Take Your Pick
Bridgeport, CT
If I Shoot at the Sun I May Hit a Star
Barnum Museum - Phineas Taylor "PT" Barnum (1810-1891), the Barnum part of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, was born in Bethel, CT just north of Bridgeport. This successful entertainer and showman, and one time mayor of Bridgeport, housed his world famous circus here in winters. It is also his final resting place. At the three story Barnum Museum you'll learn the history of the circus, see photos of General Tom Thumb (the smallest man in the world), view furniture from Barnum's mansion and see various artifacts from Barnum's life. And we can't forget about the mermaid.
Bristol, CT
Winding the Clocks
American Clock and Watch Museum - The American Clock and Watch Museum has one of the most fantastic collections of time pieces this sock monkey has ever seen. The time pieces range in years from the oldest clock, a 1680 English Lantern Clock, to a modern day "ET" movie clock. There are over 1,500 ticking, chiming, moving, cuckooing, lighting and ringing clocks and watches in every shape imaginable housed in this 1728 structure. It would be nearly impossible to walk through this museum and not be amazed at the craftsmanship and ingenuity of these timekeeping works of art.
Coventry, CT
Nathan Hale Homestead
Nathan Hale State Monument - The famous last words of American patriot and official Connecticut state hero Nathan Hale (1755-1776) were, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country". The Yale college graduate and Captain in the Continental Army volunteered to spy on the British in New York City during the American Revolution. Hale was considered to be part of George Washington's "Culper Ring" but he had very little training in espionage and was quickly discovered and subsequently hanged by the British. The Nathan Hale State Monument contains a marker near his birthplace and a homestead re-built by his father in 1776.
East Haddam, CT
Outside of Gillette Castle
Gillette Castle - Set high on the banks of the Connecticut River is a medieval style castle with a rugged exterior made of fieldstone. Built by William Hooker Gillette (1853-1937), an actor best known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, the twenty-four room Gillette Castle was completed in 1919. The interior features unique doors, secret passages, surveillance mirrors, furniture set on wheels and other creative odds and ends. The grounds contain a walking trail (formerly a path of a narrow gauge railroad), with archways, wooden trestles, and decorative gun turrets.
Groton, CT
World's First Submarine
USS Nautilus - The Submarine Force Library and Museum is the home of the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear submarine and the official state ship of Connecticut. The USS Nautilus was first launched in 1954 and unlike its diesel counterparts, could operate indefinitely without refueling. A tour of this historic ship makes you mind wander about spending months beneath the water's surface. The Submarine Force Museum is operated by the US Navy and also displays several other submarines, and tens of thousands of photos, artifacts and documents.
Groton, CT
Benedict Arnold Fought Here
Fort Griswold - Fort Griswold came under fire during the American Revolution, when British soldiers under the command of Benedict Arnold attacked on September 6, 1781. Fort Griswold held a strategic position defending the Thames River and its inland towns of New London and Norwich. On the site today is the 135 foot tall Groton Monument, an assortment of earthworks, and the Monument House Museum. Another New London landmark is the 1801 Old Town Mill which was originally built in 1650 and burned to the ground by those same British forces.
Hartford, CT
The Constitution State Capitol
State Capitol Building - Inside and out, the State Capitol Building of Connecticut is one of the most ornate statehouses in the nation. The Victorian Gothic structure was completed in 1878 and overlooks the lush 40 acre Bushnell Park. Multiple spires and a 257 foot tall gold-leaf dome surrounded by 12 statues top the granite and marble exterior. The interior floors are inlaid with marble and slate from Connecticut combined multi-colored Italian marble. A statue of Nathan Hale surrounded by gold topped pillars shines in the abundant natural light that flows through the glass ceiling.
Hartford, CT
Where the Mark Twain Magic Happened
Mark Twain House - Samuel Clemens or as we know him, Mark Twain (1835-1910), moved to Hartford from Hannibal, MO in 1874 and lived here until 1891. He penned his best known works in the house including, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", "Life on the Mississippi" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". The 19 room, Victorian-style, Mark Twain House is open for tours where you can glimpse the Billiards Room where Twain did his writing, see interior decor designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, and view the beautifully carved bed where he slept. There are a variety of tours to choose from, each offering a personal look at one of the nation's most famed authors.
Hartford, CT
Author of Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe House - The anti-slavery novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) and first published in 1852. The book went on to become the bestselling novel of the 19th century and changed the nation's view on slavery. It is often seen as a catalyst to the Civil War. The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is where Stowe spent the last 23 years of her life. Inside it is apparent the world renowned author was also a gifted interior decorator and contains paintings, original artifacts and the author's own writing table.
Litchfield, CT
The First Law School in America
Tapping Reeve House - In 1784 Tapping Reeve (1744-1823) opened the first law school in America. At that time most students who wanted to become lawyers served as apprentices for practicing attorneys or where privately tutored. Tapping Reeve changed that by opening a school next to his house in Litchfield. Within 24 hours of the first law school in America opening, the first lawyer joke in America was created: What's the difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer? A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge.
Mystic, CT
Looking for Julia Roberts
Mystic Pizza - The restaurant Mystic Pizza has been in business since 1977, but came into national fame when the successful 1988 Julia Roberts film of the same name hit the big screen. After the movie release business boomed for the little pizza restaurant allowing them to expand their Mystic location and establish Mystic Pizza II in nearby North Stonington. At the restaurant are movie posters, a gift shop with dozens of Mystic Pizza items, and a neon sign across the back of the bar proclaiming "A Slice of Heaven". Oh I almost forgot, they have great pizza too.
Mystic, CT
Cool Seaside Town
Mystic Aquarium, Seaport and Olde Mystic Village - There are a lot of things to love about Mystic, the Mystic Aquarium, the Mystic Seaport and the Olde Mystick Village are just a few. The Mystic Aquarium has a great display of sea lions, whales, penguins and sharks amongst its nearly 4,000 marine animals. The Mystic Seaport is the world's largest living history museum containing 18th and 19th century buildings a fleet of historic ships (including the Charles W Morgan, the last wooden whaling ship to be made). Finally, take a leisurely stroll through Olde Mystick Village which has over 60 shops and restaurants where you can find just about anything.
New Haven, CT
Birthplace of the Hamburger
Louis' Lunch - In 1900 the first hamburger in the USA was created by Louis Lassen for a customer who needed a meal he could eat on-the-run. That hamburger was cooked on a vertical cast iron grill and served between two pieces of toast. That is exactly how hamburgers are still being made at Louis' Lunch today. The restaurant which was established in 1895 has been in the Lassen family for four generations. Housed in an extremely small red brick building, it is best to hit the restaurant around mid-afternoon when the crowds are smaller and you can sit at a booth. Enjoy!
New Haven, CT
Prestigious Yale University
Yale University - Yale University is a private university which was founded in 1701. The long list of distinguished alumni includes four Presidents (George W Bush, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford) and a string of Supreme Court Justices, Governors and Senators. Even if you don't attend the university, there are plenty of things to see as a visitor including the Center for British Art, Yale University Art Gallery and the Peabody Museum of Natural History. Each museum holds a vast treasure of art and artifacts - and the architecture of the entire university is worth an extended walking tour.
Norwich, CT
Museum in a Castle
Slater Memorial Museum - The Slater Memorial Museum is housed in an 1888, three story Romanesque-style red brick castle with a fantastic lookout tower. The museum displays a great cross-section of artifacts from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. The highlights of the museum are the over 150 plaster casts of Egyptian, Classical, Renaissance sculptures including Amenhotep III The Magnificent, The Discus-Thrower, Portrait of Socrates and David.
Old Lyme, CT
Art of Old Lyme
Florence Griswold Museum - Housed in an 1817 mansion, amongst the quant Inns of Old Lyme, is the renowned Florence Griswold Museum. The museum houses one of the finest collections of 18th, 19th and 20th American Impressionism art works in the nation. The spacious 10,000 square feet of exhibition space is gracefully filled with delightful paintings, sculptures and drawings. The Florence Griswold home is a former boarding school for Impressionist artists who not only used a canvas, but freely used the doors and walls of the house, to create their works of art.
Rocky Hill, CT
Jurassic Footprints
Dinosaur State Park - Over 200 million years ago during the Jurassic period, this area was a lush forest where dinosaurs foraged for their dinners. As the large reptiles roamed around they left hundreds of imprints on the forest floor. For millions of years these tracks laid buried and then on August 23, 1966 they were exposed by a bulldozer while excavating the site for a state building. At the site today, under a giant geodesic dome, is one of the largest dinosaur track sites in the USA, containing over 500 distinct imprints. Outside the dome are hundreds of plants (many from the Jurassic period) and miles of walking trails.
Stonington, CT
Old Light of Stonington
Old Lighthouse Museum - Originally built in 1823, the Stonington Harbor Lighthouse guided vessels for 17 years, until erosion forced it to be torn down. The materials from the original lighthouse were then used to create the current keeper's house and 30 foot tower in 1840. The "new" lighthouse operated until 1899. The Old Lighthouse Museum began operations in the structure in 1927 and features six rooms of exhibits displaying period furniture, fishing artifacts and portraits of early residents. It's a tight squeeze to the reach the top of the tower, but it's only 30 feet up.
Waterbury, CT
It Takes a Licking....
Timexpo Museum - The Timexpo Museum chronicles the history of the Waterbury Clock Company and its transformation into the Timex Group. The Waterbury Clock Company was founded in 1854 and targeted middle-income families with its mass-produced, yet elegant time pieces. Timex, the watch built on the slogan "it takes a licking and keeps on ticking" transformed the clock company into wrist watches. The museum is housed in an old three story brass mill building and contains hundreds of beautifully restored timepieces. You can even watch craftsman as they restore the works for time-keeping art or travel back in time through a "time tunnel" to see ancient wonders.
Wilton, CT
The Weir House Farm and Studio
Weir Farm National Historic Site - The Weir Farm was purchased by American impressionist painter Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919) in 1882. Weir was at the forefront of American Impressionism and used the surrounding area as an inspiration for many of his works. In his paintings you will find buildings, woodlands, stone walls, paths and fields from this 110 acre farm. The Weir Farm National Historic Site was handed down for three generations of the Weir family and has been in continuous use by artists since it was first purchased by Alden Weir.