This market is one of many that has a Whole Foods chain that started with a small store in the year 1980 and today it has spread through North America and the UK. It has 270 stores and are leaders in natural and organic foods,with the highest quality, without added preservatives or colorings. Going in one of these markets is a great experience and the one in Greenwich that combines perfectly with an environment full of nature. The disposition of the merchandise is made with such taste that it invites photography. I could not resist smelling a melon and giving it a light tap with my finger to return the sound to indicate their degree of maturation. If you go through any of these places, but they will not buy, I recommend you come and give some relaxation to your senses.
The other day, I visited the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe in Hartford, Connecticut. Harriet Beecher Stowe is best known for writing Uncle Tom's Cabin, the most popular book of the eighteenth century after the Bible. She was the daughter of a Calvinist minister and a passionate abolitionist who counted Sojourner Truth among her close friends. The house is located in Farm Nook on a bend along the riverbank. We signed up for a guided tour ($9 per adult) and, while we waited, watched a film about the history of slavery in the United States and the meeting between Harriet Beecher Stowe and President Lincoln, who greeted her by saying, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war." He was talking, of course, about the civil war which was sparked by the government's desire to end slavery. Although the book was hugely popular and resulted in the creation of lots of merchandise, Harriet never saw much money and continued on to write more than 20 different novels.
We started our walking tour through the garden, which was dear to Harriet. Today there is still a large variety of flowers and plants, but we visited in mid-summer and most of the plants had died in the heat. I think early May would be the best time to really enjoy the beauty of the garden. We entered the gray house through a large porch. Upon entering, we were surprised by the dark woods, the jewel tones of the carpets and variety of wallpapers. The first room we visited was the writing room with the desk still standing there. We also saw some of her sketches and still life paintings.
We continued the visit with another small room with a piano and a large window that let in the sun from the garden. It was very quiet and the guide drew our attention to listen to the piano music playing softly in the background (the scores were actually composed by Mrs. Beecher Stowe herself). On the second floor are the bedrooms. Harriet Beecher Stowe had twin daughters, Hattie (a nickname for Harriet) and Eliza. The girls shared a room with two single beds and a very small closet to hold all their Victorian dresses. On a table were various silver tools, including a large brush to clean the dust from clothes, a hook to tie all the ribbons and buttons on their boots and clothes pins.
We went downstairs to see the large kitchen. Harriet Beecher Stowe was a devoted housewife. She wrote books on how to organize a kitchen more efficiently. In fact, her advice is still used in high school classes in the United States.
We loved the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, and Cherie, our guide, was a fantastic help in explaining the history of the house and its residents. It was a fascinating experience, and I highly recommend it.
After taking an exit off the Connecticut Turnpike (Route 95), you'll find yourself in this beautiful little natural park that's still relatively unknown to tourists but popular among locals.
It has an extensive beach that's lined by a railroad. The only things that breaks the silence are the rolling waves and the cries of the seagulls. It's a wonderful place to relax and watch the sunset over the shimmering water.
This eastern Connecticut attraction is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The Coventry Farmers’ Market is the largest in the state and one of the best in New England, bringing together artisans; growers of local produce; and makers of cheese, bread, and practically every other kind of food and drink you could want. There are also food trucks, animals, and entertainment.
The market moves indoors in the winter, but on Sundays from June to October, it takes over the spacious grounds of the home built by the family of Connecticut’s State Hero, Revolutionary War spy Nathan Hale. References to Hale’s short life and bravery in death can be found all over the state, but touring the Homestead is a quick and entertaining introduction to the domestic customs of his time.
And while you’re there, don’t miss the low-key antique stores and historic buildings of downtown Coventry. (That’s CAH-ven-try, by the way!)
Saybrook is a small town in Connecticut ... about 2 hours from New York. It's a real stereotype of an American suburban town, a charming place where it's great to walk when the weather permits. I took my friend's boat around the bay. A great place to visit in summer!
The Mystic Aquarium is a favorite among school children and parents alike. At Mystic Aquarium you can see penguins or get your hands wet in the touching tanks or discover labs. There is even a coral reef teeming with reef fish, seahorses, and turtles. From the sea lion shows to the shark and stingray feeding times, visiting the Mystic Aquarium could take up your entire day. For longer trips, the Mystic Aquarium offers summer camps, family overnights, and weekend programs. I've never seen a kid not have the best time at the Mystic Aquarium.
The Niantic Bay Boardwalk is a free waterfront walkway on a portion of the Niantic shoreline. Free parking for the boardwalk can be found near the bridge that connects Niantic to Waterford. During the summer months the boardwalk is almost always full of people walking or running. From the boardwalk you can also walk along the sandy beach or take a dip in the Long Island Sound to cool off. There is no lifeguard on duty at this beach so be sure to be careful and avoid the water if there are any riptides or strong currents. After a bad storm that damaged the boardwalk a few years ago, much of the boardwalk has been rebuilt and is better than ever.
The Old Lighthouse Museum in Stonington tells the story of this small seafaring community throughout the centuries. The stone lighthouse was the first in the United States to be established by the federal government. Inside are preserved artifacts of daily life, work, and momentous events, such as the War of 1812 battle in which determined townspeople managed to hold off the Royal Navy. Visitors can also climb the spiral staircase to the top for a panoramic view of the town and of Fishers Island Sound, where the watery borders of Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island meet.
But the best thing about this museum may be its location. Situated at the tip of the mile-long peninsula that is Stonington Borough, the lighthouse is the perfect starting place to explore a place that could easily vie for the title of Connecticut’s most charming setting. From the houses and streets, changed little since the 18th and 19th centuries, to the docks, home to the state’s last commercial fishing fleet, every square inch of this little borough is delightful.
Connecticut is home to many beautiful wineries, but for a wine-tasting spot with jaw-droppingly gorgeous scenery, you can’t beat Hopkins Vineyard on Lake Waramaug in New Preston.
Approaching the vineyard in the picture-perfect Litchfield Hills, you pass the lake, sparkling blue and ringed with summer cottages and a state park. Then you arrive at the vineyard, a rustic red barn atop a hill where you can taste the whites, reds, and sparkling wines made from 11 varieties of grape. Wines, accessories, and gourmet foods can be purchased in the gift shop. Visitors are free to wander and picnic in the vineyard, and guided tours explaining the wine-making process are also available.
A bit of Connecticut history is included in the experience as well: the Hopkins family, descended from a passenger on the Mayflower, have owned and farmed this land since 1787.
Lebanon Green is a building block in thi early New England town. On this communally owned, central patch of land, town residents would graze their animals, hold military drills, and gather at the meetinghouse and marketplace.
In Connecticut, there are over 170 town greens, but to feel transported back to Colonial days, head to the green at the center of the rural town of Lebanon. This mile-long pasture, where you might spot wildflowers, horseback riders, and musket-toting men in tricorn hats, is also one of the best places to learn about Connecticut’s Revolutionary history.
The venerable buildings around the green are the Historical Society Museum and Visitor Center, the Governor Jonathan Trumbull House & Wadsworth Stable, the Jonathan Trumbull Junior House Museum, and the War Office. Each of them tell part of the story of how Connecticut’s people and resources helped win American independence.
But Lebanon isn’t simply a museum piece; in summer and fall months, a farmers’ market livens up the town green with regional goods, produce, and music.
The mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is Connecticut’s official state flower. And though they can be found all over the state, the best place to see the delicate pastel blossoms up close and in great numbers is the Nipmuck State Forest in Union.
Reaching Connecticut’s second oldest state forest, located within its least populous town, can be a bit of a (gorgeous) trek. But once you arrive at the Laurel Sanctuary you’ll wonder why more people aren't flocking to this peaceful hideaway.
Pale pink and white laurels line a seemingly endless path. Drive from one end to the other, as green leaves form an arch above you, or find a picnic table and simply sit with the flowers. You’ll quickly see why state lawmakers in 1907 named this particular flower to represent the state. You’ll also feel lucky to have experienced a Connecticut gem that few travelers bother to seek out.
Ideally, Connecticut’s diverse capital city deserves at least a few days of exploration. But for travelers with less time, a visit to the visually striking Bushnell Park (the oldest publicly funded park in the United States) can give a good sense of Hartford’s beauty, history, politics, and ongoing revitalization.
At one end of the park stands the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch. Looking like something out of a fairy tale, this monument spanned a bridge across the Park River until the 1940s, when the water was diverted underground.
Gracefully landscaped paths take you past attractions like the Corning Fountain, which depicts the Saukiog Indians who first inhabited the area; the Pump House, an active element in river flood control and a public art gallery; and the 100 year old Carousel.
Looming grandly over it all is the ornate State Capitol building, the only High Victorian Gothic-style state house in the country.
Depending on when you go, there may be a public event or performance in Bushnell Park, which functions as a community gathering spot as well as a leafy respite for office workers on their lunch hours.