Without belaboring the point, the Labor Day weather put a bit of a damper on the holiday.

Gray skies, occasional drizzle, stifling humidity and steamy temperatures all made for an end-of-summer observance more appropriate to bayou country than southwestern Connecticut.

No problem, though. A little Yankee ingenuity salvaged the day off from school and work for many to enjoy in less traditional ways.

In Fairfield, for instance, the YMCA on Old Post Road was packed with people getting a little exercise in the pool and weight training room. Ken Allison of Fairfield, who had the day off from his Wells Fargo job, was among them, doing pull-ups. "I usually work out in the evening, but I moved things up today," he said. "I'm headed out with my wife later to jetski on the Sound."

Nearby, Mike White, who was also off from work, was jogging. "I'm running around the Beach area and plan to relax with family later," he said.

Over at the Marshall's on the Post Road, Janette Thibodeau, who works in Westport, was shopping for footwear. "This is one of the best Marshall's in the country, with a great selection," she said. "I thought I'd take advantage of the Labor Day sale to get great boots on discount. Later, I'm heading to lunch, maybe Molto's, and then to relax the rest of the day."

At Home Depot, Fairfielder Frank Melbourne was filling a cart with mums. "I work for Taunton Press and this week we're debuting a new cooking show on TV called `Moveable Feast,' " he said. "We'll be doing a pre-screening followed by a cocktail party, and the mums are to dress up the party with a fall theme."

In downtown Fairfield, Sacred Heart University freshman Jillian Sierra was checking out the merchandise at the Flip Flops shop with her 15-year-old sister Naomi, who was visiting from Massachusetts. "We're going to head to lunch soon and maybe a movie or the beach," the communications major said.

Just over the border in Westport, the Schechter family of Harrison, N.Y., had taken a road trip to dine at Shake Shack with a lunch of burgers and fries. "Today's a family day and we love the Shake Shack," said 15-year-old Lindsay. "We'll also be doing some last-minute shopping on the Avenue in Greenwich."

Adam Clemens of Westport and daughters Hannah, 7, and Sophie, 9, had already had a full morning before stopping at Carvel for ice cream. "The girls did some babysitting, my wife and I went to M3 Yoga and we lunched at Aux Delices," he said. "Later, we'll have dinner at home and bike ride or play tennis after."

Tara, Giada and Andy Cabelli of Danbury had parked themselves on a bench across from Jesup Green. "It's Andy's birthday today ... so we decided to come down to shop, get a bite to eat at Bobby Q's and walk along the river."

At Matsu Sushi of Westport, Suneth Jayawardhane and his family of Washington, D.C., were enjoying a feast with his brother Rajive and Rajive's wife of Wilton. "We're enjoying my nephews and eating a lot of food before going back home tomorrow," he said.

Just down the street, at a sidewalk table in front of Crumbs, Nia Vignola, 12, visiting from New York City, was savoring a large cupcake in the company of her mother, sister and friends. "We've had an interesting day catching frogs and being surprised by snakes at a local pond," she said excitedly.

So who needs the beach? A fun Labor Day just requires a little imagination ... and snake repellent.