15 Best Things to Do in Wallingford (CT)

Once a manufacturing town known for tableware and silverware, Wallingford has moved into the high-tech industry over the past 20 years.

For you and me, Wallingford’s appeal comes from its abundance of natural beauty and country businesses such as two award-winning vineyards, a cider factory and a much-loved farm stand.

Spectacular natural features dot the basalt Metacomet Ridge east-west horizon, and you can hike along the fault on the Mattabesett Trail to enjoy views from this natural ledge for miles away.

The Toyota Oakdale Theatre draws audiences from central Connecticut, while the Trail of Terror is October’s famous Halloween attraction with amazing production value.

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

1. Gouveia Vineyards

Gouvia Vineyard

Over 32 acres of vineyards on an idyllic hilltop in the South Wallingford countryside, maintained by the Gouveia family.

The winery produces 90,000 bottles a year, using proprietary technology imported from Portugal by founder Joe Gouveia, who grew up in a village near Viseu.

Gouveia Vineyards grows a wide variety of grapes including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Seyval Blanc, Traminette, Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, just to sum up.

The beautiful stone house sits on top of the hill with panoramic views in all directions, and welcomes visitors year-round for wine tastings, as well as wine cellar tours on weekends from spring to autumn.

At the $12.00 tasting session, you can taste five pre-selected wines and one of your choice.

2. Toyota Oakdale Theater

Toyota Oakdale Theater

Wallingford may be a small town, but is home to a large mixed-use venue serving the area.

The Oakdale Theatre began as an open-air stage for summer performances in 1954 and has since become a concert venue for Paul Anka, Tom Jones, The Who and The Doors.

A wooden dome was added in 1972, and then the site underwent its largest renovation in the mid-90s at a cost of $21 million.

There is now a cavernous main auditorium with a capacity of 4,803 and a smaller dome with a capacity of 1,649. The Act features touring artists throughout the year (Avril Lavigne and Maren Morris in 2019), tribute shows, dance companies, sports entertainment, and large-scale live performances by children like Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol.

3. Paradise Hills Vineyards

Paradise Hills Vineyard

Another recommended stop on the CT Wine Trail is Paradise Hills, a Tuscan-style boutique winery on 65 acres of rolling countryside.

The Ruggiero family has been tending these vines since 1997, growing Vignoles, Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc, Cayuga, Vidal Blanc, Tramenet and Chambourcin grapes.

The idyllic terroir benefits from plenty of summer sun and ample drainage.

Wine tastings are held daily in the refined Copper indoor bar and in the summer outdoor bar.

On a first-come, first-served basis, you can sample a selection of award-winning red wines such as Landon Noir and St.

Croix, as well as the vineyard’s white Traminette variety, has floral aromas and notes of melon, white peach and lime.

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Check the winery’s calendar before you come, as there are also regular live music performances.

4. Farmer Joe’s Garden

Farmer Joe's Garden

For the folks in Wallingford and Meriden, this farm stand offers a basket of super fresh organic produce as part of a community-supported farming program.

But you can also go to the store and buy seasonal fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, milk, butter, cream, preserves, honey, maple syrup, spreads and sauces, and more.

If you’re visiting with kids, you can turn it into an excursion as there are farm animals like goats, chickens and pigs in the back.

5. New England Cider Company

New England Cider Company

The cider has been crafted at this facility in the Quinnipiac River Industrial Estate.

Like a craft brewery, the New England Cider Company operates a cozy bar where you can sample their news Thursday through Sunday.

The company was established in 2013 by two friends who have many years of self-brewing experience.

When we made this list in the summer of 2019, there were six ciders to choose from, such as strawberry, ginger hibiscus and pineapple fruit, dried fruit Viva La Cider and the high-potency Double Fresh (9%). There are family games where you can order a range of cheeses and charcuterie to go with your cider.

6. Quinnipiac Linear Trail

Quinnipiac Linear Trail

This well-maintained walkway is located on an undeveloped natural corridor between the west bank of the Quinnipiac River and the Wilbur Cross Parkway.

The paved route, designed for walking, biking and skating, stretches over a mile from Community Lake to the south.

You’ll stroll through red maple, cedar juniper, and red oak forests surrounded by meadows, then cross Quinnipiac on a new iron bridge, before walking down Wilbur Cross, the trails by the river The side ends in a picturesque setting.

Interestingly, the landscape here is man-made: the community lake was built by a dam to power the local silver industry.

That dam ruptured in 1979, and these woods and meadows now grow on what was once the lake bed.

7. Mata Bassett Trail

Mata Bessette Trail

Wallingford is on the route of a 50-mile Blue-Blazed Trail, which runs through central Connecticut on a horseshoe-shaped route from the Connecticut River in Middletown to Mount Lament in Berlin.

The portion of the trail that goes through Wallingford hangs over Metacomet Ridge, a massive basalt fault formed 200 million years ago at the end of the Triassic period that runs north to south through Connecticut and Massachusetts for 100 mile.

On Wallingford’s trail is Tri-Mountain State Park, accessible only on foot, which contains the 230-meter Trimountain, which merges with Besek Mountain to the north and Fowler Mountain to the south.

8. Nehemiah Royce House

Nehemiah Royce House

This historic saltbox home at 538 North Street at the southern end of Little Dutton Park is an essential detour.

Nehemiah Royce (1636-1706) was a local carpenter, joiner, and blacksmith who began representing Wallingford in Connecticut Colonial Court in 1693.

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His house dates back to 1672, and just over a century later, George Washington visited his house twice, during the Revolutionary War in 1775 and in 1789, when he delivered a speech by an elm tree in front of the building. address.

Nehemiah Royce House is on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned by a conservation trust that occasionally opens for tours.

9. Track Karts

Track Karting

Equipped with a friendly safety-first team, this indoor go-kart facility offers high-intensity family fun.

On Track Karting offers “Arrive & Drive” that allows you to simply show up, pay, go through the registration process, and take part in an 8-minute warm-up race at one of the longest and fastest tracks in America.

For extra games, you can buy “game credits” that start at $24 per game, but are cheaper to buy in bulk.

Those 15 and older will drive a 6.5-horsepower GT5 Sodi go-kart that can go up to 40 mph.

Teens over the age of seven will compete in slower 4-horsepower karts with a top speed of 25 mph.

Party packages are available, and if you want to take your hobby to the next level, you can join the “Pro Club” and test your skills against the fastest karts in the region in a super fast 9hp kart.

10. Doolittle Park

Doolittle Park

This well-appointed local park has plenty of facilities for children and anyone looking to be active.

There’s a bunch of baseball fields, and tennis and basketball courts, and it’s all good.

The gazebo provides the shade needed in summer and is surrounded by plenty of benches and picnic tables.

A highlight of Doolittle Park is the newly improved playground, which is divided into two sections for toddlers and older children, both with unusual equipment to keep kids entertained.

The Wallingford Garden Market is set up every Saturday from mid-June to late-September with fresh produce, specialty foods, cut flowers, crafts, smoothies, homemade sauces, essential oils and more around the pavilion.

11. Sleeping Giant State Park

sleeping giant state park

Wallingford’s southwest border sweeps across this state park, protecting one of Metacomet Ridge’s many remarkable features.

The Sleeping Giant is a basalt ridge that looks like a sleeping giant on its back when viewed from the side, with recognizable features such as head, jaw, chest, hips, knees, and feet.

Measuring 2.75 miles long and 1.75 miles wide, the giant’s highest point is the left hip, topped by an observation tower built as a WPA project during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this monument offers stunning panoramic views of the Quinnipiac and Mill River valleys.

12. Walton Brook State Park

walton brook state park

Walton Brook State Park is recovering from a tornado and micro-outbreak in May 2018 and could be out of it in a few hours. The park reopened after six months and had taiga within five hours. – Acre Allenbrook Pond.

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Although parts of the forest were damaged in the storm, there were still impressive pine trees, reaching 30 meters high.

Established in 1919, Walton Brook State Park is a “roadside park”, a precursor to a highway rest stop, located in a high-traffic area of ​​Connecticut, now off I-91. In summer, you can take short trails, have a picnic and swim in the pond, which is also regularly stocked with trout between Open House and Memorial Day.

13. Wallingford, Sky Zone

Sky Zone Wallingford

Wallingford has branches of a national chain of trampoline parks that promise fun for kids and surprisingly punishing exercise for adults.

Like All Sky Zones, the park has a range of attractions such as the Skyslam where you can play your best LeBron James impressions, Ultimate Dodgeball, Battle Beam where you can challenge your opponents to test your balance and strength and the Foam Zone where you Can where you can dive into a bed of soft foam blocks.

For something more traditional, freestyle jumping in a room with a wall-to-wall trampoline.

You can get some serious workouts in Skyfit’s regular classes, along with Toddler Time and Glow, a kind of jumping club with black lights and music every Friday night.

14. Road to Terror

road of terror

Now more than 25 years old, this creepy outdoor attraction is only open during the Halloween season and relies on a dedicated team of volunteers.

Every year there are new themes, new stories, new costumes and new special effects, and always with some humor.

The scale of Trail of Terror is also astounding, as more than 30 interactive scenes with more than 50 costumed actors take up to an hour instead of minutes.

When you’re not scared, you’ll be in awe of the amount of work that has to go into props, set design, and characters.

Advance tickets go on sale as early as August and are worth checking out as queues for this popular attraction can be up to two hours.

When writing the theme for Road to Fear 2019, the theme was “Fear Takes Time”.

15. Taylor Mill

Taylor Mill

The tornado that hit Walton Brook State Park in May 2018 also hit this nature preserve at the town’s southernmost tip.

Tyler Mill will be closed for a year, but the 1,400 acres of woodland is open to hikers again.

Tyler Mill has an almost overwhelming selection of walking trails, and its steep terrain makes it the best mountain biking spot in the area.

For walkers, there is a trail for each experience level, and if you have the energy, the best one leads to a beautiful lookout.

If you’re lucky, you might spot a deer or a black bear in the distance in the woodland.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Wallingford, CT (CT)
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