Connecticut, the small New England state is known as the Constitution State, with a history dating back to colonial days.
Bordered by Long Island Sound to the south, New York State to the west, Massachusetts to the north, and Rhode Island to the east, Connecticut is diverse. Beaches give way to mountains and rolling farmland. Industrial cities contrast with charming towns, clustered around a green and often featuring a small white church, town hall, tavern and old colonial houses.
There are five regions. Fairfield County is in the southwest, near New York City. Greater New Haven has Connecticut’s longest shoreline beach – Hammonasset Beach State Park – as well as Yale University.
Litchfield Hills, in the northwest, is rural, popular with second homers and, in the autumn, “leaf peepers” who are drawn to the colourful fall foliage.
Mystic Country has eight lighthouses, 19 state parks and 13 public beaches and two of the largest casinos in the world: Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun.
Finally, River Valley is located along the Connecticut River. The state capital, Hartford, is just a two-hour drive from New York or Boston. Connecticut flights land at Bradley International, minutes from the capital.
Although a New England state, Connecticut’s weather is relatively mild. Hartford may occasionally go above 32 degrees (Celsius) in the summer), and even more rarely goes to zero or below in winter. The northwestern hills can be as much as ten degrees cooler than the central valley.Temperatures in January are usually in the minus figures, gradually climbing to the mid-teens in April and upper 20s by June. July and August see the mid-20s and then the weather starts to cool in September.
Summer is high season for most attractions when visitors have the most options, and the most crowds, especially along the shore.
July and August, and weekends from May to Columbus Day are packed with tourists in Mystic and the Southeastern coast. Along with the crowds, attractions and restaurants are packed and Connecticut flights and rooms need to be booked months in advance.
Many attractions close in the winter, but autumn and spring are excellent times to visit — autumn for the changing leaves and spring for the gardens and town greens in bloom. Several of the attractions that close in the winter reopen in April or May.
The third-smallest state (145km (90 miles) wide and 88km (55 miles) from top to bottom) is well connected by major roads. With several interstates you have ample access to all parts of the state from the Long Island shoreline north and northeast of Hartford. For more scenic routes through the state, try as the Merritt Parkway, US 7, and Route 8.
Rail service connects New London and New Haven, Stamford and stops along the way to Waterbury, and Hartford. Several bus lines provide transportation throughout the state, and ferries take travelers along the waterways.