Ridgefield Connecticut is an oasis of culture in the quiet countryside. With solid museums, perfomance venues, schools, and parks, all in proximity to two train lines to New York City, the town feels like a mirage for the weary commuter. It may be the Connecticut thinkingman’s best kept secret.
With just under 25,000 residents and 35 square miles, the lots are large here, even in close proximity toe the bustling downtown. Located on the border of New York and Connecticut, the town has a lot of neighbors such as Lewisboro, Redding, Wilton, North Salem, and Danbury. The downtown itself is sleepy but its proximity to Danbury and it’s shopping malls and numerous amenities make Ridgefield a well-connected place to live.
Fairfield County CT
The town has a Metro-North station called Branchville, but some northern residents prefer to get on at Katonah just across the New York border. Part of Route 7 that connects Norwalk to Danbury also passes through Ridgefield, and if you go just a few minutes north of town, you’ll hit I-84. Otherwise there are very few people “passing through” Ridgefield. It is a destination in and of itself and a reward for those willing to wend through the narrow curving state routes to get there. Ridgefield was rated the Safest Town in Connecticut, and it sure feels that way as you walk around Main Street viewing humble shops and friendly faces.
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For the Kids
Ridgefield has a very active Recreation department. Their recreation center offers swim classes and sports classes for the little ones. In additiona to the traditional soccer, basketball, and baseball, kids can participate in “Jedi Training”, Baton Twirling, Fencing, or just stop by the open gym. Little kdis can go wild in the Preschool Playroom, an open gym program with toddler-appropriate toys and play equipment. Kids can hose off during the summer in the spray bay, a splash zone operated by the town. Older kids will develop their skills at the town’s skate park, while younger kids will enjoy one of two unique town playgrounds: Imagination Station with lots to climb and explire, and The Sky’s The Limit, which resembles a village of treehouses but is full accessible to wheelchairs.
AMENITIES & RECREATION
There are several options for residents to let loose outside. Adults can take courses in varied topics from Dance to Dog Obedience at the town’s Recreation Center, and there is even an Out and About Club for adult residents with special needs to stay social. Martin Park Beach is a town-maintained swimming facility that uses Great Pond, a natural, spring-fed pond. Rent kayaks or paddleboards, launch a boat, or just go for a dip under lifeguard supervision. The semi-private 18-hole Ridgefield Golf Course is a hidden gem, with both public tee times and membership privileges.
Food & Drink
Ridgefield CT & Surrounding Area
Top 10 Restaurants
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Most of Ridgefield’s shopping can be done on foot down Main Street. Go for a stroll and you’ll find small-town charm in shops like Nancy O, a knitting store and gift shop. Or A Touch of Sedona, which carries Southwestern gifts and healing accessories. Stop by Turkey Ridge for the perfect hostess, teacher, or birthday gift. Books on the Common is the town bookstore. The Toy Chest is an independent toy store with a selection any kid would love.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Ridgefield has some of the strongest cultural institutions in the state. The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum hosts rotating special exhibitions of cutting edge emerging and established fine artists. The Keeler Tavern Museum is a site with a 300-year history as a farmhouse, tavern, stagecoach stop, post office, hotel, and private residence. Take a tour through the rooms and go back in time with themed areas from the 18th to the 20th century. Visit Weir Farm, a self-proclaimed “National Park for the Arts”. J. Alden Weir was a leading figure in the American Impressionist movement. Tour the park, participate in activities for all ages, such as the kid-focused Junior Ranger program or the Art in the Park Annual Festival held every summer. Visual artists can even apply for a month-long artist-in-residency.
Ridgefield was incorporated in 1709, one year after a group of settlers from Norwalk purchased the land from the Ramapo tribe. It gained historical notoriety in 1777 during the Battle of Ridgefield, where a Colonial militia co-led by Benedict Arnold faced a larger British force that was coming through from Danbury. The battle was a tactical victory for the British but a strategic one for the Americans because after that battle, Britain ceased all inland operations in Connecticut, sticking to the port towns like Westport. Ridgefield became a sought-after summer home location for wealthy Manhattanites who built summer estates in town, taking advantage of the area’s cooler location 1000 feet above sea level.
The Ridgefield Playhouse is a 600-seat theater and performance space built in 2000 that has been host to several stellar acts from music, film, and Broadway. In just one month’s calendar of events you will find performances by Art Garfunkel, Gilbert Godfried, Mamma Mia the musical, Bebe Neuwirth, Toto, and many more.