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.
One of the largest conservation organizations in New England, Mass Audubon cares for 34,000 acres of natural land in a network of more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Its members receive free admission to these pacific preserves, where, alongside more than 150 endangered or threatened native species, they can breathe in Mother Nature’s perfume or have a good cry on her mossy bosom. During bird-migration season, alert gazes can capture some 300 species of sky surfer at Allens Pond on the South Coast, and visitors to Lincoln’s Drumlin Farm can re-enact Charlotte's Web with a motley band of sheep, cows, goats, and pigs.
Partnered with a ground crew predominately made up of fellow pilots, Dick Guisto, Mike Florio, and Vinnie Melling harness their commercial-pilot expertise for each Aerostat Promotions flight. After a half-hour of balloon inflation and preparation, up to four guests join their pilot at sunrise or 2.5 hours before sunset for an hour-long flight that affords aerial views of the Pioneer Valley’s breathtaking landscapes, abundant wildlife, and residential homes. Meanwhile, a chase team tracks the balloon from terra firma as it traverses approximately 10 miles of sky. Once visitors and their pilot rendezvous with the team, balloons are packed into a truck or twisted into to-scale elephant balloon animals before the group shares a champagne toast and appetizers.
After loading up groups into their cabins, Sports Travel and Tours’ coaches set a course for Fenway Park for an evening of AL East baseball as the Red Sox look to trounce the formidable Tampa Bay Rays and regain their crimson footing in one of the majors' most competitive divisions. Powerhouse designated hitter David Ortiz leads the BoSox’s offensive charge with more than 20 RBIs and a batting average well above .300 so far this season. Likewise, shortstop Mike Aviles has racked up more than 20 runs, making so many trips around the diamond that he always stops to water his redwood growing on the third-base line.
For more than 90 years, the same soft morning sunlight has poured over the fields of yellow sunflowers, tasseled stalks of sweet corn, and rows of grapevines growing at Rosedale Farms & Vineyards. In that span of time, five generations of Rosedales have tended to the farm’s fresh vegetables, fruits, and flowers, sharing them with the Simsbury community and even earning a nod in the Washington Post. It wasn’t until 2005, however, that the family produced its first vintage from its 4-acre vineyard of French hybrid grapes. Since then, the winery’s estate-grown vintages have earned several awards, including a double gold at the 2010 Vineyard & Winery International Eastern Wine Competition. Today, at the winery’s onsite bar, staff members pour samples of varieties such as the Simsbury Celebration, which distinguishes itself with a creamy structure, mineral overtones, and a penchant for hiding beneath lampshades. Additional events include fall farm fests that include free hayrides and corn mazes. Partnering with the Max Restaurant Group, Rosedale Farms & Vineyards also features chef-to-farm dinners, during which chefs prepare four- to six-course banquets using ingredients plucked straight from the fields.
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.