When people think of a vacation, they go from excitement to a smile to a frown in the space of usually five minutes. Much of that comes from hot days of summer, crowded lines waiting, and muggy stale air, none of which are what people would like to experience on a hard-earned vacation. So, it only stands to reason to try Connecticut as a great diversion away from the crowds.
Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge
The Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge in Connecticut is a charming and historic landmark. This former iron bridge, transformed into a picturesque garden, showcases a vibrant array of flowers, plants, and greenery. The bridge’s unique concept merges engineering with horticulture, creating a delightful experience for visitors as they stroll through a blossoming pathway that spans the Farmington River. The Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge is not only a beautiful sight to behold but also a testament to creative repurposing, making it a must-visit attraction for nature and history enthusiasts alike.
Gillette Castle State Park
Situated on a hilltop in East Haddam, Gillette Castle State Park is perfect for capturing views of the wider region and getting to tour an actual castle on American soil. The original designer and builder was William Gillette. Similar to what people see in the movies and expect in a fancy castle, the state park facility comes with solid wood doors that are hand-carved, and it even boasts some middle-style turrets for lookouts.
Talcott Mountain State Park
For the outdoors type, Talcott Mountain is a go-to destination. Big, spanning views of the region, a portfolio of prime hiking trails, and also blessed with its own Heublein Tower, Talcott Mountain definitely stands out for a day trip or a must-see for out-of-towners.
The hike to the tower itself is a mild but good workout as well, which is perfect after a big breakfast. The Park itself is located to the northwest of Hartford and basically located next to Avon, at least in terms of foot-walking distance. That makes it easy for visitors to grab a hotel nearby in Avon, take in the local sites, and then make an excursion out to the Park on the same visit.
The P.T. Barnum Museum
“There’s a sucker born every minute,” which was the famous circus owner’s most notable quote. However, for visitors to Bridgeport today, they get to enjoy a historical and entertaining visit to the P.T. Barnum Museum instead of being fooled by a grifter.
A politician, hoaxster, circus operator, and showman, P.T. Barnum etched his name into history with his impression on average American life, providing a popular channel for entertainment long before the television ever showed up. P.T. Barnum passed in 1893. Since that time, the Museum has been home to the record of Barnum’s exploits, as well one of the biggest collections his circus years, notably Barnum & Bailey’s Biggest Show on Earth.
Submarine Force Museum
Of course, not everyone is into books. That’s why the Submarine Force Museum is a good alternative. Home to the U.S. first nuclear submarine, as well as plenty of other naval history, the Museum covers a great amount of naval history back to 1776, and the best part is that admission and parking are free!
The Philip Johnson Glass House
There is always one architect in the group, and that’s who the Philip Johnson Glass House is for. This odd, see-through home was designed by a famous architect of the same name and is now a historic heritage site. The Glass House is actually part of 14 different buildings on a 49-acre plot, reflecting multiple architectural styles and influences on the environment.
Stonington Lighthouse Museum
There have been plenty of lighthouses along the Eastern Seaboard, but the Stonington Lighthouse was the first to become historical as a museum. Dating back to the War of 1812 with its museum collection, the feature today overlooks Long Island Sound and at least three other states.
Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market
No trip should happen without bringing something back. So, the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market is a perfect stop for local oddities, antique, crafts, used items and even surprise treasures. Set up every Sunday running from April to the end of the year, it’s a local favorite worth checking out.
The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
If you’re a bookworm, then you need to make a point of getting over the New Haven. There, you’re going to find a local Connecticut literary secret in the form of Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, a repository of ancient history itself. The Library is home to amazingly old maps, books, printed paraphernalia and even an original Gutenberg Bible (yes the same from the Gutenberg Press of the Middle Ages). The Library itself is not that old, established in 1962, but it has been extensively involved in the collection of historical manuscripts and books.
The Vintage Radio and Communication Museum
For something different, the Connecticut repository for all things about radio history is worth a drop-in, especially if you want to teach younger generations about tech that was around before computers ever came into existence on their cell phones.
So, if you want to dodge the crowds, these 6 ideas are a great way to get started as well as see an amazing side of Connecticut.