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Connecticut

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Travel Guide North America USA Northeastern United States New England Connecticut

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Introduction

Day 61 - Mark Twains House

Day 61 - Mark Twains House

© All Rights Reserved jl98584

Connecticut is a state in the northeastern US region of New England. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south.

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Geography

Connecticut is bordered on the south by Long Island Sound, on the west by New York State, on the north by Massachusetts, and on the east by Rhode Island. The highest peak in Connecticut is Bear Mountain in Salisbury in the northwest corner of the state. The highest point is just east of where Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York meet, on the southern slope of Mount Frissell, whose peak lies nearby in Massachusetts. The Connecticut River cuts through the center of the state, flowing into Long Island Sound. The most populous metropolitan region centered within the state lies in the Connecticut River Valley. Despite Connecticut's relatively small size, it features wide regional variations in its landscape; for example, in the northwestern Litchfield Hills, it features rolling mountains and horse farms, whereas in the southeastern New London County, it features beaches and maritime activities.

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Regions

  • Fairfield County - Southwest Connecticut, near New York City. This area has many beaches and lighthouses, and many of the state's biggest cities, such as Bridgeport, Stamford, and Norwalk.
  • Litchfield Hills - Northwest Connecticut. Here you will find the less dense areas with colorful leaves in the autumn. There are some smaller cities such as Torrington, Danbury, and New Milford.
  • Greater New Haven - South central Connecticut. Home to Yale University, and numerous museums and theaters. It includes cities such as New Haven and Milford.
  • Connecticut River Valley - From North central Connecticut to the coast. Home to New England's 2nd most populous region, the Knowledge Corridor, featuring Connecticut's state capital Hartford and many historic sights.
  • Mystic-Eastern - New London, Tolland and Windham Counties in eastern Connecticut. A good place to get a view of the Long Island Sound, with beaches, and the famous Mystic Seaport/Aquarium. Has two of the biggest casinos in the world. Includes cities such as New London, Mystic, Uncasville, and Ledyard.

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Cities

  • Bridgeport is the state's largest city.
  • Danbury - Also known as Hat City, Danbury is home to Western Connecticut State University, Candlewood Lake, and many good restaurants.
  • Hartford is the state capital.
  • New Haven is home of the famous Yale University, the state's "creative capital" and home to the greatest amount of pedestrian life, top-rated restaurants and tourist attractions
  • Norwalk
  • Stamford - home to trendy SoNo with an active night life and The Maritime Aquarium
  • Waterbury - This is a small urban community with lots to do. Look for the Union Station Clocktower that overlooks the city.

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Sights and Activities

Connecticut 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 Haddam is an excellent family destination. So is the Essex Steam Train and River Boat Ride in Essex.

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Weather

Interior portions of Connecticut have a humid continental climate, while the Connecticut shoreline has a borderline humid subtropical climate with seasonal extremes tempered by proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The city of Bridgeport (on Long Island Sound), like most other areas in metropolitan New York, typically falls within the humid subtropical climate. Hartford has a humid continental climate. Consistent with its coastal reputation, Connecticut is a moderately sunny state, averaging between 2,400 and 2,800 hours of sunshine annually.

Winters are generally considered to be cold, with average temperatures ranging from 3 °C in the maritime influenced southeast to -2 °C in the northwest in January. The average yearly snowfall is about 54-189 centimetres across the state, with higher totals in the northwest. Spring has variable temperatures with frequent rainfall. Summer is hot and humid throughout the state, with average highs in New London of 27 °C and 31 °C in Windsor Locks. Fall months are mild and bring colorful foliage across the state in October and November. During hurricane season, tropical cyclones occasionally affect the region. Thunderstorms are most frequent during the summer, occurring on average 30 times annually. These storms can be severe, and the state usually averages one tornado per year. Connecticut's warmest temperature is 41 °C which occurred in Danbury on July 15, 1995; the coldest temperature is -36 °C which occurred in Falls Village on February 16, 1943 and Coventry on January 22, 1961.

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Getting There

By Plane

Bradley International Airport (BDL) is the second-busiest airport in New England, after Boston's Logan International Airport. It is located about halfway between Hartford and Springfield. There are many flights, including to/from Montreal, Toronto, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Punta Cana, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Cancun, Orlando, New York City, Cincinnati, Raleigh/Durham, Fort Lauderdale, San Juan, West Palm Beach, Baltimore, Denver, Tampa, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Newark, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

By Train

A number of Amtrak trains stop in Connecticut:

  • The Acela Express travels between Boston and New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia, stopping in New London, New Haven and Stamford in Connecticut.
  • The Northeast Regional travels between Newport News and Boston, stopping en route in many places in Connecticut.
  • The Vermonter travels between New York and Vermont, stopping in a number of places in Connecticut as well.

By Car

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.

Fuel is more expensive in Connecticut than it is in New York or Massachusetts.

By Bus

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.

By Boat

The Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry crosses Long Island Sound daily between Port Jefferson, Long Island and Bridgeport, CT. It carries cars and passengers. Cross Sound Ferry connects New London, CT and Orient Point, NY (the easternmost tip of Long Island's North Fork.) It also carries cars and passengers.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

Connecticut has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.

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Eat

Connecticut has an incredible amount of restaurants everywhere you go. There are thousands of restaurants state wide. Downtown New Haven is widely considered the restaurant capital of the state, with more top Zagat-rated restaurants than any other community in Connecticut by a wide margin. Interesting ethnic restaurants, including Eritrean, Malaysian, Turkish, Spanish, French, Mexican, Cuban, Jamaican, Ethiopian, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Southern and Northern Indian, Nepalese, Cantonese and Italian restaurants can be found throughout the city. Also, the state's large casinos have plenty of dining opportunities.

Southington, Connecticut, between Hartford and Waterbury, is famous for their many apple orchards. This small town of forty thousand people has an incredible variety and supply of apples, celebrating their staple crop with the annual Harvest Festival in October. Anyone traveling through this beautiful state in the Autumn must stop in Southington for a bag of apple fritters and other foods made from the town's famous apples.

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Drink

Be warned that there are only 78 hours of the week in which alcohol can be purchased, which is 8:00am-9:00pm Monday-Saturday and now 10:00am-5:00pm on Sunday. Hours are longer for on-premises consumption, such as at bars. Those are 9:00am-1:00am Monday-Thursday, 9:00am-2:00am Friday-Saturday, and 11:00am-1:00am Sunday.

Discover Connecticut's Craft Beer culture, boasting great local breweries, quality brewpubs and beer bars, home brew supply shops, and beer festivals. Many breweries offer tours of their facilities, and of course free samples of their products.

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Sleep

Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

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Contributors

as well as Peter (2%)

Connecticut Travel Helpers

This is version 20. Last edited at 12:07 on Apr 22, 16 by Utrecht. 13 articles link to this page.

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