Though not a large state, Connecticut has many miles of scenic coastline that’s just perfect for a daytrip or an overnight stay. From the northern suburbs of New York City to the Rhode Island State Line, there are coastal towns and villages, a maritime museum and one of the world’s most famous universities.
The Merritt Parkway
I first stumbled onto this interesting piece of road when I got lost in southern New York as I was trying to make my way up the coast to Cape Cod. Once I got my bearings, I noticed the detailed architectural design features on one of the over thirty bridges that cross over the parkway. As I drove on, I also noticed that no two bridges had the same theme. When I got home from my trip, I did a little research and found the parkway and bridges were part of the Works Progress Administration back in the thirties that was established to help get the country out of the Great Depression. It’s a little hard to imagine a highway as a work of art but this one truly is.
Toward the northern terminus of the Merritt Parkway, New Haven is a busy industrial shipping center that just happens to be home to Yale University. It’s fun to stroll the campus that has spawned Presidents and the intellectual heavyweights that continue to shape the world. The Yale University Art Gallery recently completed a decade long expansion has a great collection of paintings as well as sculpture and artifacts from around the world.
Downtown New Haven also has its share of great pubs and restaurants where you might rub shoulders with a future world leader.
Old Saybrook and Old Lyme
These two small towns are on opposing sides of the Connecticut River where it empties into Long Island Sound. Both have beaches and great views of the sound as well as protected marshlands. Both towns also have many well restored examples of Federal and Colonial architecture. In Old Lyme, the Florence Griswold Museum features the works of America’s first impressionists painters.
If you’re interested in what New England’s seafaring culture was like back when the country was just getting established then a stop at Mystic Seaport should be part of your itinerary. You can take a tour of the seaport that’s filled with period tall ships and take a gander at all kinds of marine animals at the Mystic Aquarium.
Downtown is also home to Mystic Pizza that was immortalized in the film of the same name and there are several pubs and restaurants that serve up delicious seafood.