I'm planning to visit a friend in Cromwell CT (small town near Hartford and Berlin) next week and I'd like to find some nice scenic routes and things to see along the way (roadside attractions, architectural wonders, small towns, boutiques, historical places). I already drove I-91, I-93 and I-84 and some particular highways plenty of times in that area and now I'm ready for something new. I'll probably spend some time in New Haven as well, since I think it is a beautiful town. So any suggestion regarding that area is welcome as well (especially cheap lodging!). Oh and I only have one weekend for that trip.
Thanks for your help!
It has been awhile since I've been on it, but I remember enjoying NH-10 along the Connecticut River several years ago. I can't imagine it has changed much.
In MA, route 32 and 32A go along some very nice, peaceful roads by the Quabbin as well as many stone walls in the Hardwick/Old Furnace/Wheelwright/Gilbertivlle vicinity (Quabbin would definitely qualify as an architectural wonder in some sense...a huge artificial lake, never mind the plumbing that runs from here to Boston via Wachusett). US-202 in this area is a nice drive, too, with a really nice overlook of the Quabbin.
Maybe not for this trip, but possibly future reference, try US-7 in the Northwest part of the state. I also enjoy CT-8 North of Winsted, as well as US-44 and NY-22 in that area.
The closest I've stayed overnight to New Haven was Norwalk at a real pit of a place across from a seedy store and an even worse motel that probably charged by the hour. That was work related, and I ended up on the broken cot. So, no suggestions there.
CT to do's
Two low key but enjoyable things to see in the Hartford area are close to each other just SSE of town off CT-160. The first is Dinosaur State Park, which is just S of 160 off West St. They don't have actual dinos but they do have dino tracks and you're welcome to bring your own plaster of paris (available at local hardware stores) and make casts of some of the tracks. You don't get much more historic than that. They've also got a pretty well done indoor display as well as a nice little hiking trail through the woods.
If you then continue east on 160 you'll come to the Rocky Hill - Glastonbury Ferry. What this is still doing here in such a well developed area is beyond me, but it's a little three car ferry across the Connecticut River and only costs a few bucks.
.....And I just noticed that you're coming down from Quebec. You might want to try Vt routes 14 and 100 as an alternative to I-91.
It may not count as architecture, but the Hope cemetary on Merchant St. in Barre Vt is where the marble cutters bury there own and has some of the most ornate and/or whimsical tombstones you're likely to see anywhere.
And for a smalltown/road(side) attraction, stop in Brookfield, VT and drive across the 'floating' bridge. Brookfield refused to allow the state to build an exit on I-89 for their town and has refused to allow the state highway through town to be paved. The bridge which carries VT-65 across the local lake is built on pontoons and 'floats' in name only. Your car will get wet if you cross it (hopefully, it's a rental).
It's been a long time, but Mystic Seaport used to be a great place to visit. Near Groton on US-1. Bob
As a former resident of that part of the world, I would strongly reccommend Northampton MA....it is a short distance from I-91 and not only wonderful for history and surrounding Colleges but has wonderful eclectic shopping...a visit to any online travel site could list motels.
Thanks to all of you for your suggestions!
Not far from the Hartford area is Gillette's castle state park. Nice hikes in the park and the castle is great itself.
on your way there you could get what I consider to be the best ice cream in the state at Salem valley Ice Cream
200 Darling Road - Salem, CT 06420
That map is a little off as the ice cream shop (and the swarms of people outside) is visible from the end of the exit ramp. It's actually an exit ramp/end of highway as it was a highway to the south shore of the state that was never completed although when you are on the highway nearing the exit you can see the notches in the mountains ahead.
Once you are there a drive to Devil's hopyard state park is great. Windy country roads. Just the drive you are looking for I think.
If you like pizza, check out Harry's pizza in West Hartford. Many will tout Sally's or Pepe's in New Haven but I think Harry's is the best. I moved from CT (29 year resident) to San Francisco 2 years ago and this pizza is among the top 5 things I miss about the state.
In New Haven visit the birth place of the hamburger
Louie's Lunch, 263 Crown St. New Haven (860) 562-5507.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-16-2005 at 11:43 PM.
Reason: Removed broken link