Danbury: Recreation


Danbury's most famous sight is the Danbury Museum and Historical Society which includes two historic buildings, 1785 Rider House and 1790 John Dodd Hat Shop. Rider House, former home of a carpenter and cabinetmaker, displays tools and period furnishings. Dodd Hat Shop recreates the early and modern hatting history of the city. Danbury is the birthplace of composer Charles Ives, whose house has been fully restored and is open to the public. The Tarrywile Park and Mansion offers 21 miles of hiking, nature workshops, and special events on its 654-acre historic building and land preserve. The Military Museum of Southern New England, opened in 1985, displays an extensive collection of anti-tank weapons and World War II military vehicles. Artifacts of railroad history can be viewed at the Danbury Railway Museum, located in the restored Danbury Union Station. Vintage railroad equipment is on view in the adjacent rail yard and railroad excursions are available. Stew Leonard's unique dairy-grocery store is listed in the Guinness Book of Records and was once dubbed by the New York Times as "the Disneyland of dairy stores."

An immense monument at Wooster Cemetery commemorates the contributions of General David Wooster, whose hero's death in the American Revolution battle to remove the British from Danbury is said to have been the highlight of his military career. The composer Charles Ives is also buried there.

Arts and Culture

Visitors to Danbury are entertained by a variety of musical concerts performed at the Charles Ives Center for the Arts at Western Connecticut State University, most commonly during the summer months. The center presents a seasonal schedule of world-renowned artists, pop, jazz, and folk stars. Concerts are presented at the Danbury Music Centre (DMC) in Marian Anderson Recital Hall. It is the home to Danbury's symphony, string, and community orchestras along with a concert chorus. The Wooster Community Art Center

The John and Mary Rider House displays carpentry tools and period furnishings.
The John and Mary Rider House displays carpentry tools and period furnishings.
(WCAC) provides visual art classes and monthly fine art exhibits year-round.

The Danbury Theatre Company performs in the St. James Church Auditorium while the Berkshire Theatre is located on the Western Connecticut State University campus. Musicals at Richter (MAR) holds the title of the state's longest-running outdoor theater and presents three shows during the summer at Richter Art Center.

Festivals and Holidays

Danbury celebrates the Fourth of July with music and fireworks at the Charles Ives Center for the Arts at Western Connecticut State University. CityCenter Danbury has its annual "Summertime Festival" for six weeks from mid-July to the end of August featuring orchestra performances, theatrical productions, family shows, and a eclectic set of musical concerts. Food is the focus during "Taste of Greater Danbury," held on CityCenter Green in September. For Halloween at the Danbury Railway Museum visitors can ride a vintage train to select a pumpkin from their special pumpkin patch; CityCenter also hosts a celebration with music and children's games. Christmastime kicks off with a downtown holiday tree lighting ceremony and the traditional Nutcracker Ballet performance at the Danbury Music Centre (DMC) along with a Santa train ride at the Danbury Railway Museum. Rounding out the year is First Night Danbury, a non-alcoholic family celebration held on New Year's Eve.

Sports for the Spectator

The minor league hockey team, the Danbury Trashers, began play in fall 2004 for the United Hockey League (UHL) and plays from October through May at the new Danbury Ice Arena, constructed in 2001. The athletics department at Western Connecticut State University brings the area a wide variety of sports to view. Among the 14 intercollegiate programs are football and men's and women's basketball, soccer, and volleyball. All are part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division III and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) while the football team belongs to the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

Sports for the Participant

The Housatonic River, located near Danbury, is noted for the scenic beauty to be seen along its shores, and fishing for trout and salmon on the river is a popular pastime. Fishing is also done at Lake Kenosia. While much of the 5,420-acre Candlewood Lake's shore property (60 miles) is privately owned, public beaches and marinas are located lake. Created in 1929, it is one of the country's largest manmade lakes and represents the state's largest body of water. Squantz Pond recreation area, located about 10 miles north of Danbury, offers facilities for picnickers, anglers, boaters, hikers, swimmers, bicyclists, and winter sports enthusiasts. Wooster Mountain State Park offers part of its site to skeet shooters; the remainder of the undeveloped area is open for wilderness walks.

Richter Park offers an 18-hole golf course along with hiking while the 58-acre Rogers Park has baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, and children's playgrounds. Ice skating is available at the Danbury Ice Arena for adult and children's hockey leagues, public skating, and classes.

Shopping and Dining

Danbury's largest shopping center is also New England's largest, a mall known as Danbury Fair, and offers more than 240 shops and many restaurants on the 200-acre site of the former Danbury Fairgrounds. The mall presents an Antiques and Collectibles Show in May; other such shows are scheduled in the city throughout the year. Meeker's Hardware store in Danbury is the only hardware store on the National Register of Historic Places.

The small towns and rural areas surrounding Danbury are famous for antiques and art galleries selling the works of local artists. Crafts and casual clothing may also be found.

Danbury's restaurants cover a wide range from casual bistros, steakhouses, and seafood restaurants, to a variety of ethnic establishments serving Italian, Thai, Lebanese, Chinese, Greek, Hungarian, Dominican, and Columbian cuisine with about 20 establishments in the downtown area.

Visitor Information: The Northwest CT Convention & Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06813; telephone (860)567-4506; fax (860)567-5214; email info@litchfieldhills.com