Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Connecticut - Wish List

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Arizona is turning 100 years old this year.  Connecticut on the other hand became the 5th state 224 years ago (1788)!  Because of that and the fact that the people of Connecticut are so proud of their history, there are a lot of historical places to check out in this little state.  If you want to see houses from the 1700s or 1800s, this site has them all listed for you by city - http://vpa.org/museumsct.html.  One interesting house I found is Sam Clemons’s (aka Mark Twain) home and museum in Hartford - http://www.marktwainhouse.org/.  He was around during such changing times in the United States and his house and the museum display that so well.  Another “house” I am really interested in is William Gillette’s Castle in East Haddam, which has become its own state park - http://www.ctrivervalley.com/4-Connecticut-CT-in-of/Major-attractions-in-CT/gillette_castle_state_park/index.html.  It’s so old New England and beautiful.  I bet the view of the Connecticut River makes the visit even better.

If you’re looking more for Connecticut state history then you’ll want to start off in Hartford with a tour of their capitol building (beautiful architecture by the way) - http://www.cga.ct.gov/capitoltours/.  No matter what state you’re in, you should go at least visit your own state’s capital building and try to visit others as well.  Before the Europeans settled in Connecticut, the Pequot Indians were there, and they have a really cool looking museum in Mashantucket (near Foxwoods Casino and Resort) - http://www.pequotmuseum.org/.  They have various exhibits from making a meal to making a basket.

When the Europeans arrived, schools of higher education were started in the colonies.  Centuries later, Yale University in New Haven is still in existence and has become a prestigious university.  You can take a free guided tour of campus (and not as a prospective student either) - http://www.yale.edu/visitor/.

Later in the state’s history, modes of transportation started to really change.  They had horse drawn carriages and horse drawn sleds.  You can go back to those times at the Allegra Farm’s Horse Drawn Carriage and Sleigh Museum of New England in East Haddam - http://www.allegrafarm.com/.  They offer hayrides, carriage rides, and sleigh rides.  How cool?!
Later in Connecticut’s history came freeing of southern slaves by the Underground Railroad.  Much of the trail that was used is still around.  It’s called the Connecticut Freedom Trail and it covers the state - http://www.ctfreedomtrail.org/trail/.

If you’re more of a kid at heart and history isn’t your thing, start off by visiting the state’s children’s museum in New Haven - http://childrensbuilding.org/index.htm.  The heavily interactive museum looks like so much fun.  Next, check out the Barker Character Comic and Cartoon Museum in Cheshire- http://www.barkermuseum.com/page.asp?PGNM=151.  On the homepage, they have a picture of the museum and out front is a human size Kung Fu Panda – neat!  Lastly, you should check your time at the Timexpo – Timex Museum in Waterbury - http://www.timexpo.com/index.html, which has a HUGE collection of clocks including a collection of Minnie and Mickey watches.

Lastly, if you just want to get away from it all you should check out the Thimble Islands in the Long Island Sound right off the coast of Connecticut - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thimble_Islands.  Some of the “islands” are more just piles of rock, while others have a few houses on them.  Staying on the island would cost a pretty penny, but they have decent priced cruises out to them for day trips that would be more in my price range.

These are just some of the many things to do in the 3rd smallest state, Connecticut.  Because the state is so small, you’re never far from any site you want to see in the state.  Also, you can get to the big cities of Boston and New York City pretty quickly.  If you know of anywhere else in Connecticut we should check out, please leave a comment below.  It’s amazing what you’ll find just round the corner.

Next week: Delaware

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