Twin Lakes Golf Course is set on grounds that have been walked by golfers for more than 50 years, but enjoy the modern touches of a recent revamping. New tee boxes reside atop the professionally manicured greens that carpet the 10-acre course. Its renovated clubhouse offers guests the supplies they need for gameplay, including clubs and pull carts. After a round, players can return to the clubhouse where pizza bubbles in a wood-burning oven and cool beverages flow freely from taps.
Named for a small archipelago off the Branford coast, Thimble Island Brewing Company began with the home-brewed concoctions of Connecticut Natives Justin Gargano and Mike Fawcett. Though they lacked formal training, the duo tirelessly spent nights and weekends tinkering with their recipes until they sold their first pint of American Ale to KC's Pub in Guilford. Today, American Ale is one of the brewery's three mainstay beers, which Justin and Mike craft along with specialty batches such as a dark pumpkin porter. The twosome keeps four beers on tap at Thimble Island's tasting room, where visitors can drop in to fill up a growler, buy a t-shirt, or take a tour. Outside the brewery, Justin and Mike's beers grace many local establishments, including pubs and grocery stores.
On any given day at Branford Academy of Hair & Cosmetology, you may find student hair stylists bent over mannequin heads during cosmetology courses or makeup-artists-in-training transforming models into skeletons and wood nymphs as part of their makeup artistry certification. At the school's spa, visitors can receive relaxing facials, expert haircuts, and other beauty services from students who work under the watchful eye of a certified aesthetician and instructor.
For more than a century, Ring's End has put quality home improvement products in the hands of homeowners and contractors. A Stanley FatMax level ($30.99) ensures all paintings and ouija boards are hung correctly, and a gallon of Benjamin Moore Regal Classic paint ($40.19) creates a vibrant new hue on staid interior walls. Fiberon composite decking ($2.95+/ft.) helps to craft sturdy, colorful backyard-grilling platforms and arrives backed by a 20-year limited warranty. Handymen and women can keep tools easily accessible, organized, and ready to travel with a Veto Pro Pac tool bag ($144.99), which holds more than 100 hand tools and includes six zippered pockets to hide worksite snacks from Bob Vila.
The flames at Prime American Grille have escaped the kitchen. Not only do they live inside the sizzling-hot grill, they also exist atop flickering candles and inside the dining room's roaring fireplace. Flame-kissed rib-eye and new york strip steaks arrive at tables coated in house-made peppercorn, gorgonzola, or mushroom-and-onion sauces. Chefs also bolster their menu with ocean-fresh seafood, pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. Bottles of wine litter a massive rack inside the restaurant's dining room, which boasts a warm color palette, dark woods, and strategically placed mirrors that make the space feel airy and light, like a helium balloon filled with tossed salad. On the weekends, Prime American Grille pulses with live music from DJs and bands, and each night, diners can sit at the full bar to watch sports on seven flat-screen televisions.
Grit 'N Wit is more than just a three-mile obstacle course—it's also a test of intellectual stamina. Along with climbing walls, monkey bars, and other physical tests, the race challenges runners with puzzles that, when solved, provide advantages down the road. At race's end, not only will participants come away with the satisfaction of using their brains and muscles at the same time, they'll also receive a Grit 'N Wit t-shirt and a complimentary beer from Half Full Brewery. Proceeds from the race benefit Friend of Jaclyn, an organization dedicated to helping children with pediatric brain tumors and their families.