15 Best Things to Do in Southington (CT)

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Southington was a heavy industry town bordered by fruit farms.

During this time, the town’s manufacturers created some world firsts, such as the first cement that could harden underwater and the first carriage bolt cutter.

Almost all manufacturing has since left, and over the past few decades, Southington has set about revitalizing itself, demolishing many factories and retaining some industrial buildings.

For visitors, Southington’s main attractions are the ancient amusement park, Lake Compens, the rugged landscape of Metacomet Ridge, and the ancient orchards that have long earned the town the nickname “Apple Valley”.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Southington:

1. Lake Compounce

lake compensation

America’s oldest continuously operating amusement park is still remarkably healthy, with plenty of modern excitement in its stately retro attractions.

Dating back to 1927, the wooden roller coaster Wild Cat is the 14th oldest roller coaster in the world.

Many people travel to Lake Complan for one purpose: to ride the Boulder Dash, built in 2000 and often voted the best wooden roller coaster in the world by the Golden Ticket Awards.

More elegantly, the Lake Complance Carousel, consisting of 16 handcrafted horses, a chariot and a goat, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and dates back to 1890. Fast forward a century or so, and one of the latest is the intimidating Phobia Phear Coaster, which features an inline twist and a non-reversed loop.

There are plenty of quaint rides and entertainment for younger kids, as well as Alligator Cove Waterpark, included with admission, considered the best in Connecticut.

2. Barnes Museum

Barnes Museum

The wealthy Bradley/Barnes family lived on this Greek Revival homestead from its construction in 1836 until Bradley Barnes bequeathed it to the town of Southington in 1973. What he left behind is an incredible historical document, as the house retains its original furniture, gleaming with changes in New England lifestyle over nearly 150 years.

The Barnes Museum is filled with fine furniture, early photographs, paintings, lamps, ceramics and a variety of vintage home appliances.

When you visit, you can choose to take an in-depth tour to learn more about the house’s rich furnishings, decorative arts, clothing, and even documents such as Civil War letters and land records dating back to 1740.

3. Hubbard Park

hubbard park

Above the Quinnipiac Valley, the Hanging Mountain extends to the southeastern corner of Southington, as well as the neighboring towns of Meriden and Berlin.

This subrange of linear Metacomet Ridge consists of the same late Triassic basalt.

At the turn of the 20th century, Meriden industrialist Walter Hubbard transformed Hubbard Park’s 1,800-acre hanging hill into a park.

He hired James Law Olmsted (famous for Central Park) to build a pond, Mirror Lake, and put thousands of dollars into a free place for the people of Meriden to enjoy.

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In stark contrast to the park’s wild terrain, there is an elaborate garden and band that hosts events in the spring and summer, such as the Daffodil Festival at the end of April.

The event brings food trucks, craft fairs, carnival rides and fireworks displays.

4. Craig Castle

Craig Castle

In 1900, this castle-like observation tower, another project funded by Walter Hubbard, is located on the 297-meter east summit at the tip of the ridge.

Walter was a traveller, and the inspiration for Craig Castle has been the subject of debate, with models ranging from Norman castles to Turkish watchtowers on the Danube.

The structure also resembles a tower in the village of Craigellachie in Moray, Scotland.

There is a dedication plaque at the foot of the tower telling you what you can see in clear weather.

To the south is Long Island Sound, and if you turn north, you can make out the outline of Berkshire, Massachusetts.

5. Kinship Brewing

Kinship Brewing

Wherever you go in Connecticut, there’s always a craft brewery around the corner, but Kinsmen Brewing stands out in a crowded market.

For starters, the location is great, in a 100-year-old brick factory off the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (more on that below). The bar has a terrace accessible from the trail and is open for exceptionally long hours 7 days a week, until 00:00 on Friday and Saturday nights.

Beers are available for every flavour (ten in July 2019). If you like hoppy beers, there’s always a handful of IPAs and double IPAs, as well as lagers and Witbiers, some creative fruit-infused creations, and a bunch of dark and malty porters and stouts.

With regular live music on weekends, Kinsmen just opened Sauced, a live kitchen serving pizza and Italian sandwiches.

6. Southington Hills

southington mt.

Perfect for recreational and novice skiers, Mount Southington’s ski season runs from December to around mid-March.

Southington Mountain is small but well-run, with a total skiable area of ​​just over 50 acres, consisting of 14 runs and a terrain park, all served by 7 lifts with fast-moving routes.

Night skiing is available on all runs on Southington Mountain and there are snowmaking facilities throughout, so there is always reliable coverage.

The prices are also very affordable, especially if you come between 10:00 and 15:00 on weekdays, you can get to the slopes for only $35. Naturally, the resort offers classes, individual lessons and packages for children and adults.

7. Rogers Orchard

Rogers Orchard

Connecticut’s largest apple grower is located in Southington, covering 250 acres and growing 20 apple varieties, from Galas to Idareds.

Founded in 1807 and now in its 8th generation, Rogers Orchards, in addition to its rows of apple trees, produces many other fruits and vegetables, especially summer fruits such as apricots, plums, peaches and nectarines, and autumn pumpkins .

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At the farm shop, you can buy cut flowers, honey, sauces, cheese, firewood, Christmas decorations, delicious homemade pies (15 varieties) and cider doughnuts.

Pick-your-own apple season is the best time from early September to late October, and the farm website has a helpful calendar that tells you when your favorite apples are ready.

8. Southington Town Green

Now, just like more than 200 years ago, a small blade of grass in front of the town hall plays a role in local life.

The green space is the heart of the Southington Center Historic District and is home to the town’s farmers market in July and October, with deals every Friday afternoon.

For nearly 30 summers, Southington also hosts the Green Music program from June to September.

There is a concert every Wednesday night to suit most tastes, whether you like pop rock, soul, country, funk, jazz or polka.

9. Ragged Hill Memorial Reserve

Ragged Hill Memorial Reserve

A 200-million-year-old basalt ridge crosses Southington’s east side on its way from Long Island Sound to the Massachusetts-Vermont border.

Along this fault, Metacomet Ridge forms mountain peaks and towering cliffs, and brings an unusual ecosystem to its alkaline soil.

One of these peaks is a ragged peak, 232 meters high, which sits above the Wasser Reservoir to the west.

Ragged Mountain Memorial Preserve has several trails (not always clearly marked) and some steep ascents if you’re heading to the top, but the views in the distance are worth the effort, giving you unobstructed views of Southington, Berlin and parts of New Britain.

Additionally, Ragged Mountain passes the 52-mile Metacomet Trail, a Blue-Blazed trail that follows a ridge to the Massachusetts border.

10. Sunset Rock State Park

sunset rock state park

Another scenic area formed by Metacomet Ridge is north of Ragged Mountain, where west-facing cliffs offer romantic views of Crescent Lake.

You can hike up to this lookout on the Blue-Orange Trail, which has some testing sections, but it’s worth it for the views and foliage along the way.

There are also mountain bike trails, a high-speed trail going down, and a technical rock trail going uphill.

For a more relaxing time, you can take a picnic to the lake or fish for largemouth bass.

11. Hawke’s Landing Country Club

Eagle Landing Country Club

Nearly next door to Sunset Rock is the highly regarded 18-hole par 71, designed for all ability levels, deep in towering mixed woodland.

The course is set on rough terrain and occasionally offers exhilarating views east to Metacomet Ridge.

The par 4s and 5s at Hawk’s Landing tend to be short and require a little skill on the tee.

An 18-hole green fee with a cart is $50 on weekdays and $60 on weekends.

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To wrap up your round table, Club 19 offers an enticing international menu of salads, wraps, burgers and sandwiches (the prime rib grinder is a winner), and features an outdoor bar with views of the course perfect view.

12. Southington Public Library

Southington Public Library

Southington has a public library that almost any town would be proud of, housed in a grand Classic Revival building dating back to 1902. This is an especially great resource for families, as the Children’s Department is a caring environment where young people can play, learn and explore.

The kids’ activity calendar is filled with fun things like story times, movie screenings, and in the summer roaming the railroad, a road train that tours the library parking lot.

For adults, there are art exhibits, drawing lessons, engaging lectures, poetry readings and self-help classes.

13. Karabin Farm

Karabin Farm

One of the great things about living in a mid-sized town like Southington is that rural businesses like Karabin Farm are within easy reach.

Spring things start when the farm opens daily for fruit, vegetables, flowers, maple syrup, farm-raised meats, and fall is a lively apple picking season.

This could be the high point on the calendar, with varieties like Honey Crisp, Yellow Delicious, Macoun, Mac and Fuji ending in late October with Red Delicious and Cameo for the next two and a half months.

Picking apples is always exciting for smaller family members, as you’ll travel to the orchard in a tractor-towed van.

PYO pumpkin season coincides with later apples, turkeys and Christmas trees in a few weeks.

14. Southington Memorial Park

A must-have for any town, this 20-acre memorial park features sports facilities, duck ponds and a children’s play area.

There is a swimming pool, open to residents only, and the rest to all, including three tennis courts, a floodlit football field, baseball fields, a basketball court and an inviting picnic area.

There is also ice skating when the pond freezes in winter, and in summer the many tall trees create plenty of shade.

15. Southington Linear Walk

Southington Straight Walk

There is a 4.1 mile walking trail between Hart Street and the Southington/Cheshire Line, on the right of the old New Haven and Northampton Company railroad.

Built in the mid-19th century along the early Farmington Canal, the line connected New Haven and Northampton in the 1820s.

The Southington Linear Trail is a large paved trail suitable for even the kids that takes you through tree canyons, old bridges, and some interesting historic industrial buildings like the brick Clark Bros. Bolt Co. Factory No. 2 1910s ( Now home to Kinsmen Brewing).

The trail is part of the 81.2-mile Farmington Canal Heritage Trail that will eventually run nonstop from the Yale University campus in New Haven to Northampton, Massachusetts.

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