Spring is here and you’re getting the itch to get out and do something fun. Well, whether you’re a long-time resident, new to Stamford or are like me, always broke, there are things you can do around the city that you may not have known or thought about.
Here are some ways you can Keep it Local that are both fun and FREE!
Parks: Stamford has so many great parks you can lose count! From ball fields, to beaches, to playgrounds and more, there are parks for everyone in the city…including the dogs! Until May 1st, ALL parks are free to enter. However, (from the Stamford Government site) parking permits are required at Cove Island, Cummings, West Beach, Southfield, Dorothy Heroy & Newman Mills Riverbank Walk, from May 1st through September 30th. Especially if you’re new to Stamford, now is the PERFECT time to check out these parks and see if they are places you think you will want to keep going to over the Summer. (you know, to see if it’s worth it to get the parking permit) Permit info: http://www.stamfordct.gov/cashiering-permitting/pages/beach-sticker
If you head to Scalzi Park, be sure to talk a walk along the Scalzi Riverwalk Nature Preserve. This spectacular peaceful bit of nature is home to many types of bird, animal and plant species that are just waiting to be seen and photographed. The volunteers work tirelessly to plant and replant, to clean and keep clean this bit of serenity in the midst of our crazed city. http://www.scalziriverwalk.org/
Egret taken from Scalzi Riverwalk
(Photo taken by Me 2015)
Go and check out the progress of the restoration project and beauty that is Mill River Park. Also, check out their website to find upcoming events and updates on STEM programs and other activities: http://www.millriverpark.org/ Over the Summer, they hold free exercise classes, movies in the park and much more!
Looking for a place to take your four-legged furry child? The Stamford Dog Park on Courtland Ave is a great spot for your dog to have a play date! If you have kids, you can bring them to look at the dogs playing and then head to the playground area where they can go on the swings and other equipment. There’s also a nice big field area for Frisbee or wiffle ball and picnic tables too. http://www.stamforddogpark.com/index.html
Ferguson Library: I love libraries and yet (I’m ashamed to say) haven’t visited one in quite some time. We tend to take these hidden-in-plain-sight gems for granted and forget that they are not just about the books! We have an invaluable resource in our library system and are lucky enough to have three branches of it as well as the Bookmobile that serves our city. A great way to ‘unplug’ for a while is to get back to reading. Why not check out a book and head outside on a nice day! Raining? Why not take some time to rediscover the library itself and soak in some peace and quiet away from your everyday chaos? (Remember, you can also check out ebooks and more on their website as well.)
The Ferguson Library has packed calendars of events for kids as well as adults that you can attend for free! From story hours, baby time and afterschool programs for the kids to knitting circles, computer classes and discussion groups for the adults, there is always something going on. (Please note: While most programs are free, some special events such as guest lectures may require you to purchase tickets.) Ferguson Library Website: http://fergusonlibrary.org/
Ferguson Library Main Branch
(photo courtesy of StamfordCTRentals.com)
Exercise: Stamford is home to two great shops that run free events around the city for runners, walkers and bikers (the Schwinn type…not Harley). First up, Fleet Feet Stamford on Bedford St. offers weekly fun runs that are free to join in and they have several to choose from: http://www.fleetfeetstamford.com/group-fun-runs
The second, Pacific Cycling & Triathlon, now on High Ridge Rd. also offers free events for those looking to get out there and get active. Hit up their Facebook page for events, updates and more: https://www.facebook.com/PacificSwimBikeRun/
Bartlett Arboretum: Over 100 years old, the Bartlett Arboretum is a treasure trove of gardens, wildlife, hiking trails and so much more. While you can go and discover so much of this on your own, they also offer classes and events for kids and adults alike. Among their many collections of trees, be sure to check out the Nut Tree collection! Where else are you going to find a collection of growing pecans, walnuts, chestnuts and others around Stamford?
Be sure to take your camera. If you’re a birder like I am (and if you follow WOTM on Instagram, you know what I’m talking about), there are many photo ops for all kinds of birds and other critters hanging out in the trees, ponds and along the trails. Kids will love the outdoor play area complete with some funky instruments they can bang out a tune on! http://bartlettarboretum.org/Home
(Photo Taken by Me 2014)
Avon Theater: The FTMA (Film and Television Masters Program) Talkback Series will be held at the Avon on Bedford St. presented by the Avon and Sacred Heart University. This FREE series will take place on the following four Wednesdays: April 6th, April 20th, May 4th and May 18th. The screenings will begin at 1pm on those days and here is the lineup of films to be shown: The Yazuka, Cape Fear (the original 1962 version), Something Wild and Married to the Mob.
Each screening will have Q&A’s with either Professor Justin Liberman or Professor Damon Maulucci depending on the film. For more information: http://www.avontheatre.org/index.php
Photo Courtesy of Avon Theater
Trolley Ride: You may have seen the old fashioned looking Harbor Point Trolley around downtown Stamford. Well next time you see it, HOP ON! The trolley makes 14 stops every 30 minutes going from downtown to the South end/Harbor Point area. Running 7 days a week, stops include the transportation center, Fairway Market and more. By the way, one of the stops is the UCONN Stamford campus. So if you’re new to the area and a student or work at the University and live on the trolley route, you now have a way to get to the school for free!
A ride on the trolley is also a great way to look at the city in a whole new way. You can ride it the whole loop and just take in the area. Maybe head down to a restaurant you haven’t been to before at Harbor Point or when the ARTWalk pieces are out over the Summer, the trolley ride can help you check off more sightings on your map!
For information on the Harbor Point Trolley, it’s route/stops map and info on the tracking app: http://www.harborpt.com/harbor-point-trolley/
Harbor Point Trolley
(Photo Courtesy of Stamford HamletHub)
There you go Stamford—just a few of the many great ideas on how to take in the city in new ways and for FREE too!
Have fun KEEPING IT LOCAL STAMFORD!!!
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