Connecticut has a rich history, a commitment to the arts, and abundant natural beauty?all of which are easily accessible in this compact state, which measures 60 miles from north to south and some 90 miles across.
The legacy of the past begins at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, where hundreds of dinosaur tracks some 200 million years old may be examined. American Indian life and the early days of the white man are documented in museums around the state. Nearly a dozen well-preserved 17th-century buildings are open to the public.
The dynamic 18th century is memorialized in significant sites in virtually every part of the state. A few of these include the Wethersfield house, where Washington planned Revolutionary War strategy; the West Hartford farmhouse and birth place of Noah Webster; the New London and East Haddam schoolhouses, where patriot Nathan Hale taught; and the Old State House in Hartford, the oldest in the nation.
Every year thousands visit the elaborate Victorian mansion of Mark Twain, in Hartford. Next door is the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Grounds at Audubon Center, Greenwich; and Gillette Castle, Hadlyme; have hiking trails.
Mystic Seaport, one of the country's best maritime history museums, encompasses 19th-century houses and waterfront buildings and scores of ships and boats, including the 100-year-old square-rigger Joseph Conrad, and America's last wooden whaling ship, the Charles W. Morgan.
History comes alive in the summer cruises from Mystic aboard the schooner Argia and the 1908 steamboat Sabino. The schooners Mystic Clipper, Mystic Whaler, and Voyager make extended cruises along the coast. In Essex, the Valley Railroad steam train huffs and toots on hour-long excursions.
Connecticut's vibrant cultural life is exemplified by professional theater of national stature, such as the Long Wharf Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage Company, and Goodspeed Opera House, birthplace of such Broadway hits as "Man of LaMancha" and "Annie." Regular musical events range from chamber series to jazz cruises to the Deep River Ancient Fife & Drum Corps Muster & Parade.