The Nature of New Canaan: Sappin’ It up at the Nature Center

One of the best parts of winter is the maple tree tapping program at the New Canaan Nature Center. My family and I await with anticipation this quintessential New England activity each February. Sure, we sled down our luge track of a driveway each year, and Colin has dubbed the six-foot snow pile at the bottom of our driveway “Camp Raccoon” —perfect for ducking behind when a snowball whizzes by one’s head. However, nothing beats the Norman Rockwell feeling of leading your kids through the snow to outfit a maple tree with a spile (the spout that gets tapped into the tree) and a bucket just like pioneers must have. This year, donning our new snow shoes, my son Aidan and I trekked through the snow with several other families to find the right tree.

Nature Takes Over Waveny’s Nooks

First in a series titled “The Nature of New Canaan.” New Canaan’s parks are picturesque in all seasons, but autumn especially presents us with a blend of what one admires in a New England suburb–flashes of red, yellow and orange foliage here one day and gone the next–and unexpected moments of time standing still among rock walls that used to be property lines. A town favorite landmark year-round, but especially in fall, is Waveny Park, complete with woods, trails, wildlife and an estate of yesteryear. Beyond the recent manmade additions to the park, visitors should take note of the weathering of the bricks and stone, the fading hues of pink and orange that frame the sky at dusk, and the swaying tall grasses (likely full of ticks, but as New Englanders, we have to take the good with the bad between weather and ticks). If you only visit Waveny for its sports fields and exercise equipment, go again with the purpose of exploring its natural beauty.