Farms, food, fifes and fun. Given the choice, folks who know the scene best point to some less than obvious diversions when it comes to recommending Connecticut highlights.
"There are some things that might seem obvious - whether it's casinos or
museums," says Amy Ziff, editor at large for the giant international travel
search engine Travelocity. "But when it comes to the out-of-the-way,
`hidden' gems and family favorites, a whole different picture appears."
Travelocity asked its membership nationwide what special local places they'd
recommend to strangers, things beyond the lists developed by the tour guides.
About 40,000 people nationally offered their special views, creating a different
list. (The choices can be found state by state at www.travelocity.com/localsecrets.)
"If someone said, say, for Washington, D.C., that the National Cathedral
was a great pick, we would be less interested in that than when they say the
`Bishop's Garden' at the National Cathedral," says Ziff, who grew up in
Westport and now lives in Texas. "Everyone knows about the cathedral, but
not everyone knows about the beautiful garden hidden away in the back.
"In a small state like Connecticut, people have a special sense of what's
right for a family visit, for what's truly local reflecting the local
character," she says. "It's the same anywhere. Local people will best
reflect the local mindset, the feel and flavor of the community, what's
emblematic of the area. They know what they're talking about."
For Connecticut, the top 10 recommendations are:
The Company of Fifers & Drummers, Ivoryton - A summerlong celebration of
music, costume, history and craft; www.companyoffifeanddrum.org
Durham Agricultural Fair - The Sept. 26 to 28 agricultural and livestock
exhibit, the state's largest, features a carnival, concerts, food vendors; www.durhamfair.com.
Harney & Sons Fine Tea Co., Salisbury - With more than 250 varieties, and
free samples, it suits the discerning to a T, or a tea; www.harney.com.
The Griswold Inn, Essex. - The oldest continuously operating inn in America; www.griswoldinn.com.
Milford Oyster Festival - More than 200 artists, boat races, bands and vendors
show their wares at the Aug. 16 fair; www.milfordoysterfestival.org.
Mystic Pizza - Noted for its inspiration for the movie, but the pizza is
terrific, too; www.mysticpizza.com.
Putnam Antique District - A 17-shop district in a four-street town offers a
tremendous selection. Northeast Connecticut Visitors District, 860-779-6383.
Stew Leonard's, Norwalk - One of the largest dairy and food markets in the
world, mini-animal farm with hayrides in the fall. www.stewleonards.com.
The Tavern off the Green, Litchfield - Dance, drink and listen to live music at
one of the region's premier restaurants in a beautiful setting 860-567-0589.
Toad's Place, New Haven - A favorite "haven" for musicians wanting to
perform in a smaller, more intimate venue; www.toadsplace.com.
State Travel Gems
Travelocity Lists Survey Results
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