Connecticut, the southernmost of the New England states, is easily accessible from both New York and Boston and also offers a charming New England feeling with a touch of big city feeling. Lush green city parks and sparkling blue Atlantic waters – plus lively cities, great cuisine and unbelievably cheap outlet shopping. From the expansive beaches that stretch around Long Island Sound, to the hustle and bustle of Yale and New Haven, to whaling history that can be experienced up close at the Mystic Seaport open-air museum.
Connecticut’s quiet villages, sedate demeanor and well-behaved residents epitomize the New England way of life. The two states are closely linked to one another by the bordering New York State to the south. With Yale University, Connecticut has a training ground for young academics.
For New England travelers who do not fly directly to Boston but arrive in New York, the routes usually lead through Connecticut. Once you have left the prosperous industrial belt behind you, what is most striking is how clean and tidy this state looks with its white churches, small shops and colorful wooden houses. New Haven was also initially just a romantic port city before it became known through the founding of the elite Yale University.
Location and size
According to timedictionary, Connecticut is located in the north-east of the USA on the Atlantic Ocean and is bordered by Massachusetts to the north, Long Island Sound to the south, Rhode Island to the east and New York to the west. New England’s largest river, the Connecticut River, flows through the state. The 14,357 km² state area is mostly covered by forest (more than 50%), otherwise hills, lakes and plains (including the coastal plain) characterize the country.
Connecticut is the third smallest state in the USA with around 3.5 million inhabitants. Almost 125,000 people live in the capital Hartford.
Numerous international airlines fly to Boston. You can choose to travel via New York or Montréal. Boston is 100 miles from the capital Hartford, 120 miles from New York and 330 miles from Montreal.
Connecticut has a temperate climate with mild winters and warm summers. The average temperature in July is 21°C and in January -3°C. Winters are warmer on the coast and summers are cooler than inland. In Norfolk in the north-west, the average temperature in July is 19°C and in January it is -6°C. In Bridgeport on the coast the average temperatures in July are 22°C and in January -1°C Average annual rainfall is 1170mm, evenly distributed throughout the year. The state receives between 25 to 60 inches of snow annually – with heavy snowfalls in the Northwest.
The best time to travel to New England in general is between May and October. The most spectacular, but also the most popular, is the time when the leaves change color between the end of September and the end of October.
In the Indian Summer it is important to be in the right place at the right time. To find out where that is, the Foliage Network, for example, offers information for all states. Maps regularly provide an up-to-date overview of the degree of discoloration. By the way: The term “Indian Summer” in English describes the warmer period in autumn, but the phenomenon of leaf discoloration is called “foliage” or “fall foliage”.
|Average temperatures in Hartford, Connecticut in °C|
|Average temperatures in Norfolk, Connecticut in °C|
VUSA Tips for Connecticut Visitors
On the Coast
Beautiful beaches, luxurious resorts, a selection of boutique shops, rental shops and fantastic seafood make these quaint towns an exciting holiday destination. The coast and its many attractions include places like Milford, Guilford, Essex, Mystic and more.
Located in the southeastern corner of Connecticut, Mystic Seaport is now known as an open-air museum. Over 60 buildings and more than 430 old ships combine to form a huge exhibition where the whaling days come to life anew every day. Residents in costumes vividly demonstrate life in the 19th century. They hammer and forge, weave, sew and cook like they did back then. The town’s library, all about seafaring history, is particularly impressive with over 500,000 manuscripts, nautical charts and logbooks. This is of course housed in proper style on a ship.
75 Greenmanville Ave. Mystic, CT 06355
It is not just an aquarium, but above all a scientific research institute dedicated to the study of the seas and their inhabitants. Its operator Robert Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic wreck, has dedicated himself not only to investigating legendary wrecks and treasures on the seabed, but also to saving the world’s oceans.
55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, CT 06355-1997
West of Mystic Seaport, the stretch of coast to the university town of New Haven is particularly idyllic. Here are small harbors with lobster fishermen, towns on estuaries have names that sound like old English tradition: Stonington and Old Saybrook, Old Lyme or Essex.
Art lovers will love Yale’s art galleries (featuring artworks by Manet, Picasso, Monet and van Gogh). Guided tours of the grounds of the elite Yale University are available. Incidentally, New Haven is also recognized as the most pioneering city for architecture and design in the United States.
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
New England’s longest river, the Connecticut River, is 400 miles long and meanders through a wide variety of terrain. A great experience is the 20 km long steam train ride with the nostalgic Essex Steam Train through an almost untouched river valley, which the US environmental organization Nature Conservancy has described as “one of the last pristine places on earth”.
One Railroad Avenue, Essex, CT 06426
The state capital is Hartford, where the dome of the State Capitol shines in the city centre. Hartford is best known for being the home of writer Mark Twain, who came to Connecticut from Missouri in 1874. At that time, the city was considered a publishing metropolis, which is why authors and numerous artists were drawn here.
The 1874 Mark Twain House in Hartford was the author’s home for 17 years. Here he wrote some of his most famous works – such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. Incidentally, Twain’s Gründerzeit mansion is also worth seeing for another reason: the exotic furnishings were designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The Mark Twain House , 351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105
Author Harriet Beecher Stowe, who became world famous with the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, also lived in Hartford for almost 40 years. Her home is in the late 19th century Victorian confectioner style. Inside, on the other hand, sober elegance reigns supreme, testifying to the author’s talent as an interior designer. Harriet Beecher Stowe, 77 Forest Street, Hartford, CT 06105
The fall colors here are simply breathtaking and it’s not for nothing that so many celebrities call this area home: picture-book villages, covered bridges and classic urban green spaces make Litchfield Hills a place to settle down. Stately mansions define Litchfield’s character, while Norfolk and Washington take you back to 19th-century village life; meanwhile, lovely Kent seduces with boutiques and galleries around every corner.