“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.
Brookfield, CT is a town of around 17,550 residents that is located at the foot of the Berkshire Mountains. Like most towns in this area, this land was home to Native Americans. Settled in 1710 by John Muirwood and other colonists, they bartered for the land from both the Wyantenuck Nation and the Pootatuck Nation under the rule of the Sachem Waramaug and Pocono. Originally called the Parish of Newbury, the town of Brookfield was officially established in 1788. Brookfield was a thriving mill town with grist mills, sawmills, etc. These mills were along the Still River and the area became known as the Iron Works District. In addition to being a mill town, Brookfield became a summer destination with lake fronts on both Candlewood Lake and Lake Lillinonah.
Brookfield is governed by a Selectman-town Meeting with a First Selectman as well as other Selectman. The town is divided into neighborhoods with the largest being Brookfield Town Center (otherwise known as the “Four Corners”) and Brookfield Center which is the historic district. In 2016, construction began to create a more inviting downtown area known as Brookfield Village. Ten highlights to Brookfield, CT are:
The Pottery Factory lets you explore your artistic side with several projects that include pottery painting, canvas painting, soap & candle making and glass fusing. Pottery pieces range in price and size from tiny trinkets to large detailed platters. It is a great place to bring the kids on a rainy day or school holiday. They offer several birthday party packages. It is also a favorite of mine to hang out with my friends and catch up. There are several Wine & Paint nights that offer detailed instructions to create masterpieces while having fun with friends and other adults.
Located on the banks of the Still River, The Brookfield Craft Center is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1954 with a mission to preserve fine craftsmanship and creative personal growth. It is home to six buildings (including the former grist mill) that house seven studios, an exhibition gallery and craft gallery. They offer many classes for both youths and adults in areas such as clay, jewelry, fiber, metal and wood. There are open houses in May and October where you can come explore their different offerings. They also offer a Youth Summer Program with morning and afternoon sessions.
If your family enjoys golf, Golf Quest is for you. Golf Quest provides lessons for every golfer from Junior (17 and under) on up. Lessons can be private or group with PGA Golf Professionals as your teacher. They have over 70 tee stations, 3,000 S.F. of putting green and a clubhouse. In addition, they have a Miniature Golf Course and Batting Cages. Birthday Party packages are also available.
Founded in 1968, the Brookfield Museum and Historical Society is home to the history of Brookfield, CT. They house various documents and artifacts pertaining to the town. They have several events and discussions on their calendar especially in the military field. One of their most famous events is the Annual Strawberry Festival the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. The festival starts upon the finale of the Memorial Day parade which ends by the Museum. There is a live band, antique automobiles on display, tours of the Memorial War exhibit and of course Strawberry Shortcake. An Open House is held in June where photographs, artifacts and stories are shared about how Brookfield helped to shape Connecticut’s history. They also host an Annual Patriotic Concert in late July featuring an eclectic mix of music from Patriotic tunes to popular favorites. The Museum is open every Saturday May through December from 12pm – 4pm.
If you have a budding baker in the family then you must contact Kelly’s Sweet Rewards in Brookfield. Not only do they create beautiful wedding and party cakes, they also offer a variety of baking classes. ‘Baking Buddies’ teaches kids from ages three (with Mommy and Me classes) up through 16 the art of baking with a variety of items like cookies and cupcakes. Adults are not left out, as Kelly’s Sweet Rewards provides special classes for them such as Cake Decorating and BYOB Cookie Parties.
Family owned and operated since 1978, DiGrazia Vineyards is one of the few vineyards on the Connecticut Wine Trail in Fairfield County. Dr. Paul DiGrazia, Founder and Original Winemaker can still be seen giving tastings and tours every weekend. Wine tastings are $10+tax and include tastings of 6 of their wines of your choosing. A picnic area is provided for a place to enjoy their wine while eating a nice lunch. Facility tours are also offered and run throughout the day. My favorite is their seasonal Harvest Spice, a blush wine with real sugar pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices.
With a total of 2.5 miles worth of trails, Happy Landings sits at 55 Whisconier Road in Brookfield. Formally the farming lands of John Benya, the city of Brookfield purchased the 55 acres of open space and 19 acres of woodlands from the Benya family in 1999. What makes hiking here unique is the scenery. Unlike most trails in Connecticut that are forested, Happy Landings has large open meadows with wide mown paths. There are two windmills which have been historically restored. Happy Landings is a great place to get in a quick walk or hike and in the winter months since it provides an open area for cross country skiers and snowshoers.
8. Still River Greenway
Just completed in 2016, the Still River Greenway is a trail running along the Still River that connects the Brookfield Municipal Center to Brookfield Town Center, otherwise known as the Four Corners. This trail is 2.25 miles long and is home to the longest footbridge in Connecticut. There are several benches to sit and relax while taking in the scenery. The trail is handicapped accessible and allows for walkers, runners, cyclists and roller-bladers to enjoy. An additional trail starts at the Brookfield Municipal Center and loops around the nearby woods.
9. Gurski Farm – Williams Park
Technically two different land preservation parks in Brookfield, CT, Gurski Farm and Williams Park are connected by several hiking trails. Together these parks make up around 200 acres. Originally a dairy farm, Gurski Farm was purchased in 1968 by the town to prevent retail development. Gurski Farm’s hiking trails wind around many open fields and run into a forested area where it meets with Williams Park. Williams Park is home to many recreational uses and includes tennis courts, volleyball courts and a playground. Trails are well marked and maintained by the local Boy Scouts.
The main branch of the Regional YMCA of Western CT, also know as Greenknoll, is located in Brookfield, CT. Available at this location are the main pool that is now covered, therapeutic pool, youth development center, cardiovascular room, strength training room, functional fitness room, sport courts and gymnasium. They provide many classes and specialize in swim lessons. This location also provides childcare for ages 18 months – 12 years old as well as a full-day summer camp. Memberships come in many levels for youths up through senior citizens. Discounted rates are offered for veterans, clergy, military, police, fire, EMTs and State of CT employees. Financial assistance is also available.
Have you visited Brookfield? Do you live here? What do you love about it?
Be sure to read all the posts in our Explore Fairfield County Series by clicking here.