March Farms's hospitable agriculturists welcome families to a third-generation farm for autumnal activities as well as just-picked produce and fresh-baked treats. Admission grants visitors unlimited meandering through the sky-high stalks of a 5-acre corn maze. After picking a duo of gorgeous gourds, set up a picnic beside the hayloft playscape—a farm fantasy land complete with a miniature hayloft, schoolhouse, and playhouse, as well as a 450-foot tricycle track on which kids can pedal recklessly without worrying about state speed limits. Alternatively, treat noses to the aroma of the centrally located market and bakery, stocked with vegetables and fruits, such as a 4-quart basket of apples, fresh from Mother Earth's renewable cupboard. Baked treats are available daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with delicacies including a six-pack of cider donuts or a three-pack of large cookies.
Singled out for having the state's best clam chowder in Connecticut magazine's Best of Connecticut feature, Close Harbour hooks customers with a menu anchored in mouth-watering seafood. Start with crab-and-parmesan-stuffed mushrooms ($7) or pull out your scrimshaw spoon for New England, Manhattan, or Rhode Island clam chowder ($4/cup). Filet of sole stuffed with lump blue-crab meat ($18) reconciles the sea's two most notorious enemies, and swordfish cipolla parries a seasoned swordfish steak with a heaping helping of caramelized onions ($17). Resist flatware hegemony by getting your hands on a toasted roll topped with butter-sautéed lobster (market price), or give in to the powerful lettuce lobby with a pan-seared sea-scallop salad ($14). Any fish in the joint can also be baked, grilled, broiled, fried, or seared and plated with stir-fried veggies for $15.
Popular among Yale professors and local seafood connoisseurs, #1 Fish Market satisfies discriminating palates with its fresh shellfish and sushi-grade tuna, while a lineup of pre-prepared dishes, such as Rhode Island clam chowder and homemade lobster bisque, delights visitors with a taste of hearty New England fare. The market's ever-changing stock always features a variety of fresh-caught fish, such as scallops, sole, halibut, and cod, as well as a selection of frozen items that presents guests with more exotic feasts of Chilean sea bass, octopus, and Alaskan crab.
M.E.L.T. Fitness Studio's trainers see each body can be defined and molded with the appropriate exercises. Rather than a standard group workout for all their clients, they provide what they call group personal training, modifying and accentuating various exercises to the ability level of their students. They stick to a theme each day, reserving Tuesdays for fat-burning blasts, Fridays for abdominal work, and Saturdays for m.e.l.t.ed cardio, which burns as much fat as possible while building cardio endurance. Within that theme, they provide personal variations for each client to accommodate fitness level or injuries, very often naturally relieving chronic pain by carefully strengthening muscles around the affected area.
Bishop's Orchards was established in 1871, when the first of six Bishop generations began filling shoreline bellies with fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables. Today, having withstood 140 years worth of technology changes and weather disasters, the orchard continues to thrive, currently growing crops on more than 320 total acres—313 of which are family-owned. In 2005, the orchard stretched its homegrown empire into potable territories with the birth of a winery, which produces more than 15 wines using the farm's fruit. Not to be outdone, the orchard's market is still a year-round source for fresh produce more than a century after it sprouted into a humble roadside stand from a single appleseed.
The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood values customer loyalty as much as the freshness of their seafood, and both have contributed to it's recent success. The shellfish is about as local as it gets–the executive chef sources the eatery's lobster, clams, and mussels from the Rowayton Seafood Market right next door. This freshness is crafted into a seasonal menu, paired with the scent of salty coastal air, assails the senses in the sunlit, harbor-side dining room, where diners warm themselves by the fireplace or gaze out onto Five Mile River.
The chef's inspired dishes, which won Connecticut magazine's 2013 award for best seafood, draw on American and international recipes. The grilled domestic swordfish keeps things simple with accents of roasted asparagus and truffled onions, and the blackened mahi-mahi samples more tropical climates with coconut-jasmine rice and pineapple salsa. More than 120 international and domestic wines suggest endless pairings–from appetizers of fried calamari to desserts of housemade pie and seasonal crème brûlée. Free valet parking is available, and guests can also dock their boat at the restaurant by reservation.
Combining their freshly caught fish with ecologically sound practices, the Restaurant has partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Seafood Watch Program to serve sustainable seafood and help protect the balance of marine life.