Fall in Connecticut © Peter Rintels
Connecticut embodies quintessential New England, with a long history of patriotism, ingenuity and industry. One of the original 13 colonies of the United States, Connecticut was established by English Puritans who left the Massachusetts colony in the 1630s. Today, their influence can still be seen in the colonial villages that dot the countryside, complete with town greens, picturesque white-steeple churches, and the well-preserved landmarks of the American Revolution.
But Connecticut is not without sophistication. Its proximity to New York City has led many to jokingly label it a 'suburb' of that metropolis rather than a state in its own right. An ever-increasing number of people are abandoning the concrete jungle and its high taxes for family homes in upscale, idyllic Connecticut, although the mass daily commute into the city makes travelling by highway or train during rush hour rather undesirable for tourists. For visitors, Connecticut is about enjoying a culture that places high value on the arts, fine dining, entertainment and a thriving corporate life, while at the same time stressing those quaint features that differentiate it from the big city nearby.
Connecticut boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in New England. The serenity of the Connecticut River Valley, which divides the state in half, is difficult to match, particularly in the south, where the state's shipbuilding tradition is celebrated in countless museums, where historic inns abound, and where spotting scull and crew teams training on the river at sunrise is an everyday event. The Mystic shoreline in the east offers a taste of seafaring history, with its restored seaport, and the United States Coast Guard Academy just down the coast in New London. New Haven is the home of Yale University, one of the United States' most prestigious Ivy League institutions, with magnificent architecture dating back to the early 1700s. In the northwest, the rolling Litchfield Hills are full of hiking and biking trails, quaint towns and antique shops. Visitors flock here from across the country in autumn to glimpse the legendary fall foliage.