This “Places to Go” article is going to be even more wacky and random than usual. Where is/what even is Connecticut? This is a question I asked myself when I first heard of it, too. Why is “connect-i-cut” pronounced “connet-icut”? I don’t know. Why is Arkansas pronounced “arkansaw”? You tell me. That’s what I said to my history teacher. Turns out, they both come from Native American names, which have been mixed with the English language to create something new and different. That’s because when the settlers landed in the US, they often used the Native American names for things, but adapted them to the English language.
So, some facts about Connecticut to get you started. It’s named after the Connecticut River, a huge river that begins in Canada and finishes down near New York, making it the longest river in the New England region. Connecticut is one of the smallest states, but also one of the most densely populated, owing to its close proximity with New York and Boston. It also has many urban centres of its own. Connecticut’s motto is the “Constitution State”, and it says it on all the number plates, due to its heavy involvement with the US Constitution. Connecticut has very good farmland, and is one of the richest states in terms of average GDP.
One of Connecticut’s largest cities is New Haven. Doesn’t sound like very much, but it has the campus of Yale University there, the USA’s version of Oxford/Cambridge. The university looks a little bit like Oxford, as it has beautiful golden stone that reflects perfectly off the sunlight. There’s a really great atmosphere, the campus is a very buzzing place with lots going on. It’s a very typical student town – never a dull moment!
Drive a little further up the interstate and you’ll come to Hartford, Connecticut’s capital city. Hartford has all Connecticut’s government buildings, but it also contains the headquarters for a lot of big US insurance companies, so as you can imagine it’s pretty built up. On the outskirts, you’ll find a little bit more breathing space, and also the Mark Twain house and museum. Mark Twain was a hugely important American author, who wrote “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, among other things. As opposed to a lot of European big houses, the stories of Mark Twain and his family are mostly pleasant ones, he was a loving father who doted on his family and always made time for them.
Connecticut is one of those places that not many people go to, but it’s good to stop off at one your way to somewhere else. That’s because Connecticut, unlike most tourist destinations, is primarily a place where real people live and work. With such a long history, though, Connecticut ought to appeal more to both American and international tourists like. So how do you get there? Well, trains from both New York City and Boston run frequently and often, or you can use it as a stop on your journey in between the two cities.
Image Credit: Alice Barnes-Brown