Boat to Home: 8 Fun Fall Ideas To Do During Quarantine (Groton)

As COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise in Connecticut, local Navy leadership has reinstituted “HPCON C” guidelines for COVID mitigation at Naval Submarine Base New London.  As our state continues its phased reopening, our military families must observe from afar to protect our submariners. 

Fall in Connecticut means pumpkin patches, hay rides, cider donuts and apple picking. Fall also means football. I don’t know about you, but I prefer sitting in a packed stadium. But when that’s not an option, I love meeting friends at a local spot to watch the game on a big screen.  Neither of which are options. All is not lost. 

To keep our spirits up and make the most of the situation, here are some options for fun fall activities at home:   

Tune Into Mystic Aquarium’s Live Penguin Feed

One of our family’s favorite Saturday morning activities is visiting the Mystic Aquarium.  My 2 year old daughter loves watching the penguins.  Mystic Aquarium Live Penguin Feed is a great Saturday morning activity for the entire family!  It is a cold, rainy day today so my daughter and I are watching the penguins eat their breakfast!  

Make Your Own Cider Donuts From Clyde’s Cider Mill

Photo Courtesy of Clyde’s Cider Mill Facebook page

If you’ve lived in Groton, you know Clyde’s Cider Mill.  We love sampling their apple cider and cider donuts.  A fun, kid friendly option is to make your own cider donuts at home.  Pro tip: visit Clyde’s when they first open on a week day and grab a few bags of the cider donut mix.  You can also get a half gallon of apple cider to go.  Don’t forget to pick up a bottle of hard cider for mom and dad to enjoy!   

Pick-Up Tailgate Treats From The Spot

Photo Courtesy of The Spot Facebook Page

Saturdays are for football…  I miss tailgating and sitting in a packed stadium.  Two things everyone should experience in their lives are attending a SEC and a Navy football game.  I miss eating Bojangles biscuits tailgating at Williams Brice Stadium.  Navy tailgates are unmatched.  There’s always a big pot of crabs somewhere.  This football season, we will be watching at home but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying some of our favorite tailgate foods!  Everyone needs a night where they don’t have to prep, cook and clean up.  The Spot in Groton has a “Fall Take Out Special” for pick up orders.  If you order $40 worth of food you can get a $1 bottle of wine, 6-pack of domestic beer, house margaritas, or a 4-pack of spiked seltzers.  Think homemade pretzels, salty french fries, and a steak bomb sandwich aka football watching food!     

Pair Your Halloween Candy With Local Booze From Grand Wine & Spirits

Photo Courtesy of suhruwines

A fun date-night-in idea this month could be pairing wine or beer with Halloween candy! Hear me out, I promise this is a thing and it’s genius for us adults. After the kids have been put down for the night, dip into that Halloween candy early and give it a go. Think merlot and KitKat, Reese’s, stout and Milky Way or gin and Twizzlers. The internet has some fun resources like this, this or this to follow. If beer is more your forte, try this or this as a roadmap. Grand Wine & Spirits is still offering curbside pick-up for online orders (within two hours of placement).

Create a Quarantine-O-Ween Scavenger Hunt

Photo Courtesy of Retail Me Not

Instead of trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, set up an Easter egg-type hunt in the backyard. Hide treats, create clues and send your child on a spooky scavenger hunt. You can buy fun Halloween-themed eggs on Amazon or reimagine old plastic eggs you already own. For a nighttime hunt, you could also light up the yard with  glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark eggs. Here are some fun printables.

Take a Fall Foliage Drive

asphalt autumn beauty colorful
Photo by Pixabay on

Did you know Connecticut has the longest fall foliage season in all of New England? Running from north to south steadily over about six weeks, the foliage coverage varies, but there’s always somewhere to see the colors change. Visit Connecticut and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection have put together a few suggested driving “loops” to get you safely out and about during prime leaf peeping season. For a full list, click here.

Pick Up a Puzzle or Car Scavenger Hunt with Mystified Escape Room

assorted puzzle game
Photo by Magda Ehlers on

Mystic’s popular Mystified Escape Room has been offering some unique activities during the time of COVID. The shop is currently offering curbside pick-up for puzzles and games, as well as a timely “Family Frolic” Scavenger Hunt” that can be completed from your car, perfect for children ages 8-15.

Take a Virtual Ghost Tour of Salem

If you’re in New England, odds are it’s hard for you to think of October without thinking of Salem, Massachusetts, the Witch City herself. For one night only, on Friday, October 16th, Seaside Shadows will be offering a Virtual Ghost Tour of Salem, Massachusetts. Sit back with your favorite spooky cocktail and watch our live tour of Salem, filled with stories of the supernatural, tales of local ghosts and spine-tingling historic anecdotes from this paranormal haven. The tour costs $15/household. To book or learn more, click here.

Any other ideas? Share below and we’d love to add to the list.

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