A week in Connecticut

Jun 29th, 2010, 03:20 PM
  #1  
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A week in Connecticut

Three gals in their late 30s are planning on spending a week together in August. We are going to fly into Providence. Have already been to Newport and the Cape and really enjoyed it. We would like to explore Connecticut. Could you give us some suggestions on what to see any do and a few towns to make as home bases for a few nights.?
We love culture, theatre, good food, local spots, beaches, and hiking. Not big on casinos.
Trying to gauge if there is enough to do for a week or if we should stay about 4 days in CT and then explore somewhere else. Not spent any time in Providence, so wondering if that would merit a few days as well.
Love staying at B and Bs, but since there are three of us this time, not sure if we will be able to do so. Thanks so much for any suggestions!
Amere is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 06:08 PM
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yk
 
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I'm sure you'll get lots of ideas from posters here who are more familiar with CT than me, but here are my few thoughts:

I would spend at least a day in Hartford - make an effort to visit Mark Twain House and Harriet Beecher Stowe house (right next door); and the Wadsworth Atheneum is well worth a visit too.

You can take a look at my day-trip report to Hartford from last year: http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...or-9-hours.cfm

Also, check out the CT Art Trail: http://www.arttrail.org/

I would also like to suggest the Litchfield County in NW CT. http://www.litchfieldct.com/ It's very scenic there (think rural) with lots of hiking opportunities. Plus, it's close to the Berkshires in MA (tons to do in Lenox, Stockbridge are), plus the upper Hudson Valley in NY.
yk is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 07:03 PM
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Re Litchfield County: You might google Lake Waramaug, Litchfield, New Preston, Kent (all CT). Also The Boulders Inn in New Preston
sobster is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 08:01 PM
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Definitely agree with the suggestions above. Would also recommend Mystic Seaport for a day. I know you said no on casinos but check them to see what shows are playing. Foxwoods has a Titanic exhibit going on for the summer (am going to go on Monday). If you are looking for hotels near Hartford, look in West Hartford near the Main St. Not sure of any specific but there are a lot of great restaurants around there and lots of shops.

Couple of recent threads for restaurants in hartford
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...on-sat-eve.cfm

Would also agree with maybe doing a few days in the Berkshires (Lenox or Stockbridge)
tchoiniere is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 03:24 AM
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My sister and BIL loved the Titanic exhibit.

Several years ago 4 of us friends did a CT weekend based in Mystic. Starting on a Friday I remember we toured a carousel horse museum on our drive south. Small, but interesting. We did have to make a visit to the Monhegan Sun casino for gambling (not enjoyable for two of us) but there were some interesting shops.
We did not tour Mystic Seaport because we had been there before but we made a pilgrimage to Abbot Lobster. We lucked out when I spotted a wild mushroom festival at a nearby small nature museum http://www.dpnc.org/ It's a small museum but I loved the meadow at night room. The wild mushroom festival was great fun and tasty. Your visit might coincide with one of their hiking or paddling events.
We all enjoyed the museum at Foxwoods describing the history of native Americans in that area. The figures uses in the display were very life like because they were cast from real people. http://www.pequotmuseum.org/

I think you will find better dining choices in Providence such as the Italian restaurants on Federal Hill. Another year we did a Providence weekend and visited the Culinary Museum at Johnson & Wales. I thought reservations were required because this is a guided tour. Very unusual. I liked the stove collection and who owned them. I stayed every year at the Westin on business but I don't care for it. With my friends we stayed at the Biltmore and I liked that charm of the older hotel. We had a great, huge room.
dfrostnh is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 04:49 AM
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Go to ctvisit.com and click on the areas you are interested in visiting for what't happening when you go.
emalloy is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 08:00 AM
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To learn more about the eaasternmost portion of Connecticut from coastline to countryside take a look at www.Mystic.org.

Your group could do a tour of wineries starting at the Saltwater Farms in Stonington and ending at Sharpe Hill Vineyard.

Alternatively you could visit and stay on the coast in Stonington Borough, Essex, Mystic, or Niantic and then cruise north an hour to see Pomfret, Putnam and the countryside there. Many sea to table options on the coastline, farm to table in the Northeast Corner.

There are wonderful hikes, antiquing, bike routes etc. in both places. The region has a blog at www.SeeMysticCountryCT.com which gives some more local insight.
Mystic_Country is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 08:18 AM
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Good suggestions above.

The short list provided by yk for Hartford is excellent. Also consider seeing the state capitol building, which is first-rate, and visiting the Old State House. The latter is now mostly empty but has some good history attached, including the fact that the Amistad Trial began here.

New London also appears to have some attractions worth considering, though I haven't been.
bachslunch is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 09:18 AM
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I vote for Mystic and the Seaport. Also, there's an incredible restaurant in Providence - we drive there to have dinner when we're in Newport - Alforno's.
bellhouse is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 09:31 AM
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There's lots of theater in Ct. including a Shakespeare festival in Stratford Aug. 10-17 http://www.townofstratford.com/conte...9285/9313.aspx Don't know if it's as good as it used to be.
http://www.connquest.com/connecticut/todo/theatres.html

Museums
http://www.museumstuff.com/museums/connecticut.php

Historic houses
http://www.vpa.org/museumsct.html

The Thimble islands off the coast (Branford) could be fun.
http://www.thimbleislandcruise.com/about.html
mclaurie is offline  
Jun 30th, 2010, 12:27 PM
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Good advice on Hartford and time in Litchfield. I'd combine it with Mystic and get a sense of both. Also, if you are into historic villages, Old Sturbridge Village is about an hour from Hartford - there is a lot on the web about it.

This may help on Hartford as well:

http://www.10best.com/destinations/c...icut/hartford/

I haven't actualy used this guy as a guide, but I hear he is good:


http://www.hartfordwalkingtours.com/...Tours_2008.pdf


In Litchfield - you may enjoy a visit to White Flower farm, you may not be able to buy, but they do ship:

http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/
seafox is offline  
Jul 1st, 2010, 02:02 PM
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Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions!! I have found one place in Litchfield area that has 3 twin beds for a room - that will be perfect. So far, this is what I am thinking.
We arrive late in Providence on a Friday - spend the night somewhere close
Sat - meet our 3rd friend that will be coming up from NYC. With the suggestions for Hartford, we could meet her there and spend night.
Sunday & Monday - Litchfield area
Tuesday & Wednesday (Maybe Thursday)- somewhere in Mysic area - sounds like there are alot of things to do there. Old Lyme sounds like a quaint place - would that be a good base for the area?
Not sure yet wha to do with last two nights.

Thanks! If you have any specific restaurant suggestions too - we love local spots!
Amere is offline  
Jul 1st, 2010, 02:10 PM
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Restaurant=West Street Grill-Litchfield
sobster is offline  
Jul 1st, 2010, 02:13 PM
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One more excellent suggestion I haven't seen mentioned yet is New Haven.

The city has some very worthy museums, four especially good ones (one on natural history, one on rare books, and two for art) being connected with Yale University. The Yale campus itself is also very nice to wander. There may or may not be concerts or theater there during the summer as well, but the city is a cultural mecca especially given its size.

Plus there are several very good dining options in New Haven, including some legendary pizza places (can vouch for Modern Apizza which is excellent, and there's also Frank Pepe's Pizza and Sally's Apizza which are also supposed to be very good if rather heavy on the attitude. One could easily spend one or two profitable sightseeing days here.
bachslunch is offline  
Jul 1st, 2010, 02:13 PM
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Um, that would be West Street Cafe-Litchfield
on the other hand if you are in the mood for something different, you might go south on Rte. 202 from Litchfield toward New Milford and eat at Clamp's Hamburger Stand in the Northville section of New Milford-It's been there since 1938 so they're doing something right. Locally famous.
sobster is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 07:47 AM
  #16  
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Thanks! Since we will only be staying one night in hartford - any area you recommend to find accomodations?
Amere is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 09:05 AM
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Try the Inn at Stonington http://www.innatstonington.com/ in Stonington Borough (MYstic is a village which is partly in Stonington. The Borough is a beautiful collection of historic buildings and has a number of restaurants. I think it is probably the nicest spot to stay near Mystic -- although Watch Hill RI, a few miles on, also has a lot to offer with its new Ocean House. http://www.oceanhouseri.com/luxury-beach-hotels.php
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2010, 09:06 AM
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Most of Hartford's hotels are geared toward the business traveler and the one great one we had just closed. I would try to stay down town and enjoy one of the fine restaurants, see Bushnell Park, the Wadsworth Athaneum and the Martk Twain House.

For Dinner, I would suggest Max Downtown, Peppercorns, Spris, Dish, Dulce or Vito's by the Park - while not a big city, we have a lot of great places to eat!
seafox is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 11:13 AM
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I think I would base myself in Essex instead of Old Lyme. There is much more of a local village feel in Essex than Old Lyme. Old Lyme is lovely and has the Florence Griswold Museum but not much of a village. From Essex you can branch out to explore Chester, which is fantastic with great shops and restaurants. Connecticut is not known for it's beaches and they are not easy to access either.

There are a few options for theater:
The Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam
http://www.goodspeed.org/default.aspx

The Ivoryton Plahouse in Essex
http://www.ivorytonplayhouse.org/

Plenty of great hiking in and around Essex, I especially love Devil's Hopyard State Park.
odie1 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 09:16 PM
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If you are going to East Haddam, consider a look at Gillette Castle, the creation of the actor William Gillette, famous for portraying Sherlock Holmes.

http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?A=2716&Q=325204

You can take a ride on a steam train, too.

http://www.essexsteamtrain.com/gillette.html
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