An Introduction to the Constitution State
America's first turnpike, its first town library, and its first newspaper can all be credited to Connecticut. Connecticut inventors gave the world the first sewing machine, cotton gin, helicopter, nuclear submarine, and artificial heart. And we even have Connecticut to thank for the first Frisbee; bored Yale students got their hands on some empty pie plates from Mrs. Frisbie Pies in Bridgeport in 1920, and the rest is flying toy history. This “land of firsts” offers families much more than meets the eye. There's no other place in New England where you can ride a wooden roller coaster built into a mountainside, make your own dinosaur-track castings, or hug a beluga whale.
Along Connecticut's southern shore, you can explore lighthouses, a zoo, and a natural history museum that houses a world-class collection of dinosaur skeletons. The Mystic area, a whaling and shipbuilding center in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, is a popular family destination featuring historic and marine life attractions. Elsewhere along the Long Island Sound coastline and inland along the Connecticut River, you will discover spectacular scenery, steam train and riverboat rides, beaches, and even a castle. The central part of the state surrounding the capital, Hartford, is home to historic houses, apple orchards, kid-friendly museums, and one of the country's oldest amusement parks still in operation.
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Connecticut can't be beat for a quick getaway — there's so much to experience in a close, accessible area. Couple compact geography with the state's amazing contrasts, and you'll be able to engage in a wide variety of vacation activities, even if your travel plans allow for little more than a weekend.
The Constitution State harmoniously blends old and new, large and small. Historic whaling towns are a stone's throw from the glamour and glitz of the world's largest casino, Foxwoods. Urban Fairfield County, an extension of the New York metropolitan region, is bisected by one of the nation's most scenic highways, the Merritt Parkway. Though only three states are more densely populated, nearly three-quarters of Connecticut is rural, and farm attractions beckon to families with petting zoos, pony rides, corn mazes, apple cider pressing, and harvest festivals. So don't speed through Connecticut; make savoring its sights your first New England travel priority.