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Find the right door in either Orange or Bridgeport, and you can walk right into a Latin American paradise. The colors of coastal waters and sunny beaches envelop the dining room, and bartenders serve drinks worthy of the tropical atmosphere: jalape?o pineapple margaritas, South American wines, and 10 kinds of mojitos?including one made with fresh guava.

These slices of the tropics arrive in Connecticut thanks to Ola Restaurant. Here, chefs grill, bake, and will Nuevo Latino cuisine into existence. They define that culinary genre through shareable tapas such as lobster and avocado quesadillas as well as heartier entrees. These meals might star guava-glazed ribs, churrasco strip steak, or salmon caramelized with dark rum and sugar cane, all prepared with the gustatory finesse that earned the restaurant praise from the New York Times.

694 Brooklawn Ave
Bridgeport,
CT
US

Stampin' & Scrappin' Time stuffs its store with neat rows of vibrant paper, stamps, craft supplies, and more while helping shoppers craft memorably charming handmade cards and scrapbooks. Peruse the vast inventory of colored and patterned paper ($.50–$1.99/sheet) to begin crafting tableaus of past family vacations, first days of school, and victorious backyard chinchilla races. Hero Arts wood and cling rubber stamps ($7.35–$15.35) and Memory Box wood stamps ($6.35–$11.35) sport letters, filigrees, shapes, and more, allowing crafty customers to dip them in colorful inks ($4.35–$9.35) and add instant flair to pencil sketches of Parisian pigeon parades. Decorate a newly purchased white Ferrari with pens, markers, and watercolor pencils ($3.35–$8.85) and garnish the resulting creation with a selection of stickers ($2.35–$5.35) to finally impress blasé preschoolers. The creative and amenable staff stays on hand to offer advice, suggestions, and tips and tricks.

396 Main Street
Bridgeport,
CT
US

In 2012, the Bluefish became the first team in Atlantic League history to reach 1,000 victories. It was a huge milestone for a franchise that today, stands as one of only two remaining charter teams throughout the entire league. The 'Fish initially brought baseball back to Park City in 1998, and advanced to the league championship series in a losing effort. A year later, though, they returned with their first league title after defeating the Somerset Patriots.

The team's early success established a winning tradition–in fact, the Bluefish didn't suffer their first losing season until their eighth year of existence. Winning hasn't been the only tradition in Bridgeport, however. The Bluefish battle the Long Island Ducks every season for the Ferry Cup, trying to establish regional supremacy on the baseball diamond instead of by firing a barrage of used baseballs across the Long Island Sound.

500 Main St
Bridgeport,
CT
US

More than a dozen times?that's how often Treehouse Comedy Productions has been voted the "Best Comedy Showcase" by the readers of?Fairfield County Weekly. As the first full-time comedy showcase in Connecticut, Treehouse Comedy Productions has curated stunning selections of world-class standups for more than three decades. The heavy hitters in the Treehouse family tree include Rosie O'Donnell, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Chris Rock, Gilbert Gottfried, and Jerry Seinfeld, who once bid farewell to standup at Treehouse gig just before his TV show,?That's So Jerry!, became a hit. With roving locations at area restaurants, casinos, and bars, the arbiters of spit-takes continue to cull the sharpest cut-ups in the country for weekly showcases.

910 Fairfield Avenue
Bridgeport,
CT
US

Open seven days a week, Marnick's Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as daily specials. Located right on the beach, the ocean dances along the sandy edges of the earth outside the windows of the restaurant, hinting at the provenance of the seafood there. Inside, three generations of owners draw on that bounty, toasting buns to hold lobster sautéed in drawn butter. Icy rings of chilled shrimp cocktail encircle plates while steamy clams casino amuse appetizers year-round. Specials including salmon florentine delight diners as well as daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials. Burgers and pancakes sizzle on a grill as hot as a knight in shining armor who has been waiting in his car for an hour; fryers froth with loads of fish 'n' chips; and pasta, wraps, and salad specials are prepared fresh.

10 Washington Pkwy.
Stratford,
CT
US

When Kaye Williams left his life as a commercial fisherman, he had no intention of leaving behind his passion for the sea. Instead, he and his wife, Vivian, began a new career sharing their love of maritime culture with others. With the help of family and friends, they spent 1982 transforming a weed-infested vacant lot into the family-friendly marina complex that would become Captain's Cove.

More than 350 vessels pass through in any given year, but you don't have to be in a boat or on a pirate's shoulder to join the summer celebration. Yankee magazine hailed Kaye and Vivian's creation as "quintessential summer fun at Black Rock Harbor," honoring the complex with an award for Best Boardwalk. Colonial and Victorian shops sell everything from old-fashioned candies and ice cream to vintage jewelry and nautical gifts for the dinghy in your life. A Queen Anne home originally built in 1893—and relocated to Captain's Cove a century later—serves as a museum, holding 18th-century navigational instruments, photographic histories of three local lighthouses, and other exhibits related to the legacies of Black Rock Harbor, Bridgeport Harbor, and Connecticut's oyster industry.

There's also plenty of space to sit back, watch the boats, and get your fill of fresh seafood. Overlooking the waters of Black Rock Harbor, the 400-seat restaurant is a sprawling complex of decks and gazebos where families share fried clams, lobster rolls, and fish and chips. No matter how nice the weather, you might still want to peek inside at the dining room's massive saltwater aquarium or view the hanging scale models of the Titanic and the flying boat Excalibur up in the bar. Even a night of karaoke or dancing to live music is suffused with history at Captain's Cove: the bar is built around the wheelhouse of a 19th-century tugboat.

1 Bostwick Ave
Bridgeport,
CT
US