Connecticut is the third smallest state by area, in the USA, and has the highest per-capita income. The capital city is Hartford. It is also known as Constitution State, the Provisions State, The Nutmeg state, and the Land of steady habits.
The first European settlers were of Dutch origin, although the first major settlement was in the 1630’s by English settlers.
Connecticut has a strong tradition with maritime, having the Connecticut and Thames Rivers, along with many ports along the Long Island Sound.
You will find that the state of Connecticut has within its borders shorelines, forests, historic villages, colonial churches, and modern expressways. Connecticut is certainly a thriving state, with a lot to offer the tourist.
1. Long Island Sound
This tidal estuary is over 21 miles at the widest point. It runs from east to west, from east River in New York to the north shore of Long Island. About 8 million people live on the Sound.
You will find many state parks along the sound, as well as many delightful villages. If you enjoy seafood, then make sure you head for one of the many restaurants along the Sound.
There are many places to stay so you may want to book some accommodation and stay a few days while you explore. Alternatively, take an RV and be your own boss!
2. USS Nautilus
USS Nautilus was the first operational nuclear-powered submarine. Because of this, the sub was able to remain submerged for long periods of time.
The Nautilus was ordered to conduct ‘Operation Sunshine’ and on July 23rd 1958 she became the first ship to cross the North Pole.
The submarine was decommissioned in 1980 and has been preserved as a museum open to the public. You will find the submarine in Groton.
Plan to spend a half day here.
3. Yale University
This university is the third oldest in the USA, and is located in New Haven.
The university is open for guided tours. Be sure to take a walk through the gardens which are immaculately maintained. There are frequent concerts which are open to the public to attend. These must be booked in advance.
The guided tours are a great way to learn about the history of the university, and well worth taking advantage of. You will also be able to stop at the library, and the botanical garden, so allow yourself a full day here.
4. Connecticut State Capitol
You will find the State Capitol in Hartford, just south of Bushnell Park. Originally there was a large statue on the top of the dome, but this was removed after the hurricane which happened in 1938.
Note that at the base of the dome there are 12 statues, in pairs which represent Commerce, Education/Law, Agriculture, War/Force, Science/Justice, and Music.
You can take a self-guided tour through the building, although guided tours are available on the weekdays. Guided tours start at the entrance of the Legislative Office, which is on the west side.
Allow a half day to see the building.
5. Mark Twain House
There is also a museum here. You will find them in Hartford. This was the home of Mark Twain and his family from 1874 – 1891.
The author Samuel Clemens wrote many of his best works here, such as The Prince and the Pauper, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
The building has also been used as a school and a public library, until it was until it was taken over by the Mark Twain Memorial group. It is now a national Historic Landmark.
Allow yourself a half day to see themuseum and the house.
6. New England Air Museum
You will find this at Bradley International Airport, in Windsor Locks. There are three hangars where you will find 66 aircraft, 26 helicopters, ejection seats, missiles, and many other aircraft memorabilia.
You can take a guided tour, or walk around by yourself. The museum does many children’s activities, and often hosts special events.
The visitor’s centre has many books and technical manuals to buy. There is also a library where you can find photographs and microfilms.
Plan to spend most of the day here, especially if you have come for a special event.
7. Foxwoods Resort Casino
You will find this hotel and casino complex on the Mashantucket Pequot Indian reservation. There is a total of six casinos with over 250 gaming tables.
If you like casinos, then you will be happy visiting here as there are blackjack tables, roulette, poker, and craps tables, as well as over 5000 slot machines.
Look out for the Hard Rock Café when you need a bite to eat.
If you plan to stay more than a day, then you can book into one of the hotels. There is a special arcade for children and teens.
8. East Rock
This is to be found in Hamden, and you will be astounded by the magnificent views of New Haven, and Long Island Sound. If hiking is what you like, then you will want to head here.
You can either walk, cycle, or take a car along the route. Once you get to east Rock, be sure to check out the ‘Soldiers and Sailors’ monument which is one of the iconic landmarks of the area. You really cannot miss it as it stands over 110 feet high. It dates back to 1887.
If you visit in the winter months, then you may want to bring snowshoes and cross-country ski in the area.
9. Horace Wells Memorial
Horace Wells was a dentist who first pioneered the use of anaesthetic. The story goes that in 1844 Horace and his wife attended a seminar on laughing gas. Horace decided that this might be the answer to removing teeth without the pain.
On his return home, Horace set up a demonstration with a student, the gas was not administered correctly, and the student cried out in pain. Horace was mortified and finally handed over his practise to another dentist.
Horace eventually ended up taking his own life, and is now buried with his family in Hartford. The epitaph reads ‘The Discoverer of Anaesthesia’.
10. Peabody Museum of Natural History
You will find this at Yale University. It is one of the oldest, and largest natural history museums in the world. George Peabody founded it in 1866.
Possibly the most well-known hall is the ‘Great Hall of Dinosaurs’, which includes a baby Brontosaurus.
Look out for the vertebrate collections which are the most expensive fossil collections in the USA.
Allow yourself a full day to look around here. There is a small café where you can get a snack and refreshments.