“Explore Fairfield County” is an informational series that provides a glimpse into the wonderful towns and cities in Fairfield County. Fairfield County is diverse, including 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 things they love about each local area. To read more in this series, click here.
The town of Stratford is the easternmost town in Fairfield County, Connecticut’s Gold Coast. Situated on Long Island Sound with the Housatonic River to the east, Stratford offers a landscape full of quaint beaches and tranquil water views. With a population of approximately 52,112, this historic town is well known for being the home to Sikorsky Aircraft. Stratford has nine public elementary schools, two parochial schools (K-8), two public middle schools, and two public high schools. Here are the top things that I love about my town.
1. The Sea Wall/Lorship
If you are looking for the right spot to take in the beauty of the sound, the Sea Wall on Shoreline Drive is the perfect place. Whether you’d like to watch the sunset, sit and relax, or start a seaside walk, young and old love this scenic location. Nestled in quaint Lordship, this is a little place with lots of character. The community is welcoming, and businesses like Little Pub and Riley’s by the Sea offer fabulous dining options. Definitely check it out!
2. Paradise Green
The “Green” is a stretch of public land where locals meet at the gazebo for festivals, concerts, and farmers’ markets throughout the year. Paradise Green is a staple in the community, surrounded by a shopping area within walking distance of family neighborhoods. Offering delicious eateries, ice cream, and even the popular Star Factory Party Zone. Check out the iconic Paradise Pizza, Open Door Tea, or The Sitting Duck Tavern for a bite to eat. New to the strip is the famed Micalizzi’s Italian Ice and the fabulous Tasty Yolk. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a sweet treat, Stratford’s Paradise Green has you covered!
Boothe Memorial Park & Museum sits on 32 acres of land. It was the estate of the Boothe family for many generations and was willed to the town in 1949 for the public to enjoy. The grounds are home to unique buildings, a picturesque garden, and a handicapped-accessible playground. It’s a great spot for a photo shoot or to bring a picnic. The Great Pumpkin Festival is a big attraction in the fall, and various concerts and events occur year-round. The park is free and offers plenty of parking to all.
Just a few blocks away from Paradise Green lies Longbrook Park. One of the many highlights of this park is a free fenced-in splash pad to bring those hot toddlers on a sunny day. Just opposite the splash pad is the Vicki Soto Memorial Playground. Decorated with flamingos and Christmas trees, it was built here in 2013 as part of the Where Angels Play Foundation. If your kiddo needs a stroller ride or loves wildlife, a quaint little duck pond is just around the corner.
Built in 1896, the Stratford Library is a beautiful, historic building that may be my favorite library in Fairfield County to visit. This library hosts many events for children, teens, and adults year-round. Be sure to check out their uCreate space, “Where people of all ages can gather to learn, create and share.” The library received a renovation to the children’s section, which has offered additional functionality and a variety of spaces for little ones to read and play.
Who doesn’t love an ice-cold craft beer? Stratford is lucky enough to be home to its famous brewery! Two Roads has been named one of the ten best breweries in America in the past by Paste Magazine and has won numerous awards. Founded in 2012, this brewery offers weekly tastings with local food trucks offering tasty nibbles. You can find their beer at most liquor stores in the tri-state area and beyond! Two Roads recently opened their very own Food Hall earlier this year. It’s worth checking out.
7. Zacks Frozen Yogurt and Frenchie’s Coffee Bar
Zacks is a town staple. If you are a local, you HAVE been to Zacks. They are known for their creamy and delicious frozen yogurt, unique flavors, and old-school vibe. They rotate their flavors weekly and offer a consistent list for those who can’t be without them. Check them out on your way into Lordship; you WILL not regret it. Have a dairy intolerance? Zacks also offers a non-dairy option so everyone can enjoy a frozen treat!
If you’re like me, you LOVE a good latte and a place to connect. In Stratford, Frenchie’s Coffee Bar is the place to be. Friendly and consistent service is just one of the things that makes this place unique. In addition to hosting community events and getting to know their customers, Frenchie’s welcomes your furry friends along. Feel free to sit inside, cozy up, and get some work done, or grab your drink and food to go by ordering on their website! This place is the perfect addition to Stratford and represents the true meaning of “small-town vibes.”
8. Figlars Farm
What’s better than a small town with farmland that offers community staples such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and seasonal decor (pumpkins, hay bales, cornstalks)? Figlars Farm is adjacent to St. Marks Catholic School on Wigwam Lane. It’s a self-service location, which gives it even more small-town charm. Walk in and help yourself to their seasonal selections, leave your payment behind, and prepare to return often. This place is not to be missed!
If you mention Stratford, CT, a friend or two will likely know someone who works at Sikorsky Aircraft. Sikorsky was established in the 1920s by Igor Sikorsky, the first helicopter manufacturer! With a rich history of aircraft, it is no surprise that Stratford is home to the Connecticut Air and Space Center. This is an air museum that displays vintage aircraft, memorabilia, and artifacts that pertain to Connecticut.
10. Roosevelt Forest
A beautiful forest and wildlife sanctuary, this peaceful sliver of nature offers hiking trails, fire pits, and many places to picnic. Parking on 700 Peters Lane in the Oronoque neighborhood of Stratford requires a sticker, but many people park along the road. This is the best spot for a short family hike in the quiet of nature. Have a furry friend? Fabulous, Jared’s Dog Park is located just a short distance from the main lot of the Forest!