By Rachael Workman
I love traveling, especially to seasonal spots that are easy to drive to. Being in south-western Connecticut, I’m just a stone’s throw from Cape Cod, Watch Hill, Kennebunkport and a handful of other beautiful locales. It makes for an excellent “road trip adventure” without being too long or arduous of a trek.
Unless you take the dreaded I-95 North. Of course you can plan your trip for the middle of the night to avoid traffic, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get stuck in nighttime roadwork. Instead of dreading the transportation side of vacationing, I’ve done my best to make the drive a fun part of the trip.
There’s a few ways to go to get up north, avoiding I-95. Despite my better judgment, I will share my favorite secret route through Connecticut towards Cape Cod, which can be applied or re-routed for other points north.
- Hop on the Merritt/Wilbur Cross Parkways, Route 15 North
- Follow it to I-91 North to Hartford
- Just before you hit the city, take a quick jump onto 84 East to 384 East
- 384E turns into Route 6 East which will bring you all the way up to Providence, RI at the I-95/I-195 junction. From there you can follow I-195 to the Cape or I-95 to Boston, or further north.
If you really want to add a few more scenic roads in CT, you can take exit 25 off I-91 for CT3 North to CT2 East to CT66 which ends at Route 6, but that’s slightly more convoluted, not saving much time or mileage. The Route 6 method is almost the same as taking I-95 in terms of miles, but can save you hours of traffic and there are things to do on the way. Check out some good stops on Route 6.
174 Hop River Road
Hours: Mon to Fri- 8:00a.m. to 8:00p.m.
Sat to Sun 10:00 – a.m. to 6:00p.m.
Just as you come down a long hill where 384 magically transforms itself into Route 6, you immediately see Munson’s Chocolates Main Store and Factory on your left. Many Connecticut natives may be familiar with Munson’s chocolatesas they have store locations scattered around the state, but hitting the “headquarters” can be a fun experience for kids.
144 US Route 6
Hours: Mon to Sun – 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
If you’re a city person acquainted with eating street corner pretzels, meet my friend, the country roadside fried chicken and ice cream counterpart, serving Giffords of Maine ice cream. Skip the interstatefast-food and try some local flavor in Andover, CT.
Mansfield Hollow Reservoir
31 Old Willimantic Rd.
Chaplin, CT 06235
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Do you ever have the urge to go for a 2 milejog in the middle of road trip? Neither do I. But just in case you need to stretch your legs, there’s a commuter lot on Route 6 in Willimantic with access to part of the Mansfield Hollow Reservoir site. The top of the dam (which runs along side of the Windham Airport) is available to walkers or runners and is about a mile long on the west half and 2 miles on the east half. It’s beautiful, unusual and a great way to break up the drive.
Museum of Andover History
Old Town Hall, Monument Lane
at Route 6 and Hebron Rd.
There are a handful of fun historical spots that you can hit along the way, if you can find them. At the intersection of Route 6 and Hebron Rd, there’s a tiny offshoot, called Monument Lane. There you will find the Museum of Andover History (if it’s open) and the former location of the Andover Creamery Company.
Rachael Workman is a local Connecticut blogger who can often be found driving or walking on local roads with her dog, Mason Dixon. You can read her blog at http://www.rachaelontheroad.com