- Tuesday 13 December 2016
So I am just back from what I can only say was one of the best trips of my life. If it’s not on your bucket list then Connecticut definitely needs to be !! Beautiful scenery, hospitality and places to see and things to do!!
The flight from Dublin to Hartford was relaxing and had a great selection of entertainment on board. Meals and snacks were complimentary along with soft drinks. The flight only took 6 hours and 20 mins on the way across.
Hartford airport is great – easy to find your way around and the bags were out within about 15minutes of landing.
After we had collected out luggage we made our way to downtown Hartford- about 20 mins from the airport. We stayed at the Marriott Downtown hotel which is in the centre of city and has a great selection of bars and restaurants within walking distance.The Marriott hotel is lovely with spacious rooms and a nice lobby area with a self playing piano haha
We left the Marriott hotel and walked about 200 metres to the Infinity Music Hall and Bistro for dinner and a show. After a light dinner we attended a show by a Scottish musician Al Stewart – if you like folk music it would be right up your street !!
We woke up to Snow!!!!!! Not Irish snow – proper fluffy snow angels snowball fight snow!!!
After a scrumptious breakfast at the Marriott – home made pancakes, omelettes and anything you could want for breakfast – we headed to the Winvian Farm in Morris. This is a luxury private estate. Its consists of about 18 private cottages – each has their own unique design based on an individual architect idea – helicopter, horses, treehouse etc. Its has a AAA restaurant and a luxury Spa.
After this we went to New Haven and had a tour of Yale University. Yale has over 90,000 visitors a year and they offer tours completely free of charge. The tour was very interesting and steeped in history. The campus itself is beautiful and students and visitors all around. It is set in the centre of New Haven – a city famous for its pizzas !! So.......we went for a yummy pizza after the tour!
After lunch we went to the Stony Creek Brewery – a family business set on the banks of the Branford River. Here we got a tour of the brewery and sample some of their world famous beers. They are very much focused on their community here and when they were building the brewery everyone that worked on it was local and all products used were locally sourced.
We then went to one of the many large outlet malls – Clinton Crossing – about a 20 minute drive from Branford. Great brand names here including Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren but to name a few. After some shopping we headed to the coast to the town of Clinton. A quaint little town with local shops and restaurants – one of the shops even had an Irish flag in its window – we think to welcome us haha
Just outside the town is the amazing hotel – The Madison Beach Hotel – set on the beach front with the most amazing views of the coast. A small hotel with only about 30 rooms – all have balconies overlooking the beach. After pre dinner cocktails we enjoyed a delicious meal here.
To wake up to the sunrise and view the next morning was truly spectacular !! In the summer time they have music on the beach and fire pits in the evening !
After breakfast at the Madison Beach Hotel we travelled up the coast for about 30 minutes to the town of Mystic Seaport. Here we got a tour of the museum of America and the Sea – The largest Maritime Museum in the world. We got to hear about how they now repair and build ships here and how a lot of the ships used many many years ago when the USA used to go whaling were from that area.
After the Maritime Museum we went about 5 minutes down the road to the Mystic Aquarium. This is truly an amazing place. Not only as an Aquarium but they rescue a lot of the animals and rehabilitate them here. The staff and vets of the aquarium are responsible for much of the sealife along the East coast of the states. We got to touch a shark – got sprayed by a Beluga whale and learn about how they look after all the animals there. A lot of their work is funded by donations, fundraising and money made at the park so it truly is a fantastic place.
We then travelled to Foxwoods – a grand casino/hotel and home to Tanger Outlet Mall. We did a tour of the resort and spent some time shopping after lunch.
To finish off our day we drove to the Mohegan Sun Hotel. This is an amazing hotel and home to the 4th largest casino in the world. We got treated to an amazing evening meal here before hitting the slot machines !! Great selection of bars, restaurants and shops within the hotel and it also has a 55ft waterfall inside the hotel.
After breakfast we boarded the bus back to Hartford. We visited the Wadsworth Atheneum – art gallery.
This is the oldest art gallery in America and has an impressive display of art works and scultures. In the lobby area of the gallery they have it full of Christmas trees that are donated to them each year by local people.
We then made our way to the Mark Twain House Museum in Hartford – only about a 10 minute drive from the centre of Hartford. This is the home where Mark Twain wrote many of his famous works including Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. A truly impressive house for the time it was lived in and still contains many original family property.
In the afternoon we travelled to Simsbury Inn for Lunch. It is nestled in the countryside and blends the casual comforts of Connecticut hospitality with modern day hotel. It has a pool, conference room and spacious rooms.
Our last visit was to the New England Air Museum. Located about 10 minutes from the airport – this is truly a fantastic place. It has over 100 aircraft on show ranging from early flying machines to supersonic jets. You can even sit in a fighter jet to see how it feels haha
And finally it was time to go back to the airport. We went to the Sheraton Hotel which is directly attached to the airport for food and beverages before our flight. The convenience of this hotel is that you can actually check in for your flight here before making you way to the departure terminal. The hotel is great as it has a pool, gym, restaurant and bar and its own starbucks coffee shop !
There isn’t a great selection of duty free at the airport so I would advise getting your shopping done in the outlets before getting to the airport !
I have to say Connecticut has probably been my favourite place I have ever been to. The quaint New England design of each house and building, the hospitality we received and the general feel of warmth from people. I would recommend it for couples or families. Something for everyone.