Connecticut’s State Capitol opened to great fanfare in 1878 and remains a marvel of Victorian architecture, with its stately marble facade and impressive gold dome. The original red brick capitol, the Old State House, dates back to 1796, making it one of the oldest legislatures in the United States. Both buildings are open for tours.
Old Wethersfield is the largest historic district in Connecticut with more than 100 pre-Civil-War and 50 pre-Revolution homes. The Webb Deane Stevens Museum operates a number of these historic homes as museums recreating and presenting life in 18th and 19th century America. Guided tours are available. Be sure to stop at the picturesque Wethersfield Cove at the end of Main St.
Hartford has been home to some of America’s most cherished authors and literature fans make frequent pilgrimages here to see how they lived and worked. Mark Twain House and Museum is the house where Twain lived from 1874-91, when he wrote his most famous books, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Nearby is the Harriet Beech Stowe House, where Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Over in West Hartford, visit Noah Webster House, the birthplace of the man who wrote the first American Dictionary. The house is most interesting for a look at life in mid-18th century America.
Activities throughout the year, all over New England, with bears of Hartford. See dates online.
Connecticut has a long tradition of great theatre, in part owing to its proximity to New York City. Hartford Stage is a Tony-winning theatre that runs a full season of original productions and touring Broadway shows. The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts houses the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Connecticut Opera and hosts touring Broadway musicals and popular comedians. For more intimate shows, check out Theatre Works, a smaller theatre where off-Broadway and original shows are presented in a classic art deco building.
America’s first public art museum is more than just a curiosity. The Wadsworth Atheneum is a powerhouse of modern museums. It was the first to collect and exhibit American art, and the first museum to purchase and exhibit art by the Surrealists. From its humble beginnings in 1842, its collection has swelled to more than 50,000 works of art, with extensive collections of American and contemporary art, plus galleries devoted to decorative art, costumes and textiles, European art, and even a collection of Colt firearms and other weapons.