Discover Some of the Best Fall Day Trips in CT
Enjoy 80 Acres of Fall Foliage, Bird Watching, Nature Walks, Stargazing, Family Activities and More
The season’s changes brings more than exploring fall foliage at Grace Farms. Within our 80 acres of natural meadows and woodlands, visitors can discover nature’s seasonal patterns, including fall bird migration. Besides the birds migrating south to warmer weather, the constellations also follow their own unique shifts as the northern hemisphere transitions into fall. These seasonal changes also signal the start of some of our signature events like our Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament.
As the seasons change, so will our on-going art programming for children and families. Young artists, ages 3 to 10, and their adult caregivers are invited to spend time together experimenting with new materials and techniques during this facilitated program series. Over the next few months, our permanent installations will serve as inspiration and learning.
There are also on-going activities in our subterranean Court for people of all ages and abilities. Activities include pick-up basketball, pickleball, volleyball, and other sports.
Grace Farms is free to the public and open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am-6 pm; Sunday from 12 pm-6 pm.
Fall Day-Trip Suggested Itinerary
10:30 am–12:00 pm | Bird Watching at Grace Farms, Fall Migration 10-5
The restoration of meadows and natural habitats at Grace Farms has brought back wildlife, including many birds. More than 90 species have been counted within our 80 acres of natural preserves. Throughout autumn, Master Birder Frank Mantlik and Grace Farms Foundation’s Nature Initiative Director, Mark Fowler, will bring participants of all ages and experience levels on a tour to learn more about the species of birds that thrive on Grace Farms’ 80-acre preserve.
We’ll be walking on mown trails, which may be wet, so please wear appropriate footwear, and dress for the weather. Registration is free.
Master Gardener Nick Mancini will explain in the fall series about the kind of vegetables to grow in the fall and how to compost and grow garlic. Our series offers hands-on learning where participants can discover how to plant fall vegetables like greens, cucurbits, radishes, and carrots that are well suited to a late fall harvest. Attend an overview of the planting season and learn how to prepare for next year’s season on 12-7. Registration for all events is free.
Enjoy a guided fall tour through Grace Farms’ 80 acres of open space. Naturalist Laura Green, Yale Forestry School, and Nature Initiative Director, Mark Fowler, will explain the importance of tree species and how they add to our bio-diversity. With numerous trees and meadows, Grace Farms is the perfect place to admire nature and the seasonal colors in Connecticut.
Fall Nature Walks are open to adults and children of all ages. They will include a substantial amount of walking outdoors, so please wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.
Registration is free.
10:30 am-2:30 pm | Open Arts Studio for Families (every Saturday)
Young artists will learn how to play with play with light and shadow at September’s workshop inspired by Double Glass River—a permanent installation from artist Teresita Fernández made of mirrored glass cubes.
This is a facilitated art series. Please note that the materials fee is $5 per participant, payable by credit card at the West Barn Welcome Center. Guardians are required to stay with their children. Register online through our GraceFarms.org calendar.
10:30 am–12:00 pm | Grace Farms Tours, every Thursday & Saturday
Explore the River building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects SANAA. While experiencing nature, learn about the River building’s unique characteristics. We recently received our second LEED certification, the Prestigious Silver certification for Building Operations and Maintenance, complementing our existing LEED certification for Building Design and Construction. The certification was awarded by the premier accrediting organization developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Grace Farms Tours include a substantial amount of walking, including time outdoors between volumes of the River building, so please wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.
Please note that this tour accommodates 18 participants, and reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration is $25.
10:30 am–12:00 pm | SANAA’s Grace Farms, An Architectural Tour 10-12
Learn about SANAA‘s process for designing and creating Grace Farms, a new kind of public space that advances good through nature, the arts, justice, community, and faith. Explore the international award-winning River building and gain insight into the iterative process between client and architect, and hear behind-the-scenes stories about the materials and structural elements that were chosen to communicate Grace Farms Foundation’s vision.
This special tour will be led by Toshihiro Oki, who established his office in New York after working for several years at SANAA’s Japanese architectural office with Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa. Grace Farms was SANAA’s first project after winning the Pritzker Prize in 2010, the industry’s highest honor.
Registration is $25.
10:30 am–12:00 pm | Grace Farms Architecture & Sustainability Tour 10-26
Learn about our state-of-the-art mechanical systems and gain insights into our LEED construction and ongoing sustainability operations with Adam Thatcher, our Director of Operations & Sustainability. Experience behind-the-scenes to learn about the minimal-impact design of the River building and our year-round commitment to sustainable practices, including our energy and waste systems projects. Also discover how the design of our meadows, wet basins, and lifecycle of food at Grace Farms, supports our sustainable operations.
Registration is $25
8:00 pm–9:30 pm | Astronomy at Grace Farms, Fall Constellations 11-6
Explore the fall constellations with New Canaan High School Planetarium Director, Tim Haag, and Grace Farms Foundation Nature Initiative Director, Mark Fowler. Learn about constellations like Aquarius, Aries, Pisces, and more. In November, we’ll look for the Taurid Meteor Shower, usually bright, spectacular shooting stars.
Please bring your binoculars. Telescopes will be available, but visibility is dependent on the weather.
Registration is free.
6:00 pm-7:30 pm | Community Dinners (third Friday of the month)
We plan our menus around our growing seasons in our garden. Enjoy a community dining experience in the River building’s Commons—a 6,900 square foot glass room with 360-degree views of natural landscape. Our tables are built from trees harvested on site, one of many sustainable practices. After dinner, there are (often free) events related to our five initiatives of nature, arts, justice, community, and faith.
Register online through our GraceFarms.org calendar.
We always have a vegetarian option inspired by the main dish. It may be decided up to the night of to ensure the freshest local produce. Advance registration is required for the Community Dinner. As a reminder, smoking and drinking are not permitted at Grace Farms.
Other Local Events
3:00 pm–5:00 pm | The Aldrich’s Weather Report and Eva LeWitt Opening
On Sunday, October 6, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum celebrates the opening of two exhibitions: Weather Report and Eva LeWitt. In Weather, artists have increasingly turned to other media to explore weather, while artist LeWitt debuts a significant, new site-specific installation commissioned by The Aldrich. To learn more about the event.
5:30 pm–8:00 pm | Glass House, Legacy of the Bauhaus
On Thursday, October 17, at the Phillip Johnson Glass House join design curator Murray Moss and RISD president Rosanne Somerson, for a conversation about the legacy of the Bauhaus — the 20th century’s most influential school of art and design — as it relates to design and art education today, particularly at the Rhode Island School of Design. To learn more about the event.
1:00 pm–5:15 pm | Glass House Study Tour
On Friday, October 18, tour important early examples of mid-century architecture designed by Philip Johnson on a one-day study tour of the Glass House (1949) and the Schlumberger Research Center Administration Building (1951-52). To learn more about the event.
6:00 pm–8:00 pm | Beyond the Glass House
On Tuesday, October 22, at the Phillip Johnson Glass House, (Beyond the Glass House: New Canaan Mid-Century Modern Houses 1947-1979) enjoy a discussion with architect Alan Goldberg, photographer Michael Biondo, and writer Gwen North. To learn more about the event.
11:30 am–1:00 pm | Art-Class Series at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
On Wednesdays, starting on October 23, take a contemporary art-class series. Led by Danielle Ogden, M.A., Ed.M., this 5-week course at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, provides a roadmap for understanding the works of some of the most influential artists of our time. “Getting” Contemporary Art Class Series are held on Wednesdays, October 23, 30, November 6, 13, & 20. To learn about the course.