Summer Bargain Blitz
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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.