Weir Farm National Historic Site – Wilton, Connecticut

Weir Farm National Historic Site is one of only two arts-centered US national parks and is located in the quiet town of Wilton, Connecticut.  Within the Weir Farm are the restored home and outbuildings of the American painter, J. Alden Weir and his family on the 60 acres of ground they owned and farmed during the depression era.

When you arrive, you’ll see the visitor’s center across from the parking lot.  Here, you’ll be able to check in, peruse the small gift shop, borrow a complimentary art set and cushion–should the desire to tap into your creative side arise, watch the movie on the history of the Weir Farm, and connect with the rangers.

There are friendly, informative docents available to show you around Alden Weir’s farmhouse.  They also offer the Junior Ranger program for the kids (although adults can participate too!).  You’ll receive a free pin and a fun, artsy patch for your efforts.  Weir Farm has one of the more fun swearing-in ceremonies we’ve had the pleasure to experience, so be sure to give the Junior Ranger program a try.

Unfortunately, like many of our journeys, we had a limited amount of time to get to know the park.  So, we wandered the grounds, took on a portion of the hiking trail they offered (which was lovely, by the way), and enjoyed a ranger-led tour of the area.  Our docent was so excited to hear that we were homeschoolers and was incredibly patient with answering the children’s ten-thousand questions.  We’ve had mostly positive experiences in that department but our ranger really was exceptional.  We ended our time at Weir Farm with being sworn in as Junior Rangers.  All told, we were there just a few hours, but we could have easily spent the entire day if we weren’t scheduled to be somewhere else later on.

As with pretty much every other national park we’ve ever been to, I can’t say enough great things about it.  If you’ve never been to the Weir Farm, it’s worth putting it on your next travel itinerary.  Stay for a few hours, or make a day of it.  You’ll be glad you did.

*Side note:  If you’re up in Wilton, Connecticut for the day, I highly suggest making the 20-minute drive south to Norwalk.  There they have two functioning drawbridges (one for automobiles and one parallel to it that carries trains) that go up about every 45 minutes.  If you’ve never witnessed something like that, it’s a sight to see.  There’s on-street parking just before the bridge and it’s an easy walk to get to it.  There’s a place just before the bridge hinges to hang out and watch them go up.  

Also, if you’ve acquired an ASTC membership (which has saved us thousands of dollars and you can read more about here), stop on over to the Stepping Stones Museum for Children to let the kids rip.  They have, hands-down, the most fun water play area we’ve seen at a children’s museum.  And, with the ASTC, up to 6 people are able to get in and play for free.

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