I don’t think you’ll find another place that combines three of the best things in the world: shopping, ice cream, and a play area that makes your children happy (and tired). But it exists, and it’s right in Ellington!
A few weeks back, I caught wind of an event at Kloter Farms, their annual Customer Appreciation Sales Event.
Back in the day when I lived in Vernon, I remember taking a few trips to Kloter Farms (before I had the child and could actually enjoy furniture shopping). I had not been in a while, and I had never been with this boy. However, they had an event page set up on Facebook, and it mentioned they would be offering free ice cream and free train rides aboard the Kloter Express Train.
Free train rides.
You know where this is going.
So even if you’ve never been to Kloter Farms, I am sure you have heard of it. And if you’re still not sure what I am talking about, let me clue you in:
That’s right, they make sheds, garages, gazebos, playscapes, household furniture, and anything else you can think of that comes from wood. They are known for their high quality workmanship. I can guarantee that you have seen something made by them in your life before.
They have an amazing store in Ellington, right on Route 83. There are indoor show rooms, as well as numerous outdoor displays that you can walk through featuring their gazebos, sheds, and of course, their playscapes. They are super easy to find, no matter which direction you come from.
(from Google Maps)
You’ll spot their store right from the road.
Parking is pretty ample. On the day we visited, we found a spot even with the big crowds. There is parking in front, and along the side of the building.
Our first order of business was to find that train, and hop on board. From what I can tell, this train comes out for special occasions. I kind of wish they had it every day, because it’s all this child talks about, still. In fact, we went back to Kloter Farms this week, and as soon as we approached the store, he asked us from the backseat “I take a train?”. (Who do I have to talk to to make that happen?)
The train pick up was set up right near the side of the building. They had a small line waiting for boarding, and the train was out for a ride.
But soon enough we heard that tell-tale bell, and before we knew it, it was our turn! The train is super cute, painted bright yellow and orange, complete with a bell!
The ride was pretty great! It went around the whole Kloter Farms property. We sat in the front row of the car, but there were some kids sitting right in front with the driver. He was letting them ring the bell, and they were pretty excited. My child was happy just being on a train. He didn’t say much, but he was all smiles!
After our train ride, we decided to find that ice cream!! Kloter’s Ice Cream Barn is a free standing structure located on the side of the store. You’ll see a sign at the entrance of the parking lot if you pull in from Rte. 83.
For Customer Appreciation Day, they were offering small dishes of ice cream for free! They had their chocolate and vanilla soft serve up for sampling. During their normal hours, they offer a full menu with hard-serve and soft-serve ice cream. They also have sundaes, drinks, and even a special ice cream treat for your canine friends!
They have a great daily Facebook event called “Name of the Day”, in which you get a free small cup or cone of their soft serve or hard serve ice cream if they pick your name that day. This week, they actually picked my name! It was pretty awesome! I ended up getting a dish of their chocolate soft serve, and it really was good. It’s creamy and rich, and it is not watery tasting like some soft serves can be. My husband tried a hard serve ice cream, peanut butter avalanche, and we got the little guy a kiddie cup of the only blue ice cream on the menu: cotton candy. He had to have “bwu ice cweam”. You can find all their flavors here.
For their Customer Appreciation Event, I decided to share a small chocolate soft serve with my boy. Share as in, he ate it all….
I did not get a great full view photograph of the seating area surrounding Kloter’s Ice Cream Barn, but they have set up a fire pit and a fireplace, which are lit at night, as well as tons of seating. How else can you decide which Adirondack chair or patio set to buy without testing it? And what better way to try out a chair than with a big bowl of ice cream. That is some brilliant marketing, I tell ya!
After he ate all of our ice cream, I offered to take him for another train ride, but he turned me down. Probably because he caught side of this:
So, like I just mentioned, Kloter Farm’s has some brilliant people on their marketing team. Because whoever came up with the idea of letting the kids “test” out all of the playscapes before the parents buy is awesome. And not just that, but when you and the spouse are checking out garages or sheds, or you’re inside the store, testing out kitchen sets, and the kids get a little annoyed, you can take a break, watch them play, and then once they have gotten their sillies out, you can resume shopping.
Parents must stay with their children while they play (this isn’t a drop off area). It is also only open during STORE HOURS, so if you go for ice cream in the evening, after the store closes, you can not use the play area.
I think he was mildly overwhelmed at all of the options for play! But he got over that fast!
He loved the little “me-sized” houses!
And I LOVE this ship! I am still trying to figure out how I can convince my husband to let me buy one for our front yard…. It would make for less lawn to mow. I think that’s a good argument.
Of course, even with all those playscapes, and houses, and a boat, he had to check out the full size structures too! It gave me a chance to look at things out too! We need a new shed, so why not browse?
We also took a breather for a minute, so this sweaty child could calm down from all the excitement of the play area. A little rock on this two person swing was relaxing, for all of 60 seconds. And then he had to move on to the next chair, then the next.
After a good time at the play area, I decided it was my turn to have fun. So, I dragged him along into the store with me. And he protested, naturally. Because mommy spending the last hour doing everything he wanted was NOT good enough, and did not earn me the right to shop. So, I got to enjoy the inside of the store for all of one minute, just enough time to snap some photos, and be dragged away by a child seconds away from a major eruption… Apparently my advice of shaking out those sillies was not working in this instance. Toddlers have their own agenda, we should know better.
As it was well past noon, and nearing someone’s nap time (clearly), I decided that we would head home. We had a fun time playing on the playscapes, we took a train ride, and we had some ice cream. I wish I could say I got to shop, but maybe on my next visit, alone, I will. I did get some great ideas for sheds at least!
Before we left, we had to take an opportunity to pose in the big Adirondack Chair displayed on the front lawn. If you have ever driven by Kloter Farms, then I am sure you will know what I am talking about!
He was a total ham, and was loving the attention he was receiving by all the cars passing by. I mean, he is stinking cute, so how could they not love this child!
Kloter Farms, and Kloter’s Ice Cream Barn, have become my new favorite thing. I have a feeling we will be spending some more time here during the summer, especially for that awesome ice cream. And honestly, that play area did tire this kid out good. He took one long nap that day. They also appear to have some great events year round, including special holiday events during the Christmas season (including a horse drawn carriage ride). If you do not already, make sure to follow them on Facebook to keep up to date on all of their events!
In the meantime, even without an event, this is a great place to visit with the kids! The ice cream is top notch, the play area is awesome, and their products are fabulous! Hopefully, you have better luck shopping than I did!!!
This about sums it up…
216 West Road – Ellington, Connecticut
Store Hours (including playscape): Monday, Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Closed Sundays.
Ice Cream Barn’s Hours: Monday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Closed Sundays
- Stroller accessible (there are some small rock areas, that could be tricky, as well as in the store, since some of the space is tight)
- Family Friendly!
- Toddler Friendly (for the most part, you may want to skip bringing them into the showroom if possible)
- Free Parking
- Bathrooms are on site (we did not check any out though)
- Shopping for the adults
- Playscapes are set up for use by children under the direct supervision of their adults; there is no fee to use these, and there are plenty of slides, swings, and other fun outdoor play activities.
- The whole outdoor area is pretty sunny – so bring sunblock and a hat for your child if you plan to check out the play area!
- Ice Cream for sale
- Lots of seating throughout the Ice Cream Barn area, in front of the store and near the play area
- Watch for special events throughout the year, including Customer Appreciation Day, Winter holidays, Fall events, and more.
- There is a Kloter Express train, that appears to be used for special events, so watch for those events!
- Free Ice Cream “Name of the Day” on the Kloter’s Ice Cream Barn’s Facebook Page. Make sure to follow their page to watch for your name!