| Connecticut is small New England state, full of charm, rural beauty and several major cities. The State's top tourist attractions include Yale University, which maintains numerous world-class museums, Mystic Seaport, the restaurant and nightlife scene in downtown New Haven, and two major Indian casinos. |
Beginning in 1614, the original European settlers were Dutch, but by 1636, Connecticut became a British colony. Connecticut was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution. Residents of Connecticut are sometimes referred to as Nutmeggers or Yankees.
Connecticut has the highest per capita income in the country, and ranks 1st in median household income making it the richest state in the United States.
Most of Connecticut speaks English, however you will find areas where it may not seem to be the primary language. New Britain, Connecticut is well known for its large Polish community. Some cities in Connecticut, such as Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury, have a large Hispanic population. Many signs there are in English and Spanish. Bridgeport also has a small Brazilian area. New Haven has a small "Chinatown," and Italian can frequently be heard in New Haven's popular Wooster Square neighborhood.
• Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Windsor Locks is the state's largest airport. Nearby to Hartford and Springfield (Massachusetts), it has increased its volume at a rapid pace. Southwest Air, one of the discount airlines serves Bradley. You also could fly into Logan International in Boston (about a 80-90 minute drive), or any of the three New York area airports (JFK, LaGuardia, Newark).
• Tweed New Haven Regional Airport, 155 Burr Street, New Haven, +1 203 466-8833, . A smaller airport.
There is also a ferry that leaves from Port Jefferson, Long Island to Bridgeport daily, cars are allowed on that ferry.
Amtrak provides frequent service to Connecticut destinations on trains between Penn Station in New York City and South Station in Boston. MetroNorth provides frequent weekday commuter service from Grand Central Station Manhattan and several cities and towns in southwestern Connecticut's Fairfield and New Haven counties.
As with trains, there are frequent intercity buses between South Station Boston and Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan with stops in Connecticut. Major bus lines serving Connecticut include Peter Pan and Greyhound.
Those entering Connecticut by car from the west can choose from three major routes. Interstate 84 enters Danbury, Connecticut from Pennsylvania and the lower Hudson Valley of New York and continues to Waterbury, Hartford and Worcester. The Merrit Parkway, closed to trucks and buses, enters the state from New York's Westchester County, and is considered one of America's most scenic highways because of how its design matches the bucolic leafiness of the suburbs that surround it. An extension of the Parkway tunnels under a hill north of New Haven and continues to Meriden where it merges with Interstate 91 going north towards Hartford and beyond. Interstate 95 traverses the east coast of the United States] from Maine to Florida, and runs along Connecticut's coast from east to west. The visitor should be aware I-95 North according to federal road signs is actually going East in Connecticut, and I-95 South is going West in Connecticut. Between New York and New Haven I-95 goes through densely populated suburbs and is heavily congested. East (North according to directional signs on the road) of New Haven I-95 goes through more rural coastal towns and is not so congested.
Entering the state from Boston involves taking the Massachusetts Turnpike also known as Interstate 90 west to I-84, or Route 6, a two-lane road, or Interstate 95 from Rhode Island.
This charming state is rich with history, nature, art and beauty. Truly something for everyone. While many people are drawn each year to Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casinos, there is much more in this state. There are a number of beaches at the shore, state parks and forests throughout the state, and many smaller parks as well. Gillette Castle State Park in East Hadaam is an excellent family destination. So is the Essex Steam Train and River Boat Ride in Essex.
• Mystic Seaport, a museum of America and the sea situated along the banks of the Mystic River. It is notable both for its collection of sailing ships and boats, and for the re-creation of an entire 19th century seaport, consisting of over 60 original buildings, most of them rare commercial structures, moved to the 37 acre site and meticulously restored.
• Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration offers the chance to see numerous ocean creatures up close including a hands-on opportunity with rays and Beluga whales. Discover intriguing exhibits, the XD motion programs and seasonal programs for all ages.
• Connecticut is home to more than 50 Agricultural Fairs occurring between the months of July-October.
• Essex Steam Train and Riverboat in the Connecticut River Valley operates live steam trains that take you on a 1-hour narrated journey of points of interest and beautiful scenery. You can also enjoy your day with a ride on the Riverboat where you can enjoy the picturesque surroundings for more than an hour.
• Several museums including the Submarine Force Museum (Grotan), Florence Griswold Art Museum (Old Lyme), Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut (Niantic), DNA Epicenter Science Museum (New London), Wadsworth Atheneum Art Museum (Hartford), New England Carousel Museum (Bristol), Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry (Storrs) and many others across the state.
• Yale University, which maintains a consistent ranking as one of the world's greatest and richest universities. Guided tours are available at the Visitor Center at 149 Elm Street or you can do a self-guided tour by purchasing a Blue Trail map and learn about the history and architecture behind this prestigious institution. While here, you can also visit the Peabody's Museum of Natural History.
• Gillette Castle State Park is located in East Haddam and is home to the majestic castle designed and lived in by William Gillette, an American actor who is most famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. Your visit can include a tour of the castle, walking trails, a picnic area and a view of the Connecticut River.
• Visit the oldest operation amusement park in North America - Lake Compounce in Bristol. Don't let the fact that it's been running since 1846 lessen its appeal. This family theme park is continually adding new attractions to its already growing list of rides, entertainment, and even a water park making it one of the more popular theme parks in New England. One of its signature rides is its 4,700 foot wooden roller coaster the Boulder Dash that operates on the Lake's natural mountainous terrain.
Stop and relax at some of the states most well-known beaches that include:
• Hammonassett State Park, Madison.
• Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme. Aside from the beach, Rocky Neck also offers a large camp ground where visitors may come in contact with deer and wild turkey, and a hiking trail that leads up a small mountain.
• Lighthouse Point Beach, New Haven.
• Savin Rock, West Haven
Numerous cities are located within reasonable driving distance of Connecticut's major metropolitan areas: New York, Boston, Springfield, Providence, and Newark. Depending on traffic, Hartford is about a hour away from Bridgeport and about 40 minutes from New Haven on the highway.
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Blacksmith, Connecticut, U.S.A.
• Fairfield County
• Litchfield Hills
• Greater New Haven
• Connecticut River Valley
Car is usually best.
• Connecticut Transit, 100 Leibert Road, Hartford, Phone: +1 860 522-8101, Fax: +1 860 247-1810.
• Bridgeport is served by its own service.
• New Haven is also served by a free electric trolley system that runs the downtown area.
Like most of New England, the weather in Connecticut is varied with the seasons. It can be highly unpredictable in the spring and fall months, however, throughout the year there is little certainty on exactly what the weather will do.
It is recommended to bring clothes for a variety of temperatures when visiting, and to check the weather report closely. Although there are periods of little or no rain, a raincoat or umbrella are good items to pack. Warm clothes in the winter and light clothes in the summer are also important, although it is recommended to pack a light jacket, even in the summer months.
Quick Facts • Yale University has the most selective undergraduate program of any university in the United States (an 8.6% acceptance rate in 2006).
• The Hartford Courant, first published in 1764 is the oldest newspaper still being published in the U.S.
• New Haven is the birthplace of the hamburger
• The world's first nuclear powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, was built at Grotan and now is at the Submarine Force Museum.
• The city of Orange is where PEZ candy is made
Bed and breakfast inns are the popular choice for lodging in Connecticut. No matter where you are in the state, they are widespread. Prices range from $50-$200/night.
Hotels and resorts are also common. The state is home to the world's largest casino, Foxwoods Resort Casino. Located in Ledyard, it features three hotels with a total of over 1400 guest rooms. The Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville is only slightly smaller with 1,200 guest rooms and a number of restaurants and shops.
Camping is also an option for the budget-conscious, but there is usually only one or two to choose from in each area.