Connecticut has rich variety of historic homes, museums, cemeteries, trails

MARKTWAINHOUSE Connecticut is steeped in the history of our country's earliest days, beginning with the Colonial period, through the Revolutionary War and up to the present. CT welcomes visitors interested in historic homes and historic sites. Some historic sites are museums located in the homes of legendary writers like Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Families with kids interested in history will be fascinated by the Ancient Burying Ground in Hartford, locations of the Underground Railroad,museums honoring historic railways and trolleys, the Amistad Museum, and much more. Lighthouses on the shoreline and covered bridges in the inland Litchfield area also speak of the state's deep New England character

351 Farmington Avenue Hartford, CT, 06105 Phone: 860-247-0998

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.

Norwich Free Academy - 108 Crescent Street Norwich, CT, 06360 Phone: 860-887-2506

Centuries of treasures in a historic museum

More than a century of loving attention to art and architecture are on display at this marvelous museum on the campus of Norwich Free Academy in Norwich, CT. An architectural treasure as well, the building was designed by Stephen C. Earle inspired by the Romanesque Revival style popularized by H. H. Richardson. Within you’ll discover plaster replicas of ancient masterworks, historical artifacts, stunning examples of fine and decorative art, and material gathered from the people and cultures of five continents and spanning 35 centuries. Interpreter guided tours are free with your admission and there are changing exhibits, film screenings, discussions, book signings, events, and a unique gift shop. The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays all year long. Closed Holidays.

77 Forest Street Hartford, CT, 06105 Phone: 860-522-9258

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.

199 Elm Street New Canaan, CT, 06840 Phone: 203-594-9884

National Trust Historic Site honors architect Phillip Johnson.

Glass House is the former country home of architect Philip Johnson. Rather than house with a single interior divided by walls, it’s an iconic collection of 14 structures each with their own function. Set on 49 acres in New Canaan and certified as a National Trust Historic Site, the property serves today as a museum and offers visitors a unique glance into Johnson’s remarkable architectural style and personality. The Pavilion in the Pond was for gatherings and views of the rustic landscape. The Brick House was where Johnson read and slept. The stucco studio served as workplace and library and Grainger, a warm weather retreat, had both air conditioning and a television. Open for tours from May 1 to November 30.

Roseland Cottage

556 Route 169 Woodstock, CT Phone: 860-928-4074

The bold Gothic Revival style of this summer home built by Henry and Lucy Bowen contrasted sharply with other houses on Woodstock’s town green. Surrounded by its original landscape, the house survives with the family’s furnishings and elaborate decorative schemes. The complex, including an ice house, aviary, carriage barn with private bowling alley, and parterre garden, demonstrates the mid-19th-century design aesthetic popularized by Andrew Jackson Downing. Museum shop.
Hours: June 1-October 15, Wednesday-Sunday, tours on the hour, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: $8. Historic New England members free. $7 seniors. $4 students and children.

Monte Cristo Cottage

325 Pequot Avenue New London, CT, 06320 Phone: 860-443-0051

The Monte Cristo Cottage was the only permanent home of Eugene O’Neill from his birth in 1888 until 1917, as well as the setting for two of the playwright’s best known works, Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Ah, Wilderness!. Named in honor of his father James O’Neill’s most popular role, the dashing Edmund Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo, the 1840’s cottage is both a Registered National Landmark and a museum for O’Neill, America’s only Nobel Prize-winning playwright. It features a Eugene O’Neill portrait and poster gallery and a permanent exhibition on the life and works of the playwright.
Information: www.theoneill.org/monte-cristo-cottage

Yale University

Information Center at 149 Elm Street New Haven, CT, 06510 Phone: 203-432-2300

This historic Ivy League University, founded in the 18th century offers walking tours of the campus. Many historic figures studied here, including Nathan Hale, President William Howard Taft and Noah Webster. Modern day Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton both spent time at Yale.
Hours: Tours daily, Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1:30 p.m.
Information: www.yale.edu/visitor/tours.html

Prudence Crandall Museum

Junction Routes 14 and 169 Canterbury, CT, 06331 Phone: 860-546-7800

New England's first academy for Black women (1833-34), established by Connecticut's female state hero. Changing exhibits, period furnishings, research library, gift shop. National Historic Landmark; part of the Connecticut Freedom Trail and the Connecticut Women’s Heritage Trail. Gift shop.
Hours: May, Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; June-October, Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; November-April, weekdays by appointment
Admission: Adults, $6; seniors and college students, $7; children age 6 to 17, $4.
Information: http://bit.ly/SopK2H

The Connecticut Freedom Trail is list of over 60 historic locations throughout the state. Each location played an important role in the African-American journey from slavery to freedom in Connecticut. Places in addition to those listed on the Amistad Trail include historic homes, churches, graves, monuments, and sites on the Underground Railroad.

Bellamy-Ferriday House and Garden

9 Main Street Bethlehem, CT, 06751 Phone: 203-266-7596

Once the home of Bethlehem's first minister, the house was built in 1754, and is filled with American and European antiques. In addition to the 1754 home, the property also features a formal parterre garden, with a collection of roses, peonies, and lilacs. Call ahead to reserve tours for 10 people or more.
Hours: May through October, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $7; students, teachers and seniors, $6; children age 6-18, $4.
Information: http://bit.ly/nsGyfo

5774 Main Street Stratford, CT, 06614 Phone: 203-381-2046

This former homestead of the Boothe Family from 1663 to 1949 covers 30 acres and includes several buildings that exhibit antique farming tools, carriages, and old trolleys. Visitors are welcome to use the picnic grounds and enjoy the rose garden.
Hours: Park grounds are open year-round, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Museums and displays are open June 1 through October 1, Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-4 p.m.
Admission: Free.

Connecticut Historical Society Museum

1 Elizabeth Street at Asylum Avenue Hartford, CT Phone: 860-236-5621

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. Information: www.chs.org.

Buell Road Litchfield, CT Phone: 860-567-5694

Historic mansion offers summer tours; grounds for walking, picnicking, sledding

This state property includes the home of Edith Morton Chase, who built this English Tudor style house in 1925, under the direction of architect Richard Henry Dana, Jr. Fine craftsmanship and use of materials like cypress, oak, terra cotta tiles, and stucco, along with an eye for detail and tasteful wealth are on display throughout the house. It is furnished with 17th- and 18th-century English country antiques. Guided tours of the house are offered June through October of the second and fourth weekends of the month, noon to 5 p.m. Reservations are not needed. Picnicking on the grounds is welcome.
See full description of Topsmead State Forest.

Keeler Tavern Museum

132 Main Street Ridgefield, CT, 06877 Phone: 203-438-5485

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. British cannonball embedded in its exterior, souvenir of 1777 battle. Late 18th-century furnishings; guides in Colonial costume. Garden with reflecting pool. Gift shop.
Hours: February-December,Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $5; seniors, $3; children under age 12, $2.
Information: http://keelertavernmuseum.org/directions/

Shore Line Trolley Museum

17 River Street East Haven, CT, 06512 Phone: 203-467-6927

Ride vintage streetcars through scenic woods and wetlands. View exhibits on the trolley era and tour the trolley collection. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
< Hours: April, Sundays, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; May and September-November, Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; late November-late December, Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $6; seniors, $5; children age 2-15, $3; under 2 free.
Information: http://shorelinetrolley.org/

55 South Main Street Suffield, CT, 06078 Phone:

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. Information: suffield-library.org/localhistory/hatheway.htm

275 Great Neck Road / State Route 213 Waterford, CT, 06385 Phone: 860-443-5725

Beautiful seaside gardens; Roman Classical Revival Mansion open for tours in summer

This park is located at the summer home of the Harkness family, which bought this 40-room mansion in 1907. The style of the house is Roman Renaissance Classical Revival. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens and sweeping lawns. The mansion is open for tours from Memorial to Labor Day, although the property is open for walking year-round, every day. Tours are given during the summer from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
See full description of Harkness Memorial State Park.

Henry Whitfield State Museum

248 Old Whitfield Street Guilford, CT, 06437 Phone: 203-453-2457

Connecticut's oldest house (1639) and New England's oldest stone house, built as a minister's home and town stronghold, Colonial Revival restorations 1903 and 1930s. 17th- to 19th-century furnishings, museum shop, visitor center. National Historic Landmark.
Hours: January 2-April 26, Monday-Friday by appointment; May 1-December 15,Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $8; seniors and college students, $6; children age 6-17, $5.
Information: http://bit.ly/WRAwQd

350 Main Street Old Saybrook, CT, 06475 Phone: 860-388-2622

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.

Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum

211 Main Street Wethersfield, CT, 06109 Phone: 860-529-0612

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.

487 North Brooksvale Road (Route 42) Cheshire, CT, 06410 Phone: 203-272-2743

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.

735 Nod Hill Road Wilton, CT Phone: 203-834-1896

Home to three generations of American Impressionist painters, Weir Farm is the only national park dedicated to American painting. Discover this creative landscape guided tour of the Farm; check out the Stone Wall and meadows. See for yourself the artistic legacy of this nationally treasured site at the indoor art galleries. Enjoy park activities like fishing, swimming, and hiking; then stroll the gardens at sunset for a spectacular show of floral beauty! Maps and more information.
Hours: Grounds open year-round, daily, dawn to dusk; Visitor Center open May through November, Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Free.

Noah Webster House

227 South Main Street West Hartford, CT Phone: 860-521-5362

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.
Information: www.noahwebsterhouse.org

Bush Holley House

39 Strickland Road Greenwich, CT Phone: 203-869-6899

The circa 1730 National Historic Landmark Bush-Holley House was home to Connecticut’s first art colony. The site was the home and business headquarters of colonial merchant and mill owner David Bush, his wife Sarah, their children and their slaves. From 1890 to 1920, the house was run as a boarding house and was a gathering place for artists, writers, and editors.
Hours: Hours change seasonally; call ahead or consult website.
Admission: Adults, $10; seniors and students, $8; children under age 6, free.
Information: www.hstg.org.

Ancient Burying Ground

corner of Main and Gold streets Hartford, CT, 06103 Phone: 860-337-1640

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.

Danbury Railway Museum

120 White Street and Patriot Drive Danbury, CT, 06810 Phone: 203-778-8337

This museum is set in Union Station, restored to its appearance as it was in 1903. Inside visitors will find antique railroad cars, railroad artifacts and memorabilia, and changing exhibits. Train rides of varying lengths are scheduled throughout the year; some celebrate holidays, with festive themed rail cars.
Hours: June-august, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m. September-May, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, noon-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $6; children age 5-12, $4.
Information: www.danbury.org/drm/

Old State House of Connecticut

800 Main Street Hartford, CT Phone: 860-522-6766

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. Information: ctoldstatehouse.org.

Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum

Mathews Park, 295 West Ave. Norwalk, CT, 06850 Phone: 203-838-9799

America's first chateau; 62-room Victorian palace with stenciled walls, inlaid woodwork and skylit rotunda; gift shop. National Historic Landmark. Guided and audio tours.
Hours: Early April-early January, Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $8; seniors and students, $5; children under age 12, free.
Information: www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com.

Amistad Memorial

165 Church Street New Haven, CT, 06510 Phone:

Completed by Ed Hamilton in 1992, this monument pays tribute to the 53 Africans who escaped their slavery by overpowering the crew of the ship Amistad. The monument is located at the site of the old New Haven Jail, in which the Africans were kept during their initial arrest.

Hill-Stead Museum

35 Mountain Road Farmington, CT, 06032 Phone: 860-677-4787

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. Information www.hillstead.org/

67 River Road, off Route 82 East Haddam, CT, 06423 Phone: 860-526-2336

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