Off The Beaten Path | Connecticut
Connecticut is a state filled with historic and exciting sights. Throughout the Constitution State, visitors will be able to find plenty of outdoor adventure, not to mention the historical sights and activities.
Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam
Located on 184 acres in the southern region of the state. The estate is located along the Connecticut River and visitors will be delighted with the amazing medieval castle on the estate. The castle was built by the notable actor William Hooker Gillette, best known for his performance as the original Sherlock Holmes. The mansion, which on the outside resembles a medieval castle, was built from the local stone. The interior is filled with unique and amazing woodwork created by the local craftsmen. Visitors will find that none of the many doors throughout the mansion are exactly alike, and there are even built in couches, a movable table on tracks and more.
Mystic is a delightful town with many attractions to delight. The Aquarium and Institute for Exploration is a great spot to enjoy a close look at aquatic life, including rays, sea lions and even penguins. Another of Mystic's real treasures is the Mystic Seaport -- The Museum of America and the Sea. This is one of the nation's leading maritime museums. Visitors to the museum can explore historic ships, view stars in the planetarium, watch demonstrations of maritime trades and even see the working preservation shipyard.
Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill
The largest dinosaur track site in North America was discovered at this location. Visitors can see the displays of early Jurassic fossil tracks made 200 million years ago within the geodesic dome. After viewing the dinosaur tracks, visitors can enjoy over 200 miles of trails as well as a fantastic arboretum. The Dinosaur State Arboretum has more than 250 species of plants, including some living representatives of plant families that existed during the time of the dinosaurs.
The Hartford region of Connecticut has beautiful art and architecture. You can view windows created by Louis Tiffany at the Center Church. For a little more history combined with architecture you can take a tour of Mark Twain's home in Hartford. Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain lived in Hartford from 1874 to 1891, and the Mark Twain House is the location where Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer were created. For a little more excitement, or if you're just a car lover visit the Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs and watch the NASCAR auto racing on Fridays.
Visitors to the Litchfield region of Connecticut will find plenty of history and activities. For visitors in search of some outdoor recreation should be sure not to miss the Connecticut section of the Appalachian trail. There are over 51 miles of the trail that pass through the state. Hikers can also climb up Bear Mountain, near Salisbury, which is the tallest peak in Connecticut, where there are amazing panoramic views of the area.
Fans of Chamber music should be sure to visit the Music Mountain festival during the summer. This is the oldest continuing summer chamber music festival in the country. Music Mountain was founded in 1930 and is now in its 8th decade. Notable musicians come from around the world to participate in the festival. Music Mountain brings together professionals and amateurs to enjoy and educate on chamber music. Each season, the festival has a series of 16 concerts for everyone to enjoy. Visitors will also find that the property and buildings at Music Mountain are listed on the National Register of HIstoric Places. The centerpiece of Music Mountain is Gordon Hall, which is one of the best chamber music facilities in the country.
Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
For the visitors to Connecticut that want to enjoy the scenery, the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat is a great way to see the country in Connecticut. It is the only steam train and riverboat connection in the country. Passengers start their journey at the Essex Station, and board the vintage cars and authentic steam locomotive and enjoy a narrated trip to the Connecticut River. At Deep River Landing, passengers are taken to the Becky Thatcher Riverboat. Passengers on the riverboat enjoy a cruise along the Connecticut River, where they can see Gillette Castle and the Goodspeed Opera House. The riverboat then returns to Deep River Landing where passengers return to the train for their trip back to Essex Station.