Historic homes in Hartford, Connecticut, bring state's past to life
77 Forest Street
Hartford, CT, 06105
A 21st century experience linking history to today’s headlines
The all-new Stowe House Experience introduces you to the life and impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe in an interactive tour of her 1871 National Historic Landmark. Visitors will view and discuss historic documents, including the 1853 anti-slavery petition presented to Stowe by the women of Great Britain, the Abolitionists’ Anti-Slavery Alphabet book, fugitive slave broadsides, Abolitionist hymns. Sit in Stowe’s parlor to discuss the issues of her day and see connections to today’s news! Hear Stowe’s worldwide impact through the words of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Laura Bush and Barack Obama. Don’t miss the surrounding historic gardens, exhibits and videos in the Visitor Center. Park once and visit two museums with a combination ticket to also tour The Mark Twain House next door.
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT, 06105
Visit the home where great writing was created
Visit the Mark Twain House and Museum and take a tour of one of the top ten historic houses in the world. Walk through Twain’s home, where the Clemens family lived for 17 years. Explore the servants' wing where a bustling staff kept up with the busy family and the children's rooms and conservatory where they played. Browse Twain's personal library and the famous Billiard Room where The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were written. Admission to the Mark Twain House is by guided tours only. Tours run daily beginning at 9:30 A.M. with the last tour leaving at 4:30 P.M.
67 River Road, off Route 82
East Haddam, CT, 06423
Park offers riverside walks; fishing; picnicking; tours of unusual 1919 mansion
This castle-like mansion was the eccentric home of William Gillette, a turn-of-the-century stage actor who was famous for his classic portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. The house is filled with fascinating architectural details and also includes exhibits about Gillette's career and his love of railroads and trains.
Hours: Memorial Day to Labor Day, Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tours of the castle are offered; call for schedule.
Admission: There are no fees for visiting the park grounds; there is a charge for castle tours.
See full description
of Gilltte Castle State Park and Mansion
211 Main Street
Wethersfield, CT, 06109
At the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum visitors are immersed in life of the 18th and 19th centuries. Three restored homes are included in the one-hour tour. The 1752 Joseph Webb House served as George Washington’s headquarters in May 1781; the Silas Deane House, circa 1770, was built for America’s Revolutionary War diplomat to France; the Isaac Stevens House, 1789, depicts the life of a middle class family in the 1820s and '30s. It has a Colonial Revival Garden.
Hours: May 1-October 31, daily, except Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sundays, 1-4 p.m. April and November weekends only. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday, 1-4 p.m.
Admission for tour: Adults, $10; seniors over age 60, $9; for students and children age 5-18, $5; families, $25.
Noah Webster House
227 South Main Street
West Hartford, CT
The Noah Webster House is located in the restored 18th-century birthplace and childhood home of Noah Webster, a teacher, lawyer, early abolitionist, and the creator of the first American dictionary. This national landmark explodes with activities that range from tours, youth programs, and award-winning exhibits to lively nights out, theatrical productions, and more. Tours last 45 minutes and are led by historical interpreters.
Hours: Thursday-Monday, 1-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $7; seniors, $5; youth age 6-18 and college students, $4; children age 5 and younger, free.
350 Main Street
Old Saybrook, CT, 06475
A Georgian-style Colonial built in 1767, featuring an herb garden and intricate decor. Of particular interest are the eight corner fireplaces. Notice the nine-window facade with 12 over 12 panes, the cornices, cornerboards and graduated clapboards.
Hours: June 12- September 13, Friday - Sunday, 12:30 - 4 p.m. Donation is requested.
Ancient Burying Ground
corner of Main and Gold streets
Hartford, CT, 06103
The Ancient Burying Ground was the primary burying ground in the city from 1640 until the early 1800s. It contains extraordinary examples from the golden age of Puritan funerary art by dozens of carvers of New England. The oldest gravestone is believed to be for Timothy Stanley, who died in 1648. The property has an African-American memorial, a monument to the first settlers of Hartford, and graves of Revolutionary War veterans. The Ancient Burying Ground is an open-air museum. Due to the extreme fragility of the stones, gravestone rubbings are not permitted.
Self-guided walking tour.
Hours: Gates are open year-round, daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Old State House of Connecticut
800 Main Street
Connecticut's original statehouse is the oldest in the U.S. Many historic events took place here, including the signing of the first written Constitution in the nation, and the Amistad and Prudence Crandall trials. The site contains a the restored, original Senate chamber and a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington. Free admission.
Hours: Columbus Day to July 4, Monday-Friday; July 4 to Columbus Day weekend, Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (last ticket sold at 4 p.m.)
Admission: Adults, $6; children, $3.
35 Mountain Road
Farmington, CT, 06032
National Historic Landmark. Colonial Revival style house (1901) set on 150 acres with sunken garden. Collection of French Impressionist paintings, decorative arts and original furnishings. Hour-long guided tours begin every half-hour. Last tour of the day begins one hour before closing. Admission to Hill-Stead Museum is by GUIDED TOUR ONLY except the first Sunday of every month and certain other designated special occasions.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Grounds are open daily, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Free to the public.
Admission: Adults, $12; seniors, $10; students, $8; children age 6-12, $5.
487 North Brooksvale Road (Route 42)
Cheshire, CT, 06410
Lock 12 Park is rich with history. Explore the restored section of Farmington Canal, built in the 19th century. Visit the park’s museum to learn more about the Canal and historical structures like the lockkeeper's house and helicoidal (or spiral) bridge.
Connecticut Historical Society Museum
1 Elizabeth Street at Asylum Avenue
The society's museum has one of the largest collections of Connecticut furniture, silver, pewter, costumes, graphic materials and tavern signs in existence. A library holds 100,000 manuscripts and nearly 3 million volumes. Events and lectures are scheduled throughout the year. The interactive, multimedia exhibition features five galleries, historic artifacts, and special sound and light effects.
Hours: Year-round, Tuesday - Friday, noon- 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $8; seniors over age 64, $6; college students and youth age 6-17, $4.
55 South Main Street
Suffield, CT, 06078
A three-century-old sycamore overhangs this house, built in the 1760s and expanded 1794. The neo-classical house is a window into prosperous life in the 18th century. The house is furnished with eighteenth-century furniture and landscaped with formal flower beds. House includes original French wallpapers. Open for afternoon tours on designated days from May 15 to October 15, or by appointment. Call for schedule.