At Fini’s Plant Farm, children and families can enjoy a Halloween-themed daytime party and more adventuresome souls can undertake a nighttime haunted hayride. Beginning at 7 p.m., explorers embark on a 20–30 minute covered hayride through the expanses of Deadman Woods, then wander through a haunted house that some say still echoes with the mournful cries of frozen wontons forgotten in the oven.
One of the largest conservation organizations in New England, Mass Audubon cares for 34,000 acres of natural land in a network of more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Its members receive free admission to these pacific preserves, where, alongside more than 150 endangered or threatened native species, they can breathe in Mother Nature’s perfume or have a good cry on her mossy bosom. During bird-migration season, alert gazes can capture some 300 species of sky surfer at Allens Pond on the South Coast, and visitors to Lincoln’s Drumlin Farm can re-enact Charlotte's Web with a motley band of sheep, cows, goats, and pigs.
Partnered with a ground crew predominately made up of fellow pilots, Dick Guisto, Mike Florio, and Vinnie Melling harness their commercial-pilot expertise for each Aerostat Promotions flight. After a half-hour of balloon inflation and preparation, up to four guests join their pilot at sunrise or 2.5 hours before sunset for an hour-long flight that affords aerial views of the Pioneer Valley’s breathtaking landscapes, abundant wildlife, and residential homes. Meanwhile, a chase team tracks the balloon from terra firma as it traverses approximately 10 miles of sky. Once visitors and their pilot rendezvous with the team, balloons are packed into a truck or twisted into to-scale elephant balloon animals before the group shares a champagne toast and appetizers.
Established to draw awareness to the growing industry of craft wines created in Massachusetts, Massachusetts Farm Wineries & Growers Association has represented more than 20 local wineries since 2007. In the warmer months, wineries are featured at local famers markets, and two summer events showcase all the wineries under one roofless roof.
Dedicated to bringing the culinary traditions of Peru to Hartford’s diners, Piolin Restaurant II has been serving the signature sizzling meats and sautéed veggies of the region since 1998. Within the bustling kitchen, chefs architect dishes such as Peruvian yellow potatoes, sweet plantains, and fried yucca in addition to hearty meats ranging from grilled chicken to fried red snapper. Along with the re-creation of time-honored recipes, the brightly hued walls and cheery decor of Piolin’s dining room grant guests the feeling that they’ve escaped to Peru without the hassles of answering a TSA officer’s riddles.
As a pioneer of public museums in the United States, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art remains a flagship institution, as evinced by its “Best Museum” win in the Hartford Advocate 's 2010 "Best of Hartford" Reader's Poll. Use your free admission to check out current exhibitions like American Moderns and MATRIX, or survey the Hudson River School paintings, the museum’s most celebrated collection, which captures the untouched beauty of America’s nineteenth century wilds while avoiding the herds of feral Victorians that depleted the Great Plains with their ceaseless grass chewing. A pioneer of avant-garde exhibition, the Wadsworth Museum also boasts some of the first Renaissance works acquired in the United States by Caravaggio, as well as one of the first Surrealist masterpieces by Dalí. The illustrious Spaniard’s “Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach” is a wonderful example of the early 20th century discovery that brains are the same thing as pears.