticut. Here are just five suggestions for a night out for or with other parents.

The Upstairs Kitchen
3 Main Street
Chester, CT 06412
(860) 227-1196

Parents spend too many nights making meals their children should and will eat, but rarely do they bother to make a dinner for themselves – if they even know or remember how. At The Upstairs Kitchen in Chester, a group of the state’s best chefs hold classes for parents and other couples who want to learn, relearn or sharpen their culinary skills. Chef Debra Queen, for example, is not known as the Queen of Tarts for nothing; and author and chef Terry Walters is famous for “clean eating.” These and other chefs who are famed for their restaurants, catering businesses, cookbooks or reputation as personal or corporate chefs or as teachers are part of the circulating guest faculty at The Upstairs Kitchen, where adults come to learn the culinary arts – and get a break from making mac and cheese out of a box.

Bishop’s Orchards
1335 Boston Post Road
Guilford, CT 06437
(203) 453-2338

Parents who want to get out for a weekend drive in the country or along the shore, either alone or with another couple, often stop or even meet at Bishop’s Orchards, one of the oldest and best-known family farms in Connecticut.  The Bishop family has been tending to its fruit trees and fields for seven-score years, and has expanded beyond the farm stand and “pick your own” fruit business to include a bakery and winery. That makes Bishop’s Orchards an especially nice destination for parents out for quiet afternoon, as in addition to picking (or picking out) some fresh fruit to take home, they can also sample some local wine and cider and sit down and tuck into what many food critics say is arguably the best apple pie in the Nutmeg State.

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Ibiza Tapas
1832 Dixwell Ave.
Hamden, CT 06514
(203) 909-6512

Where can parents go for an affordable night out with other couples that involves good food and wine, yet in a comfortable and relaxed setting where they can still sit and talk for hours? A tapas restaurant is ideal for such a languid yet satisfying evening, and Ibiza Tapas in Hamden is among the best in the state. A spin-off from the original Ibiza Spanish restaurant in New Haven (which is still in operation), Ibiza Tapas (now also in Danbury and across the state line in Northampton, Massachusetts as well) has a neighborhood feel to it – and is very popular with the locals. Chef and owner Ignacio Blanco is a hospitable fellow who has crafted a menu packed with a wide variety of authentic small plates (tapas) meant for couples and groups of couples to share and taste and from which to build an evening’s repast. Blanco has wine pairings to match, and has focused on building a wine cellar with affordable vintages from the home and other countries.

The Palace Theater
Stamford Center for the Arts
61 Atlantic St.
Stamford, CT 06901
(203) 325-4466

Couples and especially couples with kids need a nice night out every once in a while; a night where they can appreciate the arts, hear some good music, see a play, catch a comic or be amazed by a light show. The Palace Theater in Stamford, home of the Stamford Center for the Arts, is just such a place. Its schedule this winter and spring is packed with all of the above and is also one of the few places in Connecticut where children of the 60s (or those who liked their parents’ music) can see and hear the likes of Mickey Dolenz (of The Monkees), Peter Noone (of Herman’s Hermits) and Mark Lindsay (of Paul Revere and the Raiders) live and on stage. The Palace is not just for parents; there are plenty of events for the whole family to enjoy.

The Warner Theatre
68 Main St.
Torrington, CT 06790
(860) 489-7180

The restoration of the old Warner Theatre in Torrington has brought music – and musical theater – back to the culturally barren northwest corner of Connecticut – and has brought new life to the restaurants, coffee shops and charming little stores of an oft-forgotten small city. It has become a go-to place for couples, especially those in their 30s and 40s who want a nice evening out to dinner and the theater. Whether it is to see The Beach Boys on stage in April, or tributes to Frank Sinatra or Johnny Cash in April and May, respectively, or to laugh to the often raunchy comedy of Lisa Lampanelli on stage in March, the Warner is a magnet for couples looking for live entertainment.

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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at