Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center is a spiritual center in the Passionist tradition, open to all who seek to deepen their relationship with God and one another. We welcome men, women, and youth to weekend, day and evening retreats, and programs where they can journey with God in an atmosphere of respect and hospitality.
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.
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.
Although its name does hint at the long, sharp-scented ranks of Christmas trees, Mark's Tree Farm acts as a gateway to many more of nature's marvels. In tribute to the powers of Mother Earth, Mark grows the trees without the use of any chemicals. The expert stargazer also invites groups to follow his laser pointer and the aim of his telescope during astronomy tours on the farm's enclosed viewing space.
Among the whispering leaves, the sharp tang of evergreen boughs mixes with the aromas of hickory and apple wood in the cooling air. Mark lubricates all of his cutting tools, which slice chips and chunks for smoking meats with canola oil, rather than petroleum-based lubricants that can carry carcinogens. He also packages firewood in custom lengths to fit in different stoves and underwhelming time capsules.
Since opening in 1975, Haight-Brown Vineyard has churned out 2,000 cases of grape-based libations each year from its nearly 10-acre vineyard and welcomed visitors into its rustic, cottage-like wine house. Emphasizing vinifera and French hybrid grapes, the state’s first-established winery creates a selection of wines that include the Big Red, a bold syrah; the Morning Harvest, a rich malbec; and Honey Nut Apple, a traditional apple wine that incorporates local honey and cinnamon. Vintners share their time-tested expertise during regular classes that teach aspiring oenophiles about a variety of vintages and techniques for cheese and chocolate pairing. Amid the tasting room’s wood accents and crackling stone fireplace, customers sample vintages and attempt to describe taste sensations with adjectives such as “silky” or “very different from milk.”
Manny Miranda learned the art of winemaking from his father and grandfather, who hand-pressed their grapes in the courtyard of his childhood home in Portugal. Fifty years later, with the help of his wife Maria, Manny finally opened his own winery, Miranda Vineyard, and began fermenting delicately balanced vintages. In the past few years, wine-competition judges have taken notice: Miranda’s seyval blanc earned a 2010 Gran Harvester Award silver medal for its fruity taste, as light and crisp as a helium-filled apple. In addition, the Vinho Fino collected a 2010 Amenti del Vino International Wine Competition gold medal. The sprawling grounds of the winery play host to soft picnic blankets topped with lunching visitors, live concerts, Shakespearean performances, and tour groups of parched raisins.