Summer Bargain Blitz

 

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Museum-Go-Round

Like to museum hop—and keep your spending in check at the same time? No worries. The options are plentiful—if you time it right. Admission to both the Bruce Museum (203/869-0376 or brucemuseum.org) in Greenwich and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (203/438-4519 or aldrichart.org) in Ridgefield is free on Tuesdays. The Peabody Museum of Natural History (203/432-5050 or yale.edu/peabody) in New Haven is free on Thursday afternoons from 2 to 5 in September (and through June). The New Britain Museum of American Art (860/229-0257 or nbmaa.org) is free every Saturday from 10 to noon. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (860/278-2670 or wadsworthatheneum.org) in Hartford offers half-price ($5) admission from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, and free admission and family activities from 10 to 1 on the last Saturday of the month (“Hot Summer Jazz” is on tap for Sat., Aug. 28). The last Thursday of each month is free between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children (203/899-0606 or steppingstonesmuseum.org) in Norwalk, and the first Friday of the month is free between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut (860/691-1111 or childrensmuseumsect.org) in Niantic.

Need a bigger window? The Yale Center for British Art (203/432-2800 or ycba.yale.edu) and Yale University Art Gallery (203/432-0600 or artgallery.yale.edu) in New Haven, Submarine Force Museum and historic ship Nautilus (860/694-3174 or ussnautilus.org) in Groton, the New Britain Youth Museum (860/225-3020 or newbritainyouthmuseum.org), Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority Trash Museum (860/757-7765 or crra.org) in Hartford, Connecticut State Museum of Natural History & Connecticut Archaeology (860/486-4460 or cac.uconn.edu) in Storrs and National Helicopter Museum (203/375-8857 or nationalhelicoptermuseum.org) in Stratford never charge a dime.

If you or a family member happens to be active-duty military or National Guard/reserve members, check out the new “Operation Appreciation: Blue Star Museums,” (arts.gov/national/bluestarmuseums), which offers free admission to more than 20 state museums through Labor Day.

Follow That Grape

Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Riesling . . . you can sample them all on the Connecticut Wine Trail (860/677-5467 or ctwine.com)—and usually it’ll cost you less than $10, including a souvenir glass.

Vineyards don’t get any more inviting than Sharpe Hill Vineyard (860/974-3549 or sharpehill.com) in Pomfret. Enjoy your tasting in the lovely wine garden or indoors in the handsome barn. A tasting is $10 (don’t miss the award-winning Ballet of Angels), including the glass. There’s also a $5 tasting.

At Jonathan Edwards Winery (860/535-0202 or jedwardswinery.com), on 48 hilltop acres in North Stonington, tastings are $10 for four whites, four reds and that souvenir glass, or $5 for two whites and two reds. Complimentary tours are given at 3 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

Bring along a picnic basket to Gouveia Vineyards (203/265-5526 or gouveiavineyards.com) in Wallingford and enjoy lunch beside the pond. Tastings are $7, which includes six wines and requisite glass. 

And at Clinton’s Chamard Vineyards (860/664-0299 or chamard.com), a tasting is $5 for five samples (and, yes, the glass) and free tours of the 40-acre vineyard are given at 1 p.m. on weekends. The tasting room is open until 9 on Friday and Saturday nights through the summer and the $10 cover includes a glass of wine (perhaps Chardonnay) and live music.  

Summer Bargain Blitz

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