No matter the time of year, it always pays to have a couple of unique date night ideas up your sleeve. Whether you want to do something special for the holidays, Valentine’s Day, a birthday, anniversary, or any other day of the year, Allegra Farm in East Haddam offers a nice change of pace from your dinner-and-a-movie go-to.
What is Allegra Farm?
Allegra Farm is the largest livery stable in Connecticut, which caters to individuals who want to experience some of the wonder and romance of the past. In operation for more than 40 years, the stables are owned and operated by John Allegra. In addition to the carriage business, Allegra Farm maintains and operated the Horse Drawn Carriage and Sleigh Museum of New England.
Located on Lake Hayward, the stables offer scenic carriage, sleigh, and hayrides through the picturesque landscape. Though hayrides are only available in the fall, and sleigh rides are only available when there’s enough snow on the ground, the carriage rides are available year-round, meaning that a romantic night out is available any time of year.
Each carriage is an antique, having been refurbished according to historical contexts, which helps to immerse guests in that historical feel. The vehicles are so high-quality in their authenticity that Allegra Farm has regularly allowed the vehicles to be used in movies and TV shows like Amistad, The Time Machine, Sex in the City, and Ed.
Even if you’ve never been to the stables themselves, you may have seen the carriages out and about at other community events. One popular event, the Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport, are supported by Allegra Farm.
If you want to go have yourself a carriage ride (whether for a date or any other reason) then you’re going to have to do a bit more work than just stopping by their website. Though the site is really informative about the history of the business and the different services they offer, it misses the mark on most of the basics. So that you could have the important information altogether, I gave the owner a call to find out.
The rides, whether carriage or sleigh, are each approximately 1 hour in length, and the routes for each ride differ depending on the season and weather conditions. You must place a reservation; if you just try to show up, chances are there won’t be anyone there to help you (they don’t just sit around in a fully-decked horse-drawn carriage waiting for customers, after all!).
Pricing is where things get a little strange, because you do not pay by the person. Instead, you pay a single fee to rent the carriage, whether it is for 2 people or 6 (or possibly more, depending on the size of the carriage and the size of the people). Monday through Friday, a carriage costs $150 to rent if you are paying with cash or $175 if paying by credit or check; on Weekends, the price jumps to $200 cash and $225 check or card.
I know, it’s a little expensive for a date night out, but for a special occasion (or just to show your significant other that you care about them) it’s bound to go far. They can pay for the next four or five dates to make up for it.
The stables are located at 69 Town Road in Colchester (according to Google Maps; their website says they’re in East Haddam). To make an appointment, call 860-680-5149 (the owner’s cell phone) or 860-537-8861. Remember the $25 surcharge and just bring cash with you to save a bit.