25 Things to Do, Right Here, Right Now

Wander the Beach

Go for a walk on the wild side as part of the Friends of Greenwich Point’s summer educational series. The roster of fun educational walks includes a stroll with GPC’s president Chris Franco around Tod’s Point, where you’ll learn about the conservancy’s efforts to preserve such architectural gems as the recently renovated Innis Arden Cottage, the Chimes building and the Boathouse on Eagle Pond. Other outings include “Peek and Seek,” where naturalist Camille Broderick will share a wonderful variety of seaside specimens that live in the intertidal areas of Greenwich Point, a “Horseshoe Crab Walk and Talk” with expert Rosemary Louden, and “Take a Walk with Suzy Baker,” a guided nature walk around the property with the GPC’s treasurer. Visit the website for a full list of free summer programs.
Friends of Greenwich Point
203-987-6712
friendsofgreenwichpoint.org

Let the Kids Go Wild With Water

Did you know that there’s an awesome water playground for kids in the heart of Greenwich? Opened at the YWCA in 2008, this amazing outdoor play space was designed to keep kids active and cool in the heat of summer. For safety, it’s fenced and supervised by certified lifeguards, who keep an eye on the little ones (ages 2–10) as they cavort amid water sprays that jut up from the ground and under water buckets dumped from overhead. Open to children who attend YWCA Summer Camps and YWCA members with reservations. For nonmembers it’s $40 to reserve a twenty-five-minute session.
YWCA Greenwich Water Playground
259 East Putnam Avenue
203-869-6501 ext.104
ywcagreenwich.org

 

Blow a Bubble, Read a Book

Every year, Greenwich Library holds a seven-week children’s summer reading program, with kid-centered events and incentives to keep little ones reading all summer long. To kick off this year’s program, “Make a Splash—Read!”, Casey Carle, one of the world’s most well known bubble artists, will wow the audience with fog-filled bubbles, a bubble volcano, a bubble cube and even a massive bubble that “traps” children inside. The event, called Bubblemania!, will be held on June 19, from 2 to 3:15 p.m. It’s designed for ages 5–12 (plus parents and grandparents of course).
Greenwich Library
101 W. Putnam Avenue
203-625-6547
greenwichlibrary.org

Dig for Oysters

Wondering whether it’s safe to go clamming? The answer is yes at Greenwich Cove and the Captains Islands, pursuant to rules of the Shellfish Commission (they’ll tell you the sizes and quantities you’re allowed to take). In Greenwich, the commission oversees recreational shell fishing, monitoring the hard- and soft-shell clams, razor clams, mussels, oysters and slipper shells available for harvest at Greenwich Cove and the Captains Islands. Last year, oysters were off limits, but this year, the ban is lifted, putting oysters on the half shell back on the menu.
Permits available at the Town Clerk’s Office
203-618-7650
greenwichct.org
(for shellfish bed closures, call the hotline at 203-622-7777 )

Catch Blue-claw Crabs

August is the perfect time for crabbing off Greenwich’s scenic shoreline. All you need is a bucket, a net, some bait and, if you’re ambitious, a few traps. The blue-claw season runs from August through October. One hotspot is the rocks off the bridge in Bruce Park, as well as off jetties and docks along the water’s edge. No permits required.
For gear, bait and information:
Sportsman’s Den
33 River Road
203-869-3234

Stargaze Up Close

There’s nothing like gazing up at the heavens on a clear summer night. But for a mind-blowing, up-close look at stars, planets and the moon, there’s no better place for viewing than the Bowman Observatory, which houses a six-foot long Meade reflecting telescope. Operated by members of the Astronomical Society of Greenwich, the silver-domed observatory is open to the public, free of charge, on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month (clear nights only). Doors open at 9 p.m. The observatory is also open for special celestial events, like eclipses and comets.
Bowman Observatory
180 East Elm Street (on the grounds of the Julian Curtiss School), 203-413-6744

 

Go Island Camping

For an overnight getaway close to home, hop a short ferry ride from the Arch Street Ferry Dock to Great Captain Island or Island Beach. The islands provide grills, picnic tables, showers and bathrooms, and are open to the public for camping (no campfires) from June 12 to Sept 12 (except Mondays) for groups of up to twenty-five (no pets). There’s a $30 reservation fee to secure the date and $15 per person covers island camping ticket, parking and ferry.
Town of Greenwich Parks & Recreation Department
203-622-7700
greenwichct.org

Bring Manners Home

Summer’s the perfect time to give your kids a lesson that will stand them in good stead their whole lives. The two-hour etiquette classes, taught by the pros at the Connecticut School of Etiquette, take kids (6–18 years old), through the Delamar Hotel, teaching them to hold open doors for others and introduce themselves properly. The classes culminate in a five-course feast in the hotel boardroom, where they learn all the basics of table manners, from which forks to use with each course to the proper way to eat a variety of foods (hint: chew with your mouth closed and don’t slurp your soup!). Students are split into age appropriate groups to ensure that they all come away with a good grasp of manners that matter.
Delamar Hotel
500 Steamboat Road
203-413-3534
thedelamar.com

Tickle Your Funny Bone

Like Central Perk, the fictitious coffee house on the TV show Friends, Arcadia is a neighborhood café and hangout that provides a laid-back, living room ambience for lunch with your laptop or an a.m. java jolt. After hours, Arcadia morphs into a venue for cool art shows, readings and, on special dates, Comedy Night. When you need a good, sidesplitting laugh, Comedy Night delivers. Call for events schedule.
Arcadia Café
20 Arcadia Road
203-637-8766
arcadiacoffee.com

Grab a Mallet

For the ultimate prepster outing, check out the action at Bruce Park’s groomed croquet courts. Here, the Greenwich Croquet Club maintains a bent grass lawn, surrounded by a charming white picket fence, where players wear old-school whites and duke it out in an oh-so-civilized fashion. If you’re interested in learning how to play, Barbara Leeming, president of the Greenwich Croquet Club, will set you up with lessons for Golf Croquet (easiest game) or American Six-Wicket Croquet (more challenging). Newbies take note: On Thursdays in June, at 3 p.m., lessons are free (equipment is included).
Greenwich Croquet Club
Bruce Park
203-594-7123, 203 517-5226

Dock & Dine

Ah, Greenwich. So much waterfront, so little seaside dining. Next time you’re seeking lunch or dinner with a water view, hop aboard your boat and take a short cruise to Port Chester’s Fox Island Seafood House for the freshest, sustainably sound fish; crispy, thin-crust pizza; paella; and an ever-changing menu of market specials. Boaters can park in one of the restaurant’s four slips (available on a first-come, first-served basis) and enjoy your meal at the water’s edge, either inside the restaurant or out on the popular deck. Call for reservations.
F.I.S.H. Restaurant
102 Fox Island Road
Port Chester
914-939-4227
fishfoxisland.com

Fly-Fish Like a Pro

There’s something truly peaceful about fly-fishing; that is, once you know what you’re doing. To learn the intricacies of the sport, either on freshwater streams or on the Sound, the Sportman’s Den in Cos Cob will outfit you with gear and walk you through the basics. For lessons, call Rick Miller, a fly-fishing vet who has taken hundreds of novice fly fishers out on the Mianus River and then on to his home-base of Roscoe, New York, dubbed “Trout Town USA,” for rustic and plentiful trout-fishing hauls.
Sportman’s Den
33 River Road
203-869-3234
Fishing guide Rick Miller; 845-439-5050

Be a Rock Star

If you’re looking for a fun place to let your hair down and channel your inner Elvis, look no further than Karaoke Night (every Saturday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.) at Fonda la Paloma. This longtime Mexican restaurant in Cos Cob has been hosting a raucous Karaoke Night for years. After a few shots of Cuervo, you, too, will be belting out ’80s rock and sappy ballads with the best of them.
Fonda la Paloma
531 Boston Post Road
203-661-9395
fondalapaloma.com

Check out Some Tombstones

If you can get past the notion that cemeteries are, well, eerie, a stroll through Tomac cemetery, the oldest in Greenwich, founded in 1665, offers an authentic step back in time. Wander through the lovely grounds and check out the dates and names on some 250 tombstones, several going back to the early eighteenth century, for a lesson in our town’s rich history. Many of Greenwich’s earliest residents, including Gershom Lockwood, known for building the first bridge over the Mianus River, are buried here.
Tomac Cemetery (intersection of Tomac and Roosevelt avenues in Old Greenwich)

Hit The Trails

The Mianus Maze is a unique mountain-bike trail system, located in the 220-acre Mianus River Park. It’s a network of single-track and
hard-packed old carriage roads suitable for beginners and intermediates. There is just enough trail variety to initiate the novice and invigorate the archetypal dirthead. Novices can cruise on the easy carriage roads through the park, and the more technically inclined will find enough streambeds, rocks and logs to cross and maneuver around. The trout-filled Mianus River runs through the park for more than a mile, and at least twenty-two varieties of birds—including owls, hawks and herons—live in these woods.
Mianus River Park
450 Conewaugh Road
friendsofmianusriverpark.org

Hit the Sound

Want to cruise the Sound but don’t have your own vessel? No worries, mate! Whether you walk-in or reserve ahead, Greenwich Community Sailing will set up and help you launch a sailboat or kayak, for $18/hour (single Hobie kayak) to $46/hour for a five-passenger Hobie Getaway, including lifejackets. Kayaks require no experience and the staff will have you paddling like a pro in minutes. Sailboats for all ability levels are available. All Greenwich residents are welcome, though membership to Available to members of Old Greenwich Yacht Club or for a fee of $5, you can join for a day.
Greenwich Community Sailing
Greenwich Point
203-698-0599
greenwichsailing.com

Take the Kids to (a good) Dinner For Free

At some restaurants, kids are considered a nuisance. But at Q, the owners believe kids are priceless and they prove it by letting them eat free every Wednesday. At this fun-spirited, totally kid-friendly BBQ joint, children 12 and under get one free child menu entrée with every adult entrée purchased. Options include finger-lickin’ BBQ ribs, burgers, mac ’n’ cheese, Southern fried chicken fingers and grilled chicken strips. Adult perks include killer margaritas and a full bar, as well as a $10 lunch menu from Monday through Friday.
Q Restaurant & Bar
112 N. Main Street
Port Chester
914-933-7427
qrestaurantandbar.com

Compete in the Greatest Fishing Competition on Earth

Every August, the WICC radio station hosts the Greatest Fishing Tournament on Earth. The competition draws anglers from Greenwich to Dallas for a weekend of intense fishing and fun on the Sound, where recreational fishing buffs vie for the biggest and best bluefish, with a whole list of loot, topped by a grand prize of $25,000 for the biggest blue, plus bragging rights. In years past, the winners rang in at close to eighteen pounds. This year’s contest is August 28–29, with a hurricane date of September 11–12.
203-366-BLUE
wicc600.com

Get Your Groove On

In addition to being a friendly neighborhood haunt serving casual American fare and generous cocktails, the Beach House Café is known for its live music. On summer nights, the place rocks, particularly on the weekends, when live bands draw big crowds. Though there is a full line-up, house faves include Roots Vibration (reggae) the second Friday of every month; Celestial Speed Limit (dance rock cover band); and Bobby Mursano, a Grammy–award winning blues and jazz guitarist, once a month. Visit the website for the complete schedule.
Beach House Café
220 Sound Beach Avenue
203-637-0367
beachhousecafe.com

Take a Polo Lesson

Polo has been a long-standing summer Sunday tradition here. Though it’s fun to be a spectator, whether you’re casually enjoying a picnic lunch on the sidelines or sipping Champagne and lunching in the Players Club Tent, the real action is atop one of the incredible ponies. The club offers lessons with Argentinean polo sensation, Alex Roldan. Lessons include the use of a polo pony all tack, polo mallets and balls for $200 each. Tally ho!
Conyers Farm
Hurlingham Drive
203-561-5821
greenwichpoloclub.com

Sample Fine Wines

Not that we need any more reasons to enjoy a good bottle of vino, but Wine Wise has made an offer we can’t refuse. It’s called “taste to choose,” and it lets patrons sample any bottle in the store prior to buying. A high-tech wine preservation system allows the staff to open any bottle for sampling, allowing you to test the merchandise, like in Napa. This ensures that you like what you’re bringing home and it also provides the owners with the ability to gauge your reactions and zero in on wine recommendations that match your personal tastes.
Wine Wise
122 E. Putnam Avenue
203-340-2440
winewiseshop.com

Take in an Outdoor Concert

A summer of free music kicks off with the Summer Music Festival’s “An Encounter With Cuba” on Wednesday, June 9 and Friday, June 11, at 8:00 p.m. The two free chamber music concerts exploring German composer Werner Henze’s 1968 journey through Cuba, performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, will be held at the Greenwich Arts Council. In July and August, check out the Summer Music Series, featuring free outdoor performances, including Tuesday Noon Time Concerts at the Greenwich Common, Wednesday Night Concerts at Rodger Sherman Baldwin Park, Jazz on the Sound, Sunday night concerts at Binney Park by the Sound Beach Volunteer Fire Department Band and more. Visit the Parks and Recreation website for a complete list of events.
Greenwich Arts Council
299 Greenwich Avenue
203-862-6750
greenwichct.org

See a Free Flick

If you’re going for broke shelling out for a sitter, theater tickets, plus popcorn and candy, here’s a thought: Hit the library for free movies through the end of June. The Friends Friday Films series features an incredible lineup of feature, foreign and independent films for adults. An example: Food, Inc., on June 18, is a powerful documentary exposing how our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profits ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. Showtime is 8 p.m., doors open at 7:40 p.m. Call for June schedule.
Greenwich Library
101 W. Putnam Avenue
203-622-7922
greenwichlibrary.org

Donate a Dinner

You make dinner every night, why not turn it into a family activity that helps others? Take part in the Be a Dinner Hero program for Kids in Crisis. Dinner Heroes make and deliver a complete meal for residents (thirteen to sixteen people). It’s a great way to spend some time cooking with your kids while teaching the importance of giving back to those in need. Or you could donate to the Stuff a Duffle program by collecting much-needed supplies for Kids in Crisis residents (pack a duffle with essential overnight supplies, such as toothpaste, toothbrush, face cleanser, shampoo, lotion, comb/hairbrush and new pajamas). KIC is Connecticut’s only free, round-the-clock agency providing emergency shelter, crisis counseling and community educational programs for local children and families.
Kids in Crisis
203-327-KIDS
kidsincrisis.org

Go Turtle Watching

Though turtles can be dicey little suckers up close (snapping turtles can bite and many breeds can harbor salmonella), kids love to stand atop the Binney Park bridges and watch the hard-shelled reptiles swim and sun below. The stream on the east side of the park also boasts turtles of considerable size. Be sure to pack a picnic and take in the view of picturesque willows and white birch and bright clumps of yellow flag iris thriving at the water’s edge, along with mallards floating on the pond.
Binney Park (enter at Sound Beach Avenue and Arch Streets)

 

 

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