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Often overlooked in favor of its flashier New England cousins, the bijou state of Connecticut pulls a few surprises. A playground for New York City weekenders, this green, and pleasant land abounds with handsome colonial towns, pretty landscapes, and lively cultural attractions.

A raft of historic inns, complete with four-poster beds and twee décor, transport Connecticut’s guests back to the good old days of the Gilded Age, while the state’s seaside spa resorts offer more contemporary comfort and miles of golden sands.

In Hartford, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the USA’s oldest public art museum, revealing a bundle of new galleries in 2015 following a five-year renovation. Hartford was also the home of Mark Twain, and you can visit his house on Nook Farm, where he wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1884.

Coastal New Haven has an extraordinary list of firsts; it was the USA’s first planned city, the first place to serve a hamburger, and the first place to produce lollipops. Yale University lends the town a studenty vibe, and the springtime 4B Festival is a mouthwatering homage to beer, bourbon, and barbecue.

Historic towns like Woodbury are peppered with early 17th-century architecture and excellent antique shops. In the port town of Mystic, you can plunge into Connecticut’s maritime heritage, exploring a recreated 19th-century sailing village and the world’s last wooden whaleship.

For 20th-century design, look no further than the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, 20 hectares (49 acres) of rambling parkland encompassing 14 modernist structures, including a glass house where the architect lived.


  • Mystic Seaport: this 79-year-old complex recreates the atmosphere of a 19th-century New England seafaring village. It’s a fascinating place with tall whaling ships bobbing in the harbor, and 30 historic buildings relocated from around New England to create an authentic coastal village. Mystic Seaport is arguably Connecticut’s top tourist attraction, so plan to spend at least three hours (if not a whole day) experiencing the 19-acre living museum.
  • Mark Twain House and Museum: Connecticut’s favorite son, the legendary writer Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), lived in this stunning late 19th century Gothic home for 17 years. He wrote classics like Huckleberry Finn during this time and the home remains exactly as it looked when Twain lived here. The highlight is the one-hour guided tour that ends in his writing room. Get a sense of his inspiration at the small museum on site with a collection of memorabilia.
  • Yale University: the city of New Haven, Connecticut, and Yale University are inseparable. Nearly all of the city’s cultural attractions are related to the Ivy League institution, and the beautiful campus with its stately period architecture is open to guests to explore. Three historic churches face Temple Street and are worth a look, but the real highlights are the Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Center for British Art, two amazing repositories of artwork by many great American and British masters. New Haven’s oldest home (c. 1767) is now the Yale Visitor Center, which offers a one-hour guided tour of the campus and other information.
  • Mystic Aquarium: Mystic Aquarium is one of the best aquariums in the country and boasts a superb mix of animal performances and marine exhibits. The sea lion show is the main attraction, followed closely by the feeding time of the Beluga whales. Penguins, sharks, manta rays, and most of the other creatures of the sea are also highlighted The Beluga Encounter is a particularly special experience for those who want to get in the water with and touch these magical creatures. The Penguin Encounter is a similar attraction that allows you to get up close and personal with the birds.
  • Litchfield Hills: this rural region is the most rustically scenic yet sophisticated part of Connecticut. A wealthy getaway spot for New Yorkers who are bored of the Hamptons, Litchfield is ideal for a multi-day road trip. The city folk transformed the center of colonial-era towns like Washington into coffee shops, fusion cafés, and boutiques. Highlights include Woodbury, with its 30 or so antique shops; Litchfield, with its classic Town Green surrounded by trendy boutiques and inns; and lovely Norfolk, which was founded in 1758. There are a dozen colonial hamlets to explore in this pastoral region, most of which have comfortable bed and breakfasts and great little restaurants.
  • Connecticut Shoreline: Connecticut’s southern coast, or the Shore as locals call it, is a lovely stretch of the Atlantic dotted with 300-year-old villages and quiet, undeveloped beaches. The ideal way to explore the Shore is to base yourself in either Madison or Guilford, two charming colonial towns that date to the 1600s. Both offer excellent shops, restaurants, accommodation, and a charming atmosphere that is hard to beat. A selection of mellow beaches lies just up the road in either direction, so a rental car is essential for this kind of getaway.
  • Connecticut River Valley: one of the most important waterways in America, the Connecticut River is the longest in New England and has been used for transportation, commerce, and recreation for centuries. Taking a river cruise is the main way to experience this lush corridor of the state, and there are plenty of quaint, colonial-era towns along its banks to stay in. From the tiny hamlet of Chester to the tranquility of Old Lyme or the postcard-worthy riverside town of Essex, this is one part of Connecticut that deserves a multi-day road trip to step back in time and slow down your heart rate.


The best period to visit Connecticut is from June to September.


The weather in Connecticut is similar to that of the rest of New England. Its latitude and location near the coast give it a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons and a fair amount of precipitation. Winters in Connecticut are considered very cold, with daytime highs rarely breaking 40°F along the coast and averaging 30°C in the northwest region from December to February. It snows often in the northwest, and even occasionally along the southern coast.

Summers are hot, humid, and generally uncomfortable. The daytime highs in July and August average in the upper 80s °F, but high humidity creates stuffy conditions. Thunderstorms are common during the summer, sometimes turning into damaging storms during the hurricane season between late June and September. Spring offers plenty of rain and rapid changes in temperature, but generally fair and mild weather. Fall is the premier season in Connecticut, with mild temperatures and sunny skies throughout October and November.


Order Apizza in America’s most underrated Little Italy

New Haven, Connecticut might not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of America’s great pizza hotbeds. But the wood-fired, slightly-charred style of pizza that originated there is an American treasure if you like your food crispy. Locally, New Haven-style pizza is called “Apizza,” pronounced “Ah-Beetz,” and comes with a thin crust perfectly charred. Many a confused customer has attempted to send it back, prompting sneers from locals and less-than-polite refusals from the staff. Once you understand the style, head to the heart of Little Italy on Wooster St. and try the original at Frank Pepe’s. Then check out rival shop Sally’s to see who’s better.

Following is a list of typical festivals and celebrations of Connecticut.

  • St Patrick’s Day Parade: when St Paddy’s Day rolls around each March, Connecticut goes all out to create one of the country’s top Irish parades. By far the biggest annual event in New Haven, St. Pat’s sees up to 250,000 people converge on the city to enjoy America’s sixth-oldest St Patrick’s Day parade. The parade is just the kick-off of a long weekend of major partying at bars across New Haven.
  • Sea Music Festival: every year in June, Mystic Seaport lures around 5,000 visitors to enjoy the live music of all kinds in its wonderful complex. The emphasis is the traditional music of seafarers from the region’s golden era of sailing. Seven stages are set up around the seaport and a solid range of international performers are invited to come and play. It’s a one-of-a-kind music event that combines old-world charm with new-world performers.
  • Greater Hartford Festival: the Connecticut capital’s main event of the year brings loads of free jazz to Bushnell Park located in the heart of the city. For several days in July, the park hosts a steady stream of jazz performances by big names and up-and-comers. The balmy weather and lush greenery make for an ideal environment to sit in your lounge chair and dig the beats.
  • Native American Festival: in September, the town of Ridgefield hosts a special event to showcase the region’s Native American heritage and traditions. This fun and interesting event takes place over one day in Ballad Park and features traditional dances, music, and incredibly tasty native food like corncakes and fry bread. This festival is especially fun for kids, as there is a special kids’ teepee village with all kinds of fun arts, crafts, and activities.
  • Artists in the Country: the rural town of Woodstock is the site of one of Connecticut’s most popular folksy arts and crafts festivals. This state has a rich tradition of creative local artists, and each September people travel from all around to enjoy the crisp fall scenery and check out the latest artwork and creations by the residents.
  • Discover Hartford Bicycle and Walking Tour: every October, the capital of Hartford takes a day off from the world of motorized travel and transforms the downtown into a pedestrianized playground for walkers and bikers. Beginning at the popular Bushnell Park, special loops of 10, 25, and 40-mile routes are set up, winding around Hartford and ending back at the park. Touring these trails is a fantastic way to get intimate with Connecticut without the distraction of cars.


Only Connecticut’s major cities of New Haven and Hartford have public bus systems and CT Transport is the city-managed firm that operates buses in Hartford and New Haven. The routes are designed primarily for residents, but they run through the downtown areas. Fares are cheap and buses typically pass by each stop at 20-minute intervals.

Downtown Hartford has a free shuttle bus service called the Star Shuttle. The route connects the Arts and Entertainment District, the Riverfront, and the Convention Center. It is useful for moving around the district, with shuttles passing each stop every 10 minutes or so.

New Haven and Hartford are both on the Amtrak line between New York and Boston, offering a scenic way to reach Connecticut if you are already on the Eastern Seaboard. In the capital, Hartford, the train stops at Union Station downtown, which is also where Greyhound long-distance buses park. To reach any other Connecticut town which is not along the coast, Greyhound buses are cheap and reasonably comfortable.

Main airports are:


health tips & vaccination: none

local currency: US Dollar

local time zone: GMT-5 (-4)

electricity: type A and type B (120V – 60 Hz)


Typical food in Connecticut

  • Fish and shellfis
  • Apizza
  • Chowders
  • Steamed Cheesburger

Souvenirs from Connecticut

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