The town of Enfield is located in the northernmost tip of Connecticut, just off the Massachusetts State Line on the east bank of the Connecticut River.
While Enfield is a rather sleepy place, with most of its commerce concentrated in an open-air shopping mall along Hazard Avenue, there’s a lot to see and do within a short drive, and the list goes on anywhere is 10 miles away.
In addition to Six Flags New England, there are beloved local museums, historic homes, craft breweries, farm shops and family attractions offering activities such as mini golf and laser tag.
You’ll never have to go too far to find a peaceful walking trail that follows an old railroad or canal tow, where ships sailed on the Connecticut River in the 19th century.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Enfield:
1. Six Flags New England
The oldest amusement park in the Six Flags chain opened in 1870, just across the river and state line in Springfield, Massachusetts.
For anyone who loves thrills, the Superman ride that falls from a height of 67 meters is still big news in the roller coaster world, ranking in the top five of the Golden Ticket Award’s top steel coasters every year from 2001 to 2018 . Some of the other premiere White Finger experiences include Flashback, Batman: The Dark Knight, Goliath, Cyclone of Evil and Revenge of the Riddler.
New for 2017, Joker is a “4th dimensional roller coaster” that will make you giddy up to six times along its twisty track.
There’s also a catalog of other rides, both high-tech and more traditional, like the gorgeous 1909 Illions Carousel and Houdini – The Great Escape, an insane ride.
Younger kids will be drawn to the cartoon-filled fun at Looney Tunes Movie City, while Kidzopolis has many more modest rides.
2. Powder Hollow Brewery
A craft brewery with a regional presence, Powder Hollow’s beer can be found throughout north-central Connecticut, with canned beers appearing in stores across the state.
Right in Hazardville, Enfield, you’ll find all the fuss in the charming pub, open 7 days a day and until 22:00 on Fridays and Saturdays.
Powder Hollow selects high-quality hops, wheat, barley and yeast to create an eclectic, surprising and ever-changing line of beers.
As of this writing in July 2019, there are 12 to choose from, including Bayonet Blonde, Hoppy Hollow IPA, Lift Your Kilt (Scottish beer), Muddy River Scantic Brown Ale, Early Morning Oatmeal Stout and 1929 Prohibition Porter.
You can order a flight of four out of five to try something new, and if you’re hungry, you can always order a pizza.
3. Connecticut Trolley Museum
Dedicated to the Electric Railroad, this lovely seasonal museum is located on a restored 1.5-mile stretch of the Rockville branch of the Hartford and Springfield Street Railroad Company, which opened in 1901. The line was abandoned when the company went bankrupt in 1926, but 14 years after the piece underwent some restoration, the Connecticut Trolley Museum is the oldest of its kind in the country.
Your admission fee gives you unlimited rides on cars on the well-preserved New Orleans Public Service, Boston Elevated Railroad, Connecticut Company, Montreal Streetcar, and Fairhaven and Westville Railroad.
Some are on static display in the museum shed, and some are in restoration shops.
The main hall of the visitor center has some great examples and details the origins and progress of the American streetcar.
4. Sonny’s Place
Near Somers, Sonny’s Place is one of those big family attractions that has it all.
For a very brief summary, you’ll find go-karts, laser tags, batting cages, climbing walls, huge outdoor soft play structures, mini golf, mini bowling, gyroscopes and ziplines.
Friends and family can also try out the new Hologate VR game, co-op against robots and zombies, or have an innocent snowball fight.
In 2017, Sonny’s Place acquired a beautiful carousel that dates back to 1925 and features hand-carved and painted horses.
All these activities will make you hungry sooner or later, and there’s a restaurant with a takeout window so you can have a picnic in the summer.
5. Windsor Lock Canal State Park Trail
For an easy but picturesque walk, you can cross to the west bank of the Connecticut River and pave 4.5 miles of trails along the old tow path of the Enfield Falls Canal.
The waterway was built in the 1820s to bypass the shallower section of Enfield Falls, which has rapids.
Although the canal quickly became obsolete when the railway arrived, it was repurposed in the mid-19th century as a means of powering mills, and factories appeared along the tow road.
The Windsor Locks are named after the canal’s own locks, which are still in place but have been out of use since the 1970s.
Take your time on the trail to enjoy frequent views of the river.
6. Scantic River State Park
Enfield is fortunate to have a plethora of public natural spaces, but confusingly, the largest park in the area is actually spread across several different spaces, all on or near the meandering banks of the namesake.
The park totals less than 800 acres and flows into East Windsor and Summers in some places.
When in doubt, head to Hazard Avenue, which has a green corridor with Somers across the town line, at Powder Hollow Section and Scantic River Linear Park (west and east), and the Bailey Road lot on the opposite side.
Linear Park has a meandering Yellow-Blazed trail that follows the riverbank into the tranquil hardwood forest.
There are benches to enjoy the view, and several small bridges to cross the creek of the river.
7. Enfield Public Library
For those living in the Enfield area, the public library is a godsend, not only because of its extensive catalog, but also because of its many programs for everyone.
Something happens almost every day, and for kids, it could be the Star Lab portable planetarium, stargazing, baby rhyme time, art club after school, story time, wildlife talks, magic shows, and more.
For adults, there are book discussions, author talks, and soundtrack performances, and that’s just the surface.
There are film screenings on Fridays, in the morning for kids and later for adults.
8. The Phelps-Hathaway House
In neighbouring Suffield, this historic house is a remarkable document of 18th century architecture and the lifestyle of the wealthy.
The earliest parts of Phelps-Hatheway House were built in 1732, with major changes made in 1795 by renowned architect Asher Benjamin for land speculator Oliver Phelps.
Benjamin added the grand Doric colonnade that greets you at the main entrance.
The building’s central block, built in 1762, surrounds a spectacular chimney and is adorned with beautiful original woodwork.
At one point, after Phelps and Gorham purchased 6 million acres in upstate New York, Phelps was one of the largest landowners in the United States and lived here from 1788 to 1802. The house is open for tours on weekends from May to October and offers a glimpse into the Phelps family and their former Burbanks family life.
The property is filled with 18th century furniture and Art Deco, and features exquisite flower beds on the outside.
9. Pell Family Farms, Summers
Just the kind of place you’d expect to stumble upon in rural New England, the Pell Family Farm dates back to 1930 and is now in its fourth generation.
Between late spring and fall, you can visit to pick your own berries, while the nursery specializes in perennials, intimate trees, and ornamental shrubs.
To keep the whole family entertained, there’s also a corn maze, hay wagon, pony cart, face painting and some farm animals like goats and donkeys that the little ones will love.
There is a pumpkin patch in the fall, and in the coming season, people come to pick and cut down their own Christmas trees.
10. Redstone Rail Trail
You can take this short, sweet trail along the state line in East Longmeadow.
The Redstone Rail Trail is just over 1.5 miles in length and follows the long abandoned beds of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Armory branch of the New York and New England Railroad, in use from 1872 to 1968. Head north, walk towards the end and you will see the well-preserved old East Longmeadow train station.
Another quirk near the trail is the East Longmeadow Rotary, a street intersection with no traffic lights that, unsurprisingly, is notorious among drivers!
11. New England Air Museum
The largest aviation museum in the Northeastern United States is an easy road trip to the other side of the Windsor Locks.
Aviation has played an important role in Connecticut’s history, and this museum will tell you all about Sikorsky Aircraft Company, which was founded in the town of Stratford and produced America’s first viable aircraft in the 1930s helicopter.
De Havilland, Douglas, Grumman and Lockheed displayed eight Sikorsky aircraft and helicopters out of a total of 92 aircraft in three hangars.
Among the exhibits not seen anywhere else are America’s oldest aircraft, the Silas Brooks Balloon Basket (1870), the last surviving Sikorsky VS-44 airship and the manufacturer’s oldest aircraft, the Sikorsky S-39.
12. Grasmere Country Club
Open to guests, this private club in Enfield boasts a nine-hole course in lush, hilly terrain with flowing streams and manicured fairways and greens.
Concealed bunkers and grass bunkers will test your approach game, and there’s a practice green to help you find your touch before you start.
$21 on weekdays and $22 on weekends is reasonable considering the high level of maintenance, and you can rent a gas truck for $8.
13. Brainerd Park
Oddly enough, Brainerd Park is located on Brainerd Road in Enfield (note the spelling difference!) and is a handy local recreation area, especially if you have young children.
Hidden in fresh coniferous forest, the playground is covered with wood chips and offers large sets for toddlers and older children, surrounded by shade benches for weary parents.
For older visitors, there’s a basketball and softball court, and as we write this in 2019, all is well.
14. Broadbrook Brewing
This unpretentious craft brewery has just found a comfortable new home in Suffield.
Broad Brook Brewing has a cozy wood-paneled restroom filled with some IPAs (including doubles), a porter, a red ale, a stout, and a German-style beer.
You can try a flight and ask the staff for some advice, and if you’re in a different mood, there’s a selection of guest wines.
The bar is open Wednesday to Sunday.
15. Enfield Square Shopping Centre
Enfield has had a mall since the early 1970s, and although Enfield Square is anchored by Target, it’s more of a place to grab a bite and watch a movie than get some serious shopping done (Danger Avenue nearby). There are more stores). Cinemark puts customer experience over revenue by offering larger, more comfortable reclining seats.
Come Thursday for half-price tickets and watch the new release for as low as $6.10. For food, Enfield Square Mall is home to fast food and full-service chains such as Outback Steakhouse, Wendy’s, Subway and Starbucks.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Enfield, Connecticut (CT)
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