Hartford, the state capital, is perched on the Connecticut River, which approximately bisects the state from north to south and is accessible from interstate highways 91 and 84. The city has some wonderful historic buildings, such as the Old State House; the Center Church, with stained glass windows by Louis Tiffany; and the Wadsworth Athenaeum, a castle-like structure that, among other delights, has a refurbished sculpture garden and a collection of many fine paintings of the Hudson River School of art.
A must-see, both for its own charm and for the man who commissioned it, is the home of Mark Twain. This eclectic, 19-room home, where Twain wrote some of his best-loved classics, is full of curious features and is right next door to the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, where history is connected to today’s events. Other favorite places to see in this central region include Gillette Castle in East Haddam, the Old New-Gate Prison in East Granby, the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, and the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam. Lodgings are as varied as the landscape.
The Connecticut River Valley is also the historic location of tobacco fields with their characteristic open-air barns. These make good subject for photographers on leisurely rides through the valley. When it comes to lodgings, inns and bed-and-breakfast establishments are nestled in the rolling countryside and in scenic villages. Hartford and the larger towns feature fine full-service hotels. And at highway exits are many comfortable chain hotels with nicely priced accommodations.