Fairfield County

Overview

Introduction

Much of this area is now filled with New York City bedroom communities, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to see. Located in Connecticut's far southwestern corner, Greenwich is among the state's most convenient towns for those who work in New York. Visit the late-1600s Putnam Cottage (scalloped shingles, fieldstone fireplaces and an herb garden); the Audubon Center (a wildlife sanctuary on 485 acres/196 hectares of land); the Bruce Museum (collections of arts and crafts and natural-history displays); and the Bush-Holley House (a classic saltbox-style dwelling that once functioned as a boardinghouse for artists). In nearby Stamford is the Stamford Museum and Nature Center, where you'll find a large park with a working farm from the 1800s and a fine museum with exhibits on the history and culture of Native Americans, among other subjects. With its nature trails, lake and picnic ground, the museum makes an excellent stop for a long lunch and a lazy afternoon.

A little farther up Interstate 95 is Westport, a small, coastal community where BMWs, beaches and ritzy boutiques set the tone. You may be able to spot such celebrity residents as Paul Newman or Martha Stewart dining at the town's many fine restaurants. The Westport Country Playhouse offers excellent summer theatrical performances, and the open-air Levitt Pavillion for the Arts stages many free productions during the summer months as well. While in the area, visit the Earthplace (wildlife preserve, museum and aquarium), Sherwood Island State Park (oceanfront park with swimming, fishing and picnicking) or the town's many interesting historical homes.

Although Bridgeport has its share of drug and crime problems, there are a few sights worth seeing. Bridgeport is the hometown of P.T. Barnum, the circus magnate, professional huckster and onetime mayor. Be sure to visit the Barnum Museum (exhibits pertaining to the impresario's career, local history and art). Also take time to visit the Discovery Museum and Wonder Workshop (interactive art and science exhibits, including a Challenger Learning Center that conducts simulated space-shuttle missions) and Beardsley Zoological Gardens (with a petting zoo). Each year in June, Bridgeport celebrates the Barnum Festival in honor of its favorite son and benefactor. And on summer weekends in Derby (25 mi/40 km north of Bridgeport, just outside Fairfield County), you can tour the Osborne Homestead Museum, once the home of Frances Osborne-Kellogg. It has a good collection of antiques and art from the early 1800s.

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