There are a lot of reasons you might find yourself in Watertown, Connecticut, on the hunt for the best things to do. Whether you are visiting adult children and grandchildren who live in the area or you are coming to visit an aging parent who lives in town, possibly to explore your assisted living options, Watertown is a vibrant and diverse community that offers a wide range of services, dining, and outdoor recreation.
About 140 miles from Boston, 100 miles from New York, and less than 40 miles from Hartford, Watertown has been experiencing economic growth in recent years. A quasi-rural and suburban community set against the backdrop of Mattatuck State Forest, Watertown has over 30 square miles of residential areas, farmlands, recreation areas, and industry sites. Today, about 22,514 people call Watertown home.
“Watertown is situated in Connecticut’s Litchfield County and offers many attractions and destinations, including Hawk Ridge Winery, Black Rock State Park, and Bantam Lake,” says Jason Rieger, Executive Director of The Ivy at Watertown. “Right next door is Waterbury’s famous Palace Theater, Mattatuck Museum of Arts and History, Waterbury Symphony Orchestra and an array of fine dining.”
Looking for recreational activities or volunteer opportunities? Watertown has them. What about restaurants and museums? Watertown has those, too. You want things to do with your grandkids? Watertown has plenty of them.
Here’s a look at some of the best things to do in Watertown, Connecticut, whether you’re in town for a week or a lifetime.
The Top 5 Attractions in Watertown
Black Rock State Park
Tucked into the scenic rolling hills of the Western Highlands, Black Rock State Park offers swimming, hiking, camping, fishing, and scenic views. Hike along the Mattatuck Trail, which stretches from Waterbury to Morris with a scenic view of the Naugatuck Valley. There are also many side trails where you can see Black Rock Lake, Black Rock Pond, mature forests, and meadows.
Gates are open on weekends only, from the second Saturday in April until Memorial Day, 8 a.m. to sunset. From Memorial Day to Oct. 1, they are open daily between 8 a.m. and sunset.
Crestbrook Park Golf Course
A beautifully landscaped 236-acre facility, Crestbrook Public Golf Course has 18 holes, a driving range, three practice greens, a snack shack, and a pro shop full of the most current golf equipment.
In addition to tee times and lessons, the golf course has four organized leagues, including a Retiree’s Golf League. To learn more about becoming a member, visit the league’s website.
Hawk Ridge Winery
Relax at Hawk Ridge Winery, a family-run winery since 2012. The award-winning winery offers a selection of six reds, four whites, one rosé, and a port.
The winery is part of Hidden Breeze Farm, a picturesque farm setting where you can enjoy wine tastings, lite fare, and tour the grounds. The 58 acres feature farm animals, 30 acres of hay, 4 acres of grapevines, five beehives, squash, and garlic.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, head to Southwind Farms, a 27-acre alpaca farm that’s home to 50 alpacas. Tour the farm, get to know the alpacas, and peruse the many different types of yarn and other alpaca products Southwind Farms has to offer.
Watertown History Museum
The Watertown History Museum presents an in-depth view of local history. It documents and preserves the collective memories of the Watertown community to reflect on the present and pass onto future generations. Some highlights of the collection include:
- Archives containing a detailed glimpse into Watertown’s industrial and agricultural past
- A large textile collection, including quilts, spanning the 18th through the 20th centuries
- An extensive collection of artifacts from Watertown industry, including memorabilia and items manufactured by Heminway and Bartlett, The Autoryre Corporation, Watertown Manufacturing Co., and several Bishop and Bradley clocks
- Decorative and fine arts spanning 200 years
The museum offers a walking tour of several historic spots around town.
The Top 5 Annual Visitors’ Events
Memorial Day Parade in May
The annual Memorial Day parade will step off from the Watertown Plaza parking lot beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, 2020. This year, the parade will travel to the Oakville Green.
Bow Wow Olympics in June
Want to meet the most “fetching” dogs in Watertown? Head to Watertown’s annual Bow Wow Olympics where you’ll catch competitions in tail wagging, best dog trick, sitting, and a dog/owner lookalike contest.
The Bow Wow Olympics also serves as a pet food drive for the Watertown Food Bank.
Townwide Tag Sale in June
Townwide tag sales have long been a tradition in New England and in many Connecticut communities, Watertown included. Sales occur in front yards, garages, and on sidewalks throughout the town. This is a uniquely Watertown/Oakville event involving citizens, businesses, churches, civic groups, associations, town leaders, neighbors, and visitors building community and identity through shared experiences.
This year’s Townwide Tag Sale takes place June 6, 2020.
Night Out on Main Street in July and August
Night Out on Main Street is a local festival on Main Street in Watertown. The town blocks off the street and fills it with local artists, bands, food, and fun. The event occurs from 6 to 9 p.m. on multiple Saturdays throughout the summer.
Fall Festival in September
The Watertown Fall Festival was started by Sabra and Rick Sarandrea in 1978 with the goal of bringing people of Watertown together to celebrate the town. The fair is located at Veterans
Memorial Park and features arts and crafts, food vendors, raffles, and entertainment for the kids.
“There are so many things to do in Watertown, and The Ivy at Watertown is located right on Straits Turnpike, which is a thoroughfare in Watertown,” Rieger says. “Our activities program will offer frequent outings to the many fine-dining, establishments, and attractions in our area.”
Whether you’re considering a move to Watertown or you’ve lived in the community for years, you might not be aware of all of the professional services and community offerings for seniors.
For more information about Watertown, Connecticut, download our Relocation Guide for Older Adults. It’s a useful tool to learn more about the community — and there’s a lot to love about Watertown!