“Explore Fairfield County” is an informational series that provides a glimpse into the wonderful towns and cities in Fairfield County. Fairfield County is diverse in that it includes big cities, small suburbs, beaches, farms, and busy highways. It covers a large geographic area and, because of this, it has a lot to offer families! To help you get the most out of Fairfield County, our contributors have shared the top 10 things they love about each local area. To read more in this series click here.
New Fairfield, Connecticut is a small town bordering southeast New York, Danbury, Brookfield, Sherman, and New Milford. Once home to the Schaghticoke tribe, the colonial settlers negotiated with Chief Squantz to establish the township of New Fairfield in 1724 who denied their request. After a few years, in 1729, they were finally able to purchase 31,000 acres. In 1740, the town of New Fairfield was incorporated.
New Fairfield is governed by a Selectman-town meeting with a First Selectman and other Selectman. The town is roughly divided into locales including Ball Pond, Candlewood Shores and New Fairfield Center and many others. It was once known only as a summer resort destination but now home to more than 13,800 people. This lake town is most popular for:
Established in 1926, Squantz Pond State Park offers year-round enjoyment of many outdoor activities. Most popular is the pond itself which is visited by both Connecticut residents and New Yorkers alike. The pond offers areas for swimming, fishing, and boating with canoe and kayak rentals. There are also many hiking trails that run alongside the pond giving breathtaking views. Squantz Pond State Park also offers a Nature Center.
Pootatuck State Forest is located mainly in New Fairfield with a small portion in the neighboring town of Sherman. There are many activities that can be done here including hiking, letterboxing, mountain biking, birdwatching and cross-country skiing. The trails can be accessed from Squantz Pond State Park trails as well as from the main entrance. Both Squantz Pond and Pootatuck’s trails can be found on the map here. These trails provide gorgeous views of New England’s fall foliage.
Approved for creation in 1926 by Connecticut Light & Power, Candlewood Lake is the first large-scale operation of pumped facilities in the United States. This lake is bordered by not only New Fairfield, but also by Brookfield, Danbury, Sherman and New Milford. Not only used by utility companies, Candlewood Lake is a popular tourist destination for swimming, fishing, boating and golfing. It is also home to “Chicken Rock,” a mammoth sized rock from which people jump into the water. This rock is located just over the New Fairfield line in Sherman.
4. Preserve New Fairfield Annual Strawberry Festival
Running for over the past 10 years, Preserve New Fairfield, a group of volunteers who saved the Hubbell House and Parsonage from demolition, has been running the annual Strawberry Festival. Held in June, this Festival is focused on strawberry themed dishes. There is live entertainment, vendors, raffles and prizes. In addition, free tours of the Hubbell House and Parsonage are available on this day. It is a great way to kick-off summer and learn all about New Fairfield.
When in New Fairfield, you have to stop at The Goodie Shoppe. For over 20 years Marc Jayson, the owner, has been creating delicious delicacies including cakes, muffins, breads and even homemade bagels. There is also more to the Goodie Shoppe than baked goods. In the summer they offer a wide variety of ice cream flavors. They make their own quiche and what locals call “sledgehammer coffee.” This is not a spot that will disappoint and always a place for great conversation.
Located off the entrance to New Fairfield High School, the Community Park has an activity for any age. There are two soccer fields, a bocce ball court, softball field, picnic area and playground. I am also told by my husband who grew up in New Fairfield that it is a great place to fly a kite. Future plans for the Community Park include volleyball courts and upgrading the creative playground for handicapped accessibility.
Situated in the middle of the area school campus, Hidden Valley was created in 1960 by a group of local volunteers. Geared towards younger children, this Nature Center has a pavilion where you can pick up a checklist to learn and recognize certain plants and animals (FYI, avoid the poison ivy). There is also a story circle and an observation deck overlooking the marsh. In addition to looking for plants and animals at the observation deck, there are various hiking trails to seek out these flora and critters.
Located off the entrance of the Middle School, this one acre property is a place to let you furry friend run free and play with other dogs. The park is fenced in and features separate areas for big and small dogs. It is beautifully maintained with benches, waste bag dispensers, and waste bins. This is a great place for dogs and their owners to meet new friends.
Sitting at the crossroads of Route 37 and Route 39, the New Fairfield Public Library is not only a great place to check out a good book or two, but offers several great programs. During the week there are various children’s programs geared toward different age groups and seasonal bonus crafts like making a birdhouse. Adults are not left out of these programs as there is a Friday Night Crafting Club, Genealogy, and several other programs that change on a monthly basis. They also have several museum passes offering discounted rates. Every March, they hold their annual Friends of the Library Book Sale.
10. Delicious Restaurants
New Fairfield is home to several longtime Italian eateries serving the likes of Chicken Marsala and Eggplant Parmigiana. Bruno’s, owned by Bronx, NY natives, has been serving these classics and gourmet pizza for the past two generations! Close by is Portofino which offers the perfect date night ambiance and has been serving New Fairfield for over 30 years! If it is burgers and beer you are seeking, head on over to The 440 Line which sits right by Squantz Pond and Candlewood Lake. They offer a variety of craft beers and put out gourmet burgers such as ‘The Oktoberfest’ which is ground beef topped with ham, sautéed onions, whole-grain mustard and smothered in a German Beer Cheese.
Have you visited New Fairfield? Do you live here? What do you love about it?
Be sure to read all the posts in our Explore Fairfield County Series by clicking here.