Connecticut Trips – New England Weekend Getaways

“Wait, Connecticut is in New England?” It’s not an uncommon query. The Nutmeg State is more often grouped in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut “tri-state area,” thanks to its proximity to the Big Apple. Residents of Greenwich and Westport have been known to say they’re from New York, while those living in the state’s “quiet corner” relate better to Massachusetts’ Blackstone Valley. This split personality means Connecticut gets short shrift from tourists—which is just fine by savvy travelers, who’d rather protect the natural resources of their favorite place.

[sidebar]From New Haven’s urban streetscapes to Litchfield County’s soft hills to Mystic’s kitschy maritime shops, the state is a melting pot of historical, culinary, and family-friendly activities. In one day, visitors can chat up fishermen on Long Island Sound, imbibe at an award-winning winery on the Connecticut River, and visit a working farm near Hartford. (Or, they can avoid the light of day in one of the world’s largest casinos.) Like many northeasterners, locals can come off as guarded—it’s no surprise the revolver was born here—but, trust us, they’ll warm up over a burger and a homebrewed pint. All of which confirms the fact that Connecticut is, indeed, firmly rooted in New England.

A Weekend In: New Haven
It’s always had Yale, but this once-gritty city has long battled a tough reputation. Now, the emerging Chapel Street District is helping give the town a fresh new character.

Money Pits: MGM Grand at Foxwoods vs. Mohegan Sun
Connecticut gaming got a big boost last year, thanks to the new MGM Grand at Foxwoods and a makeover at Mohegan Sun. Now that the buzz has quieted, Tina Cassidy stacks up the two mega-casinos.

Best Bets: Connecticut Farmers’ Markets
Connecticut’s farmers’ markets offer travelers a tasty—and cheap—excuse for a locavore detour.

New England’s Best Small Towns: Essex, CT
Because… sometimes the river trumps the sea. Underrated and therefore blessedly uncrowded, Essex’s central village juts into the Connecticut River some eight miles north of Long Island Sound.

New England’s Best Small Towns: Putnam, CT
Because… a piece of history can be yours for the haggling. Putnam’s pretty downtown hosts a wealth of shops, such as Vintage to Vogue (art deco furniture), Wonderland Comics (vintage X-Men!), and the 40-dealer-strong Jeremiah’s (dishes, dishes, dishes). All that pales, though, in comparison with the Antiques Marketplace.

New England’s Best Small Towns: Sharon, CT
Because… it’s like a movie set (with actual movie stars)! With no downtown to speak of, Sharonites must hit the post office to meet and greet their neighbors—but, oh, what neighbors. Campbell Scott, Michael J. Fox, and Kevin Bacon are among the homeowners in this Litchfield Hills enclave.

Summer Escapes! 2009: The Great(est) Lakes: Lake Waramaug: The Classic
Waramaug sits smack-dab in the middle of Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, one of the most achingly New England areas of New England, with white church steeples and “Washington slept here” signs on every country corner.

Taste of the State
Our top culinary delight in Connecticut. The Real Burker King.