At the edge of the New York City metro area, Fairfield County has the unique quality of being at the point where the sophistication of a world-class metropolis meets the beautiful countryside and substantial charm of New England. It is a place where quaint country inns and coastal activities like boating and kayaking are easily accessible, but so are bustling shopping malls and chic high-rise hotels. Among the biggest advantages for Fairfield County event venues are the many hotels that are located in the heart of town or near a train station with service to New York, so visitors can be in the middle on Manhattan within an hour.
Most of the hotel venues in Fairfield County are within 30 miles of Westchester County Airport. Because of its location in the center of Manhattan's northern bedroom communities, the airport is served by an abundance of airlines. American Airlines, Cape Air, Delta, JetBlue, United and US Airways offer nonstop flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Meyers, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Orlando, Philadelphia, Tampa, Washington, DC and West Palm Beach.
Meetings in Fairfield County are staged in its diverse hotel settings, which include both well-known chains and romantic inns and B&Bs. The major hotel venues in Fairfield County are located in Stamford, Trumbull and Greenwich, including recently renovated venues like the 449-room Marriott Stamford Hotel & Spa, which can accommodate a meeting for up to 1,000 people in 25,000 square feet of space; and the 325-room Trumbull Marriott Merritt Parkway, which can handle up to 700 in 12,540 square feet of function space.
For a thoroughly New England special event, the area offers settings like the Sheffield Island Lighthouse & Ferry system, including its circa 1868 lighthouse; Stewart B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge, and a picnic area on the island. At the 12-room Inn at Longshore in Westport (built as a private estate in the 1920s), there is space for a banquet of up to 250 people in its ballroom overlooking the water and a Great Lawn reaching to water's edge ideal for a classic New England clambake. Another favored spot is Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, where special events can include visits to everything from the free-fly aviary of the South American Rainforest exhibit, to an authentic New England farmyard. And up to 1,000 people hold a reception in places at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk like in front of its 110,000-gallon Ocean Beyond The Sound exhibit, part of a recent $5-million expansion.
High-quality and distinctive dining experiences are abundant in Fairfield County. The area is home to establishments such as Danbury's Ondine, voted by the readers of Connecticut magazine as the Best French Restaurant in Fairfield County every year since 1998, and The Restaurant at Rowayton, a regionally famous seafood restaurant located in a historic gray shingled house on the banks of the Five Mile River. Other top rated eateries include, in Greenwich, contemporary French cuisine at Thomas Henkelmann and the thoroughly American menu of Rebecca's; in Norwalk, all-American fare at The Brewhouse, Italian at Pasta Nostra, and the eclectic menu of Match, serving entrees like oxtail & short rib ragu and angry lobster fettuccini. And Splash, which is located in the same building as the Inn at Longshore in Westport, is a fine-dining seafood restaurant with a sweeping water view that is also known for its excellent steaks.