With two locations and 140 acres of picturesque land, Duck Walk Vineyard remains a popular presence on the Long Island Wine Trail, having been voted in 2013 as one of the top wineries in Long Island by "Best of Long Island". Tastings of the winery's many vintages, including reds, whites, ice wines, and fruity dessert wines, draw crowds of visitors to both of Duck Walk's spacious facilities, where live music dramatically shatters listeners' emptied glasses. The festive atmosphere here also makes it a prime setting for weddings, rehearsal dinners, and other private events.
At City Steam Brewery Cafe, the owners concoct some of the area’s finest beers, scoring “best of” awards from Hartford magazine and Connecticut Magazine. They also brew potent batches of laughter inside their 200-seat comedy show-room theater. Ensconced in the historic Brown Thomson and Co. building, which was the state’s largest department store in 1877, Brew Ha Ha once was known as the Last Laugh Comedy Club, where fledgling unknowns such as Ray Romano and Kevin James vied for laughs in the smoky rathskeller of a restaurant.
Reborn in 1997 under a new moniker, the standup speakeasy keeps its calendar packed with nationally touring comics and local joke slingers. During shows, guests can toast with mugs of handcrafted beer and make edible sculptures of their favorite comedian using menu’s custom burgers, pizzas, and omelets.
Specializing in the art of chardonnay, Chamard cultivates varietal grapes on 20 acres of gently rolling vineyards, unleashing an assortment of palate-pleasing wines. Bring a guest and relish the ambrosial aromas and mouth-uplifting flavors of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, and cabernet franc blends created with time-honored winemaking methods and state-of-the-art graping equipment. Grasp a Riedel glass and try five wines while overlooking the pond on the deck, warming up by the tasting room's fire, or hiding in one of the cellar's wine barrels. After sampling fermented grape serums, customers can activate the power of a 15% discount to purchase a bottle of wine ($12.99–$24.99) for enjoying at home or christening a new caravel.
Beneath the low-hanging evergreen bows and weathered wood of the Deacon John Grave House—built in 1685—more than 40 microbreweries set up tents filled with kegs and bottles of suds. Foam flingers such as Blue Point, Harpoon, and Narragansett pour IPAs and summer ales, joining brewers of more exotic potions such as gluten-free beers or ales crafted by Trappist monks. As guests sip samples and snack on pizza and burgers, the deep bass vibrations of live bands aerate the beer for maximum flavor. All proceeds from the afternoon’s revelry go toward funding the SARAH Foundation, whose agencies provide programs and services for Connecticut residents with intellectual and other disabilities.
Ballou’s Wine Bar revolves around three prized delicacies: chocolate, wine, and coffee. From those staples, dozens of indulgent dishes ensue, including chocolate, Nutella, and peanut-butter-chocolate fondues and homemade truffles developed by Debbie, half of the husband-and-wife team that runs Ballou’s. Her chocolate fondue and homemade truffles are so deliciously decadent that they’ve earned the wine bar a spot on the Best of New Haven Reader’s Poll list for best desserts. In addition to rich desserts and froth-capped cups of cappuccino, guests can order wines from local and international vineyards, as well as a wide selection of pastas, sandwiches, and flat breads.