Family Fun

20 Fun Ways to Treat a High School or College Graduate You Love

Celebrate Graduation CT
Written by Timothy Stobierski

Spring is graduation season. Whether they’re graduating from high school or college, here are 20 things you can do in CT to celebrate the accomplishment.

Spring is an exciting time of year for a lot of reasons. On top of warmer weather and longer days, spring brings with it a lot of changes: Flowers springing up from the ground, leaves on trees, baby birds leaving the nest, and high school and college graduates getting ready to take their next step.

If you find yourself getting ready to celebrate your own baby bird’s departure from the home nest following graduation, you don’t have to look far for inspiration. There are plenty of ways right here in CT for you to celebrate your grad’s success. Take a look at our list below for 20 ways to treat your high school or college graduate this spring in CT.

If Your Grad Likes Nature

  1. If your grad is both a nature-lover and dog-lover take them for a hike with their favorite four-legged friend(s) on one of these top dog-friendly hiking trails. They’re essentially your graduate’s siblings; why shouldn’t they be included?
  2. Opt into an adventure by exploring the famous Leatherman Caves in Watertown or searching for the legendary black dog of the Hanging Hills in Meriden (if you dare!).
  3. Your graduate just had his or her mind challenged by finals. Now you can challenge their body with a hike up Bear Mountain, Connecticut’s highest peak.
  4. Not quite up for the tallest peak in CT, but still want to treat them to a hike? Check out the trails at Sleeping Giant State Park, ranging from beginner-friendly to moderate and full of beautiful views.
  5. Make some lasting memories by taking a day trip out to see some of the beautiful waterfalls that CT has to offer in New Preston, Beacon Falls, and Southford.

If Your Grad is a Foodie

  1. Few foods are more appealing to foodies than an amazing burger. If your graduate has always loved a good burger, treat them to a classic patty at Louis’ Lunch, the birthplace of the burger located right in New Haven. Or, for something different, head to Meriden for a steamed cheeseburger at K LaMay’s or Ted’s.
  2. Let your grad throw their manners to the wind and slurp your way through a few steaming bowls of ramen from Mecha Noodle Bar in Fairfield, South Norwalk, or New Haven.
  3. You know how Millennials are: They just love their healthy foods. If this describes your grad, head to Claire’s Cornercopia in New Haven for some amazing vegan and vegetarian grub.
  4. If your grad is heading out of state, treat them to the foods that they just can’t find anywhere else, like an amazing pizza from Frank Pepe’s in New Haven or a hearty bowl of chowdah from literally anywhere in the state.
  5. If your grad loves cheese (and let’s be real here, who doesn’t?) treat them to a gourmet spread at Caseus Fromagerie for one-of-a-kind cheese dishes that they won’t find anywhere else. It might be a little pricy, but your graduate only graduates once. Okay, maybe twice.

If Your Grad is 21+

  1. Millennials are all about craft beer. If your graduate is a beer snob, bring her to one of the amazing breweries or microbreweries we’ve got in CT.
  2. Got a grad who’s more into wine than beer? Lucky for you, CT’s home to tons of amazing wineries. Why not celebrate graduation at one of these quaint, beautiful spots? No matter what corner of the state you hail from, there’s a winery close enough to make for an amazing treat.
  3. Is your grad too hardcore for beer and wine? The Litchfield Distillery offers handcrafted whiskey, bourbon, gin, and vodkas for your grad to get his buzz on.
  4. If you’re going to treat your grad to a night out on the town, start your night at one of New Haven’s most unique bars.
  5. Pick up a DIY beer or wine-making kit from Maltose Express so that you and your graduate can spend some quality time making your own brew together.

If Your Grad is Prone to Nostalgia

  1. Catch a ballgame with one of Connecticut’s favorite home-grown baseball teams. If you really want to embarrass your grad, you can even single them out on the jumbotron!
  2. Grab a cone at one of these CT ice cream landmarks to celebrate graduation and the beginning of summer.
  3. Was there a museum that your grad just loved going to as a child? If so, bring them back for a sentimental visit that’ll bring a smile to their face and remind them of the lifelong journey leading up to graduation. (For me, that museum will always be the Peabody).
  4. If you’re like most families, you spent at least some time every week bonding over the TV. If watching the weekly episode of Gilmore Girls together a part of your parent/child bonding time, head to the Litchfield Hills for the weekend for a Gilmore Girls getaway of your own.
  5. If all else fails, take them out to dinner and, halfway through dessert, read them Oh, the Places You’ll Go and watch them struggle not to cry.

About the author

Timothy Stobierski

Tim Stobierski is a Connecticut native and a freelance writer and editor who has worked with a number of publishers including Taunton, Abrams, and Yale University Press. He has written for Grow Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Hartford Courant, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other publications. His first book of poetry, Chronicles of a Bee Whisperer was published in 2012 by River Otter Press.

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