Mel’s Funway Park
A simple Google search and you’ll quickly realize there aren’t a whole lot of options for an outing in Litchfield, save one key location: Mel’s Funway Park. Having first opened as a mini-golf space in the late ‘80s, Mel’s has consistently expanded throughout the years to add batting cages, go-karts, a driving range and laser tag. In the fall, Mel’s transforms into the Nightmare New England Halloween attraction. How they pull that off, I have no idea, but I might have to finally check it out this year.
What’s great about Mel’s is that you can “swing” in for a simple round of mini-golf or make a day of it with the family by purchasing one of their packages. In this case, my boyfriend and I were in the mood for some pre-dinner fun and opted for mini-golf and go-karts, leaving the batting cages and driving range to those that seemed to know what they were doing. It was packed on the late Saturday afternoon we arrived; however, visitors are wisely made to choose one of two mini-golf courses — the Lighthouse or the Waterfall course — which helps space everyone out. We took the Lighthouse course, unwittingly selecting the route with the most opportunity to waterball. Although I was able to rescue my ball the first time it hit the lake, it was irretrievable after dramatically bouncing off a rock and through the tiny obtrusion in the chainlink fence. With no easy way to acquire a replacement, my boyfriend offered to alternate swings on his ball instead of rubbing in my face that he won. I cannot say that I would have been as gracious if the scenario were reversed.
In return for his kindness, I bought him an ice cream from Woodman’s Seafood Grill, the New England institution famous for their fried clams and celebrated in Adam Sandler films, which is also on-site at Mel’s.
Post-ice cream, we headed over to the go-kart area and proceeded to wait in line for about 30 minutes, which gave us the opportunity to size up the vehicles. You know how there’s always someone on the go-karts that takes it way too seriously? Yeah, that would be us. In what I can only imagine was a hilarious sight, I ended up in the John Deere car while my boyfriend ended up in the Nightmare New England car, two of the fastest on the track. I kept my turns tight and my passes clean, except for that one accidental side-check when the car next to me didn’t realize I was there and swerved. I can only assume they were texting.
For dinner, we went off-site to the only other game in town besides Woodman’s: Romano’s Pizza, which has a nice outside seating area and umbrella tables. We shared a Greek salad and a Meat Lover’s Pizza — his pick, still milking the waterball incident — and both hit the spot, as did the draft beers and the incoming evening air.