“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.
Redding, Connecticut is often referred to as the “Vermont” of Connecticut for its rural setting. It boasts 32 square miles of country road, and 25% of the land is designated as open space, making it a pleasurable rural respite from the nearby city. Incorporated in 1767, it was made a parish named “Reading” (after Col. John Read) in May of 1729 and then incorporated as Redding in May of 1767.
It is bordered by Bethel, Danbury, Easton, Newtown, Ridgefield, Wilton, and Weston. The population is just under 10,000. Redding is part of the Easton-Redding Region 9 School District, having its own elementary (Redding Elementary) and middle (John Read Middle) schools, but sharing its high school with Easton.
With two state parks and hundreds of miles of walking trails, and the Georgetown sections hosting a great community of restaurants, Redding is a fun destination for nature lovers, history lovers, and foodies alike. Below are just a few activities that the serene and bucolic town boasts.
Nature and Outdoor Fun
Collis P. Huntington State Park has over 1,000 acres of woods and fields to explore (along with some life-like sculptures of bears and wolves). Go fishing in one of the five ponds or try cross-country skiing in the winter. Other activities include horseback riding and canoeing. It was donated to the state of Connecticut by the Huntington Family.
The 15,000 acres at Centennial Watershed State Forest offer excellent hiking trails, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The state purchased the land from the Aquarion Water Company in 2002.
Devil’s Den Preserve is the largest preserve in Connecticut, with 1,756 acres of land and 20 miles of hiking trails.
Saugatuck Falls Natural Area is a network of trails and the largest purchase of open space in town. Falls Hole is the heart of the Saugatuck Falls Area.
New Pond Farm is a working farm that hosts two annual festivals, the Founders’ May Fair and the Fall Harvest Festival. They offer various programs, from summer camps and astrology classes to barn dances, art shows, and adult lectures. They also host the annual Redding Road Race, with all proceeds supporting the farm.
Visit Warrup’s Farm for fresh produce (to pick yourself or from the farm stand), pumpkin picking, maple syrup, and apple cider. Warrup’s is one of the best to visit in Fairfield County during the fall “pick your own” season and less crowded than others in the area. They also offer hayrides.
Have fun ice skating at the Redding Community Center’s Seasonal Ice Rink. The ice rink is provided for the enjoyment of residents and their guests.
Downtown Georgetown and Restaurants
Despite its rural setting, Redding is home to some amazing restaurants, many located in downtown Georgetown, including the Wiremill Saloon and Barbecue, The Spinning Wheel, Black Cat Grille, Lombardi’s Trattoria, Dough & Co., Redding Roadhouse, Redding Ridge Market & Deli, Milestone Restaurant, and Uncle Leo’s Not Just Coffee & Donuts.
Redding Historical Society is a local nonprofit promoting Redding’s rich, historical heritage.
Putnam Memorial State Park is Connecticut’s first archaeological preserve and oldest state park. It is also the site of the Continental Army’s 1779 winter encampment under General Israel Putnam. Go ice skating in the winter or fishing in the summer. You might also catch a war reenactment!
The Mark Twain Library was founded in 1908 by the author himself (a resident of Redding) and was opened in 1910 after his death. A new children’s wing was added in 2000.