Have you Discovered Connecticut’s Hidden Gems? Last Updated 7/17

Most people know Connecticut’s most visited landmarks and attractions, like Mystic Aquarium and the Mark Twain House. So, we asked Facebook users to suggest a few of the state's “hidden gems,” and we were thrilled with the response! Maybe you’ve heard of some of these but never visited. Or maybe you haven’t. Either way, it’s a great list of places where you might just find a few surprises worth discovering for yourself.

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The Village of Collinsville, Canton

Considered to be one of the finest preserved mill villages in New England, the village of Collinsville in Canton features examples of 19th century industrial architecture in a walkable neighborhood offering outdoor fun, arts, dining and nightlife. On the weekends, nature lovers flock to Collinsville for kayak and canoe rentals on the Farmington River and bike rides on the Farmington River Rail Trail. There’s even something for antique lovers at Antiques on the Farmington, a converted factory filled with over 50 dealers.

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Lighthouse Point Park Carousel, New Haven

Built in 1916 and purchased by the city of New Haven in 1927, the Lighthouse Point Park carousel is one of fewer than 100 of its kind still in use today. The carousel’s 72 sculpted figures, including horses, camels and dragons, give beachgoers an added thrill just steps from Long Island Sound. Housed inside a covered pavilion, the carousel operates May through October and costs just 50¢ a ride.

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American Museum of Tort Law, Winsted

Don’t let the serious sounding name fool you, because Winsted’s American Museum of Tort Law is in fact a fascinating and fun experience — even for kids as young as middle school.  Through a series of interactive, colorful exhibits, you’ll learn all about tort law and trial by jury, and how the American legal system has been used to protect consumer health, safety and wellbeing. This includes a few better known cases, such as those addressing tobacco advertising and auto industry dangers.

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Barker Character, Comic & Cartoon Museum, Cheshire

Remember those toys you had as a child?  You will when you step back in time at Cheshire’s Barker Character, Comic & Cartoon Museum. Featuring over 80,000 blasts from the past — collectibles, lunchboxes, dolls, toys, Disney — you’ll find familiar faces and items that will make you wonder what toy makers were thinking.

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Boothe Memorial Park & Museum, Stratford

What do you get when people decide to turn their 32-acre family homestead into a historical destination — honoring different points in history? Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Boothe Memorial Park & Museum was the estate of the Boothe family for generations, starting with a house first built in 1663. Today, it’s home to a treasure of interesting sites, such as a trolley station, blacksmith shop, observatory, a windmill, ice house, several museums, several more farm animals and much, much more.

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The Book Barn, Niantic

The Book Barn, sprawling over four Main Street locations in Niantic is a one-of-a-kind draw for book lovers and browsers alike. Start at the information booth for a brochure that will guide you through the stacks, or simply wander to your heart’s content. You’ll find books, and occasionally cats, at every turn of this unique Connecticut destination.