What better way to kick off The Greatest Road Trip Ever Taken’s New England portion than with a trip to the Nutmeg State of Connecticut? The third smallest state in the Union, Connecticut has the 29th most residents. As a result, it has a population density ranked fourth in the country and is a definite urban state.
One of the thirteen original colonies Connecticut was an unabashed rebel state during the Revolutionary War. It is notable that, during the key era of revolt against England, Connecticut sent four delegates to the Second Continental Congress. All four signed the Declaration of Independence. Likewise, Connecticut was an unabashed Union state during the Civil War.
Connecticut is bordered on the north and northeast by Massachusetts and on the northwest by New York. Rhode Island provides the eastern border and Long Island Sound provides the southern border. The entire state is in the Eastern Time Zone and recognizes Daylight Savings Time.
Hartford is the capital of Connecticut. Bridgeport is the largest city. Those two are joined by New Haven, Stamford, and Waterbury on the list of Connecticut cities exceeding 100,000 in population.
The high point in Connecticut is at the 2,379-foot point of Mt. Frissell. It can be found near the Massachusetts line. The lowest point is at sea level on Long Island Sound. The city limits of Berlin enfold the geographic center of Connecticut.
Top Airports in Connecticut:
Tweed New Haven serves almost 40,000 passengers a year. The favorite destination is Philadelphia.
Bradley International serves over 2.5 million Hartford-area passengers annually. The most common destination is Atlanta.
Top Movies Filmed in Connecticut:
The Stepford Wives (2004)
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
President George W. Bush and First Lady Edith Roosevelt.
Military/Politics: Nathan Hale, Adam Clayton Powell. Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen, and Dean Acheson.
Actors: Katherine Hepburn, Christopher Lloyd, Alphonso McAuley, Anika Noni Rose, Meg Ryan, Hector David Jr, Will Friedle, Brooke Burke, Jonathan Brandis, Justin Long, George O. Petrie, and Jenna Dewan.
Entertainers: P.T. Barnum, Riley Lynch, Witt Lowry, Karen Carpenter, Nolan North, Sawyer Fredericks, Carnell Breeding, Nick Fradiani, Melissa Sandoval, Cassie Ventura, John Mayer, Seth MacFarlane, Eileen Farrell, and Rosa Ponselle.
Authors: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Noah Webster, Stephenie Meyer, and Suzanne Collins.
Athletes: Stephanie McMahon, Joey Logano, and Matt Harvey.
Weird and Wonderful Facts about Connecticut
The nation’s first telephone book was issued in New Haven. It contained 50 names.
The United States’ first public lending library was started in Scoville in 1771 and is still operating.
Neither Connecticut nor Rhode Island ratified the 18th Amendment making Prohibition the law of the land.
In Hartford, it is illegal to cross the street walking on your hands.
Connecticut is home to the oldest continuously published U.S. newspaper. The Hartford Courant was established in 1764.
Lollipops, Polaroid cameras, helicopters, and color television were all invented here.
In 1901, Connecticut enforced the first speed zone in the country. Exceeding 12 mph earned speed demons a citation.
In 1728, the first steel mill operating in America was located in Simsbury.
PEZ candy is made in the city of Orange.
Let’s Take a Trip Through Connecticut:
It will be a short trip, (the state is only 110 miles east-west and 70 miles north-south), but we are going to see some impressive sights along the way. We will start in the northeast quadrant and finish at Long Island Sound down south.
Midway between Hartford and the border with Massachusetts find Wilderness Lake, just outside Willington. It is a beautiful and serene place from which to begin. We haven’t done a lot of camping this trip, so we will make camp here.
The next day it is off to Hartford. The Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities was one of the very first museums in the land that would later become the United States. We would have liked to stop there, but budget cuts in 2016 caused the closure of this bit of roadside Americana.
In addition to paintings and other artistic creations, the founder displayed a two-headed calf, an 18-foot long Egyptian snake and what he claimed to be the horn of a unicorn. (It was most likely a thin rhino horn, but who are we to get in the way of showmanship?)
In Hartford, we are going to visit Mark Twain’s home. Twain is most associated with the Mississippi River and the city of Hannibal in Missouri, but, he lived much of his life in Hartford. His home has been restored and maintained, even including the dim gas lantern light by which Samuel Langhorne Clemens penned some of his works.
Quality, inexpensive lodging is hard to come by in Connecticut’s major cities. We settled on the Radisson Hartford for $99 a night.
With just 41 miles to go, we decided to sleep in a little before making our way to New Haven. We said way back in Mississippi that we weren’t going to visit every college campus on our route. Instead, only the truly special ones would draw our attention. Yale University in New Haven qualifies as special. We are going to take a guided tour of the campus. During the visit, we will learn about life at Yale, some of the discoveries that have come out of her, and famous people who have matriculated inside her ivy walls.
Next, we will make a much-anticipated stop at the Yale University Art Gallery. It is the oldest college art museum in America. The gallery’s 200,000 objects and holdings range from ancient times to the present day, representing civilizations from around the globe.
We finish off our trip with a relaxing dinner and a night’s stay at Duncan Hotel on the Yale campus. Rooms go from $130 a night.
We hope you liked our trip through Connecticut. There is something kind of “homey” about it. Connecticut reminds us of Thanksgiving as seen in Currier and Ives paintings that hang on the walls of Grandma’s kitchen. Either that or we’re making too much of the words “Nutmeg State.”
After the overwhelming hustle and bustle of New York City and New Jersey, Connecticut was a nice change of pace. That may be why so many New York-based media stars live here.