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The best of Connecticut
Gilmore Girls may have gotten a few things right about Connecticut (namely the stunning fall foliage and their depiction of Yale), but, for the most part, people living outside of New England are not too familiar with this small coastal state. The Nutmeg State is sometimes erroneously labeled as a “drive-through” state en route to more exciting destinations, but although it is flanked by many popular tourist spots in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, there is plenty to see and do within its borders; so book a charming hotel or Airbnb and explore everything from world-famous restaurants to picturesque beaches and Ivy League history.
Due to its proximity to New York City, Connecticut’s dining scene was long overshadowed by its neighbor’s cutting edge cuisine. These days, however, local chefs no longer fall prey to only finding inspiration within the five boroughs. Instead, the Nutmeg State has begun to embrace its true strengths: an abundance of fresh seafood from the Long Island Sound, a plethora of high quality local farms (if you’re looking for things to do on your trip, consider a visit) and a desire to preserve Connecticut’s wildlife and natural beauty. So book your hotel, then book a meal or two at some of the top restaurants in the state.
When you think about a getaway, Connecticut may not be the first destination that comes to mind. However, with its expansive coastline, proximity to major cities like New York and Boston, and an abundance of local charm, a getaway to the Nutmeg State may be exactly what you need. There’s plenty to do too, from visiting a museum filled with ancient ships in Mystic to exploring the hallowed halls of Yale University, hiking exhilarating waterfalls or walking in the footsteps of Mark Twain. Lodgings too span a wide range; from food-centric historic inns to quirky cottages, and stately waterfront hotels, there’s a place for every taste and budget. They take in a fun choice array of lodgings, from ‘chambers’ to a helicopter, by way of centuries-old small inns, luxe hotels offering yacht excursions and boutique B&Bs. Whether you prefer the tranquility of a wooded hideaway, beachside bliss, or staying in the lap of luxury, here are the best hotels this southern New England state has to offer.
In the Nutmeg State you can kick back in a lighthouse or treehouse, a water-facing suite steps from the East Coast’s answer to Rodeo Drive or a Relais and Châteaux inn with a world-class spa in the middle of nowhere (sorry, Washington, Connecticut – you’re pretty but not exactly hopping).
Over the centuries, Connecticut has been home to its fair share of wealthy people who have gifted their collections to institutions so we can all enjoy them. Not widely known outside art circles, there were influential American Impressionist art colonies throughout the state in the late 1800s through the early 1900s. At the lovely Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, residents painted scenes you can see today. The state is king of house museums, and two more well worth visiting are the former homes of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Aside from fine art, Connecticut boasts two of the foremost museums of their subject in the world: the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, which presents Native American history and culture; and the recreated historic seafaring village Mystic Seaport Museum, where visitors, including children, are immersed in all things nautical.
When it comes to weekend getaways, don't rule out Connecticut. Boasting a gorgeous coastline with some of New England's best beaches, historic seaside towns, beautiful scenery and burgeoning food and arts scenes, the nutmeg state has something for everyone. Easily accessible by car or train from New York City, you can fit a lot into a single weekend in Connecticut. The country’s third smallest state can deliver art, great eats and much-needed time by the water, in just 48 hours. For a mix of culture, history and nature, base yourself in New Haven. The town is easily accessible by public transit, and has the perks of being proximate to one of the world’s most venerable colleges and by the seaside, all at once.
Connecticut has always been an agricultural capital. The fertile valley soil is perfect for cultivating the produce—squash, maize and artichokes—that has been farmed in the region for centuries. It’s not just seasonal vegetables that thrive in the Nutmeg State; the region’s cold, mineral-rich waters are bursting with seafood, and the rolling grass hills breed very happy dairy cows. Hospitality types have been flocking to the state to create slow and sustainable farm-to-table food programs, but you can easily enjoy the fruits of their labor on a weekend getaway (try the gooseberries—they’re native to the region). Just assemble a harvest picnic, find yourself a shimmering body of water, and crack open a bottle of your favorite wine.
It may be the third smallest state in the union, but Connecticut packs a lot into a little space. From beautiful beaches to Ivy League splendor and world-famous restaurants, the Nutmeg state is full of history, natural beauty and a few surprises. From the best things to do, to the most romantic hotels in the state here's our guide to Connecticut.