Autumn is an incredible time to explore all that Connecticut has to offer—and exploration should never be limited. As experiences around the state are becoming more inclusive, people of all abilities can enjoy the many wonders of a New England autumn.
From wheelchair accessible areas to sensory-safe spots, here are a few fall activity ideas for any and all abilities.
Local Farm Visits
Many local farms have been known to work closely with different groups to provide reliably accessible spots for people of all abilities. Cheshire Hollow Farm has a history of hosting tours for senior citizens, as well as those with both physical and intellectual disabilities. Hosting small group tours and visits allows for a personalization of the experience (and hopefully encourages sensory stability.) Two other farms in the area that welcome guests of all abilities are Karabin Farms (barnyard opening soon) and Bradley Mountain Farm, both located in Southington.
Public Outdoor Adventures
Connecticut prides itself on its plethora of free public spaces for the general population to enjoy no matter the circumstance or ability. According to the official CTVisit webpage, most Connecticut state parks have accessible restrooms available allowing a day trip or impromptu adventure to run more smoothly.
For those of us in Central Connecticut, some notable outdoor spots that include paved paths for maximum accessibility include the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, with entrances in Southington, Cheshire and Hamden and of course the Meriden Linear Trail known as the Red Bridge Trail locally. Whether on roller skates, in a wheelchair, in a stroller, or on foot, these paved pathways make for a serene scene.
Soak in the autumn energy with an excursion that wouldn’t be the same any other time of year. Pumpkintown USA in East Hampton is now open. The “Ride” (formerly known as the “hayride”) is a drive-through experience from the comfort of your vehicle. Additionally, the village itself and restrooms are all wheelchair-friendly.
Another autumn-based idea would be a visit to The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat to view the fall foliage. This facility has a page on its website devoted to accessibility information, and is able to adapt to many different individual situations.
While some areas of our lovely state have some catching up to do regarding accessibility (typically the historic ones), overall Connecticut has some pretty amazing experiences. Happy daytripping!
Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden-based journalist, educator, and creative. A graduate of both the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden writing about the city she loves. When she's not helping out in the English department at Maloney High School, she's either exploring the Eastern seaboard for her lifestyle blog (@ eastsidevibes on Instagram) or working on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach. Email Francesca at firstname.lastname@example.org with tips on what you want to read about next, or just to say hi!