Connecticut Office Of Tourism
1 Constitution Plaza, 2nd Floor
Hartford, CT 06103
The Connecticut Office of Tourism helps visitors find intriguing destinations and fun activities in all corners of the state and can also alert them to special deals. Its online visitors’ guide details all the best attractions Connecticut has to offer. Here are a few of them to consider for the long holiday weekend.
Mark Twain And Harriet Beecher Stowe Homes
To celebrate a great American holiday, why not tour the Hartford homes of two of America’s most famous writers? Missouri native Samuel Clemens was known to the nation as Mark Twain by the time he and his family moved to Hartford in 1871. Three years later, they settled into a 25-room house on Farmington Avenue, where they lived until 1891. The Mark Twain House and Museum allows you to walk through all three floors of the home where he wrote perhaps the country’s finest novel, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” played with his children, shot pool and enjoyed his bourbon. Then head next door to the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center to view the equally impressive home of Twain’s friend, who wrote the wildly popular and controversial antislavery novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”
Mystic Seaport And Aquarium
If you want to experience even more of 19th-century New England, make time to visit Mystic Seaport, which expertly replicates a seaside village from the 1800s. As you walk your way through, you’ll encounter one-room chapels and schoolhouses and old-fashioned general stores and seafood shacks and meet blacksmiths, craftsmen and sailors. There are also over a dozen historic ships and boats to climb aboard and explore, and you can participate in activities such as hoisting a sail. Be sure to buy a special purchase pass so you can visit nearby Mystic Aquarium afterward. There, you can take in sea lion shows, shark feedings and exclusive documentary films in its “4-D” theater as well as observing several species of fish, reptiles, penguins and whales.
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Essex Steam Train
Essex Steam Train and Riverboat offers passengers scenic locomotive rides through Essex, Deep River and Chester all-year round, with different themes for each season. Bring the family on Thanksgiving weekend for the start of the Santa Special. This hour-long trip features train cars that are all decked out for Christmas and includes special appearances from St. Nick, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and other surprises. Elves will even be on hand to distribute a free gift to each child. When the ride is over, browse around the shops in charming Essex Village or drive to neighboring Old Lyme and visit the Florence Griswold Museum with its impressive collection of American impressionist art.
Silverman’s Farm, located in Fairfield County, has been around for nearly a century and is the perfect Connecticut spot to kick off the holiday season. Head to the greenhouse for Christmas essentials like wreaths, poinsettias and trees of all sizes. Silverman’s Farm Market carries over fifteen flavors of pies along with homemade pastries, jams, syrups, honey and unique Christmas and Hanukkah decorations. Get some holiday shopping out of the way and purchase some gift baskets, which come in several varieties. Take a look at the pumpkin patch where you could win a pumpkin if you can correctly estimate its weight within two ounces. Silverman’s also makes plenty of hot apple cider to warm you up.
Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on Examiner.com.