Hartford Travel Guide, Connecticut
Located North-East of New York on the Connecticut River you will find Hartford, the state’s capital.
It was founded in 1636 by those who wanted to escape the strict religious dictates of the nearby colony. After a few years they drafted the document that was the foundation of the first written constitution, or so they claim and the state was even called "Constitution State."
Its days of glory seem far away as the second largest city in the state does not seem quite so attractive and tries to do its best to shake off the uneasiness that came as a result of decades decline.
There were some promising projects on the horizon like the riverfront development that would have included a stadium, but plans failed to be completed and as the New England Patriots chose to remain in the Boston area.
Hartford can’t do much but point to its great buildings: the Victorian Mark Twain House, the Wadsworth Athenaeum and the gold-domed state capitol. It’s better to focus on these cornerstones of Hartford's tourism otherwise you will be kind of disappointed by the rest.
Being among the most visited sights the state’s capitol offers the visitors the pleasure of a free tour that includes a small museum of Connecticut history and as the capitol is situated in the Bushnell Park, you can also enjoy the area around the capitol and the antique merry-go-round in the park.
Another top attraction is the Mark Twain house that is to be found mile west of downtown Hartford in the community known as Nook Farm. For 17 years his address was 351 Farmington Ave. His Victorian home featuring 19 rooms is a fascinating example of the late-19th-century style sometimes known as "Picturesque Gothic, with beautifully and yet unusually painted walls with black-and-orange brickwork while the High Victorian interior showing Twain's enthusiasm for newfangled gadgets, was the work of distinguished designers of the time, including Louis Comfort Tiffany, who helped the writer design the home and provided the stained glass. Among his favorite gadgets was a primitive telephone that was installed in the entrance hall. Not much has changed since he lived in it as much of the furniture he used is still in the house.
In such a wonderful, designed to his taste home he wrote many of his works including Huckleberry Finn and Life on the Mississippi. As his real name was Samuel Clemens, his love for the river can be deduced from his pseudonym “Mark Twain” that comes from the term Mississippi River pilots used to indicate a water depth. An hour long guided tour will introduce you to the life of the writer and you will have the chance to see the place where maybe your favorite novels were brought to life.
A larger part of history is comprised in the Museum of Connecticut History exhibiting the desk where Abraham Lincoln signed the paper that freed all slaves, Colt rifles and revolvers and the bigger Greek revival Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art that any city would be proud to host. Opened in 1842, this was the first public art museum in the United States and is now the country’s oldest continuously operating public art museum. It boasts a collection of 45,000 pieces of fine and decorative arts. The American paintings dating from the 19th century through the mid-20th century are among the most appreciated, but there are also Old Masters including Rubens, Renoir and Monet. You can also enjoy lectures and films at the Athenaeum Theater and the good light items at the Museum Café.
There are other newer venues like the 39-story City Place offering concerts and art exhibits, while the Hartford Stage Company offers a 10-month theatrical season.
Even if Hartford does not boast endless attractions those few are enough to satisfy visitors that have a day to spare.
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