Local spots to explore this summer

Explore hidden local gems

As the warmer weather approaches summer activities are on the horizon and it’s never too early to start planning. As a photographer and student, I enjoy my free time by exploring the unfamiliar and hidden beauty in the surrounding area.

Wadsworth Falls State Park on the Middlefield-Middletown line provides a serene escape from everyday life. The park offers designated swimming areas too, as well as a stunning waterfall with its own parking. A challenging hidden gem to reach but one that offers equally stunning views is Roaring Brook Falls in Cheshire. Getting to the falls requires a short but moderately difficult hike in Roaring Brook Park, with some climbing involved. Both spots offer tranquility and family fun.   

Sun shower with sunflowers   

Nothing screams summer and good vibes more than sunflowers, especially at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield. One of my personal favorites and yearly trips is to the sunflower maze. The theme of the maze changes year to year, which makes it refreshing and fun. Lyman Orchards says it should take around 30 minutes to complete the maze. 

The sea of yellow expands beyond the maze into picturesque views. End your maze excursion with a trip to the orchard’s shop for goodies. 

Arts and music 

Ball and Socket Arts is a project dedicated to revitalizing a former button factory into a local arts center on West Main Street in Cheshire. During the pandemic in 2020, “BSA” began hosting “Live Friday” music featuring local artists. This was a personal favorite for me because these events really brought a much-needed mental break. BSA originally started the concerts on the property but has since moved to other venues in the community.

The mini-concerts will continue this year, according to Corey Nash, a member of the group’s board of directors. The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail passes by Ball and Sockets Arts so you can watch the progress from the trail.   

A linear ride or stride 

Speaking of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, it too offers unique summer fun. At over 50 miles long the trail offers unique views through multiple areas including Southington Cheshire and New Haven. The trail has numerous points of interest like Southington’s Kinsmen Brewing Company or Lock 12, a historic canal lock in Cheshire. The trail is easy and flat making walking and riding bikes easy. Always keep one ear open when using headphones or you’ll miss the “on your left” call from a cyclist.

Along the trail there are benches, bathrooms and drinking water. Whether you’re a photographer, family or nature lover, the trail offers a lot more than just outdoor exercise. 

An oldie but a goodie  

Hubbard Park in Meriden is a go-to summer spot that offers a wide variety of activities. The park has recreational swimming set to open on June 18, according to the Meriden Parks and Recreation website. Vehicle access to Castle Craig officially opened on May 4 and will continue through the summer, from 10 am to 5:30 p.m.

You can skate in the winter, enjoy the daffodils in the spring, swim in the summer, watch fireworks and enjoy the foliage in the fall. Hubbard Park has it all year-round, making it a must-visit destination and if you haven’t visited you should!




More From This Section