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Your Connecticut Travel and Vacation Guide
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Gillette Castle photo

Gillette Castle, East Haddam, Conn.. (photo by Eric H.)

Editor's note: is comprised of

native New England professional travel writers who give you the "inside scoop" on making the most of your Connecticut vacations.  As lifelong New Englanders, we write about the best Connecticut travel tourist attractions, well-known and hidden destinations, and some truly amazing restaurants with a regional flair.  Ultimately, we give you perspectives and information on Connecticut travel that can't be found anywhere else. Because we are paying travelers looking ourselves for the best in Connecticut vacations, we pass along the best trip planning information to you -- as if we were planning our own New England vacation. Ultimately, we focus more on providing you "pure" Connecticut travel information rather than marketing hype. Enjoy the travel essays and tips on things to do, en route to your Connecticut vacation!

Best regards,

The travel essays team

Quaint, quiet unspoiled towns and great coastline highlight Connecticut

by Eric H.    

If you are looking to visit small, unspoiled New England towns with tall white steeples, village greens, quaint inns and interesting little shops, Connecticut answers your wishes. Although Connecticut has some major urban areas like Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport, the majority of the state is largely untouched from the beautiful northwestern Litchfield Hills to the northeast's trip back in time "Quiet Corner" where old-fashioned Putnam offers some of the best antique shopping in New England and surrounding towns have unparalelled pastoral beauty with scenic rolling hills, farmland and a fresh air aura that will force you to relax. Connecticut also has some wonderful coastal towns (or nearby coastal towns) like Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Guilford, Mystic (with great shopping, an aquarium and a wonderful New England seaside flavor) Madison and Westport that are ripe for enjoying and exploring -- they are the quintessentital New England towns with oceanside personality and some great nearby beaches and state parks. Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison offers two miles of sandy beaches, a pleasant boardwalk and great ocean swimming overlooking Long Island Sound.

Without a doubt, the most charming town in Connecticut is Stonington, on the coast near the Rhode Island border. Stonington, Conn., is a classic New England seaside community with an impossibly beautiful, picturesque harbor, interesting little shops, crooked, narrow streets, great seafood restaurants and a solitude that makes you feel like your miles away from everything --especially from the back of the center overlooking the harbor. Late in the day, the streets are virtually empty which allows residents and visitors to feel totally at peace. It's just you, the fresh ocean air and a few birds chirping.

Essex is another great vacation destination, although there's no blatant tourist feel to the town. This harborside town is so pleasant with a tree lined downtown, great little shops, and a beautiful park with gazebo and picnic benches leading to the Connecticut River. Once you visit, you'll never want to leave this special little place that is so much at peace with the world. Staying overnight is not a bad idea as the old, creaky and quintessentially New England Griswold Inn offers well-known top notch accomodations and dining. What a special place --Essex has to be experienced by anyone visiting New England.

Hartford, the state capitol, is worth visiting for lovely 41 acre Bushnell Park, a great several acre nicely landscaped area in the heart of the city featuring 600 trees, some over 100 years old and 125 varieties. The park also contains several buildings, statues and monuments. . Hartford is making a nice comeback with lots of nice places to eat, retail returning in bunches, a growing nightlife and a safer feel than in previous years. It feels more like a complete city, instead of a smattering of big city amenities here and there. Hartford also features some of the lushest, green suburban communities in the northeast as evidenced in West Hartford, Farmington and Avon.

We encourage you to make your Connecticut trip planning through our Connecticut vacation and travel ideas. At Visiting New, native New Englanders bring you the best in New England vacation planning and travel information with detailed essays, reviews, tips on things to do and resources. We hope you enjoy browsing our Connecticut vacation and travel ideas library and hope to see you travel New England soon. Please feel free to e-mail us with any questions, or sign our guestbook.


Connecticut Destinations - Great Towns and Cities

Connecticut's best travel destinations

Hidden, less-traveled Connecticut destinations

Antique shopping never grows old in Putnam, CT.

Downtown Mystic, CT, offers a friendly small-town, family-oriented coastal destination

Stonington Borough, Conn., is an authentic, unspoiled New England coastal community

Stonington is the great little village that nobody knows about.

Essex, Conn., has true small town New England curb appeal.

Noank is a tiny coastal village that time forgot (from's Great New England Photo Travel Tour Blog).

Photo travel essay of Brooklyn, Conn. (from's Great New England Photo Ttravel Tour Blog).

Photo travel essay of Guilford, Conn.

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Connecticut Attractions and Shopping

Visiting the historic Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, Conn.

Read our New England vacation attractions page for the best things to do in Connecticut

The Christmas Barn in Woodstock is one gifted store (from's Shop Local, Buy Local New England Blog).

Gillette Castle offers stunning architectural design and sweeping river views in south central Connecticut.

Mark Twain's Connecticut

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Connecticut Dining/Food

Fisherman Restaurant, Noank, Conn., specializes in fresh, locally-caught seafood.

Amazing water views and delicious lobster at Abbott's Lobster in the Rough, Noank, Conn.

Mystic Pizza restaurant in Mystic, Conn., favors hometown over Hollywood.

O'Live A Little Bakery in Noank specializes in baked good and olive oils from around the world (from's Shop Local, Buy Local New England Blog).

The Traveler Restaurant in Union, CT., serves delicious, family-style breakfast, lunch and dinner and allows customers to take home a free book from its extensive library-like collection.

Connecticut restaurants with water views

The Vernon Diner brings diner food to a high level

The Vanilla Bean Cafe is anything but vanilla.

Noah's, of Stonington, brings out the best in "made-from-scratch" food.

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Connecticut Hotels

Find hundreds of Connecticut Hotels at discount rates -- book online through

The Inn at Woodstock Hill makes for a wonderful Connecticut vacation destination.

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Budget Connecticut Travel Ideas from The Thrifty New England Traveler

Pez Candy Visitor Center, Orange, Conn.

Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream, Mystic, Conn.

Huge savings when dining out in Mystic, Conn.

Mystic, Conn., farmers markets

Follwing the Connecticut Wine Trail

Connecticut Calendar

Check the New England calendar of events section for key Connecticut events and news

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Connecticut Trip Planning Support

Have a question about visiting Connecticut? Ask the experts for all your Connecticut trip planning needs!

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Connecticut Travel Archives/Past Press Releases

Fun things to do in Connecticut 2006

AT THE CREATION: CONNECTICUT GIVES BIRTH TO WORLD-CLASS PERFORMING ARTS--New Plays, Musicals, Dance and Poetry Fuel a Vibrant, Cutting Edge Cultural Scene

Stop, smell the roses and welcome spring in Connecticut

Hartford's growing restaurant scene ( "advertorial')

Connecticut is a great New England vacation choice for fall foliage, "awash in color from mountain top to shoreline."

"Leaf Peeping" and Fall Festivals in Mystic Country

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