Old Lyme offers outdoor sculptures matched to landscaped locations

Photo of Joe Amarante

Time for a return look at refreshing outdoor pursuits as the coronavirus crisis eases (we hope) and folks venture out with recreation and safety in mind. While all outdoor museums and zoos were cleared to reopen May 20, there aren’t many places that qualify.

Mystic Seaport said it was reopening it’s outdoor exhibits; Mystic Aquarium said recently it was opening its outdoor areas to the public May 22. Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport announced it will reopen June 1.

A few other choices:

 One four-plus-acre park-like site with artwork has been open all spring.

Gilbert Boro’s Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme promises a soothing and safe landscape to peruse for free. Landscape sculptor Boro’s home and studio anchor the property along the Lieutenant River, with exhibits set on lush, professionally landscaped grounds that offer a refuge to contemplate and commune with nature, he writes in a release. More than 100 sculptures of all sizes and materials are spaced around the landscape, matched to each location’s surroundings. Most are Boro’s designs but about a fourth are from established and emerging sculptors around the country.

Normally visitors are permitted to touch and climb on some child-friendly playscapes but during the coronavirus health crisis that is not possible, he writes. Visitors are expected to self-regulate in accordance with the state quarantine social distancing and protective guidelines.

Picnics are permitted on the stone patio that contains several café tables with umbrellas. There is no food or drink for sale; visitors are encouraged to bring their own. Parking is available toward the rear of the property or next-door in the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts parking lot.

 There are two working drive-in movie theaters in the state. The Mansfield Drive-in opened May 20 and is operating under social-distance guidelines and using online payment. The Pleasant Valley Drive-in in Barkhamsted is a cash-only business, according to its website. A third, Southington Drive-in, is a nonprofit and has announced it will postpone its 2020 opening but hopes to show movies in August or September. (And Wethersfield Planning and Zoning has OK’d a plan by the River: A Waterfront Restaurant’s owner to run a drive-in at that property, in the parking lot.)

 With restaurants slowly coming back, you can not only dine on a patio near water but do takeout near the shore and then picnic on a beach blanket or park bench/picnic table in a scenic location with aesthetically pleasing views. Given social distancing, it’s also a good idea to go on a weekday.

Sculpture Grounds, 1 Lyme St., Old Lyme. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Free; donations accepted. sculpturegrounds.com