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Best Attractions in Connecticut | 2013 Editors' Choice Awards

Best Attractions in Connecticut | 2013 Editors’ Choice Awards
3 votes, 4.33 avg. rating (84% score)
by in May 2013

Looking for fun in the Constitution State? You won’t have to look far! Read our picks for the best attractions in Connecticut.

BEST WET & DRY ADVENTURES
BROWNSTONE EXPLORATION & DISCOVERY PARK, Portland
In a quarry that dates to the dinosaurs, find 21st-century ziplining, rock climbing, scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, wakeboarding, mountain biking, and kayaking. Or relax at the Snack Shack. 161 Brownstone Ave. 866-860-0208, 860-342-0668; brownstonepark.com

BEST WINERY & GIFT SHOP
McLAUGHLIN VINEYARDS, Sandy Hook
Sitting on a hilltop terrace, sample one of the vineyard’s seven wines. The former barn, now two intimate tasting rooms, is also a shop stocked with local art and artisanal foods. Try the farm’s own maple syrup. 14 Albert’s Hill Road. 203-426-1533; mclaughlinvineyards.com

BEST FACTORY STORE
PEZ VISITOR CENTER, Orange
It’s a PEZ world, with a 14-foot dispenser, hundreds of thumb-snapping cases, and views of the factory floor. Take home some tiny treats. 35 Prindle Hill Road. 203-298-0201; pez.com

BEST ALPACA FARM & STORE
SAFE HAVEN FARM, Hampton
Soft and gentle, dozens of alpacas–native to the Andes and smaller cousins of the llama–make their home here. Shoppers will appreciate the architecturally intriguing store filled with warm coats, sweaters, socks, hats, and yarns (alpaca wool is ultra-fine). For an extra treat, come in spring or fall to see the newborn crias. (Call before visiting.) 39 Drain St. 860-455-0054; safehavenalpaca.com

BEST MILITARY MUSEUM
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD MUSEUM, New London
New England’s only service academy fills a shipshape exhibit with paintings, models, figureheads, cannon, uniforms, medals, ceremonial swords, and rescue equipment that chronicle its origins. There’s lighthouse history, too. 15 Mohegan Ave. 860-444-8511; uscg.mil/hq/cg092/museum

BEST SMALL-TOWN WALKING TOURS
HISTORIC GUILFORD WALKING TOURS, Guilford
Enthusiastic, knowledgeable guides lead two well-researched tours focused on Early American history and architecture. An extra treat: iPads loaded with historic photos. Town Hall, 31 Park St. 203-233-1026; historicguilford.org

BEST HOME & PERSONAL FURNISHINGS
WALKER-LODEN LTD., Madison & New Haven
Partners Bill Walker and Peter Loden mix baubles, antique furnishings, fair-trade imports, and unique gifts at both shops–all designed to “make you smile.” 788 Boston Post Road, Madison; 203-245-8663. 258 Church St., New Haven; 203-865-8196. walkerloden.com

BEST POTTERY SHOP
SAWMILL POTTERY, Putnam
More than a dozen artists display tableware, jewelry, mugs, jugs, and sculpture just a few feet from the workshop space. Also, plenty of classes for both kids and adults. 112 Main St. #14. 860-963-7807; sawmillpottery.com

BEST SEA CAPTAIN’S HOME
CAPTAIN NATHANIEL B. PALMER HOUSE, Stonington
In 1820, Captain Palmer sighted uncharted land that later became known as Antarctica. Three decades later, he built this Victorian mansion, now a National Historic Landmark, with an octagonal cupola. Admission includes the nearby Old Lighthouse Museum. 40 Palmer St. 860-535-8445; stoningtonhistory.org

BEST ART-FILLED HOUSE
HILL-STEAD MUSEUM, Farmington
This hilltop treasure trove of Impressionist paintings is a welcoming early 20th-century home. The intimate sunken garden is the summer backdrop for poetry readings. Perfect for day hikes and picnics. 35 Mountain Road. 860-677-4787; hillstead.org

BEST MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE
RICHTER PARK GOLF COURSE, Danbury
With potential water encounters on 14 holes, you may want to bring a few extra balls. But don’t fret: Tucked into rolling hills, Richter Park fits all skill levels. Go online for special greens fees, available to locals and nonresidents. 100 Aunt Hack Road. 203-792-2550; richterpark.com

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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