Step Back in Time in These Connecticut Towns and Cities Last Updated 9/18

Connecticut is home to towns and cities rich with history. From the Native Americans to the earliest European settlers, the revolutionary war era to the industrial revolution, so much of our past is so well preserved, it’s worth planning a visit just to travel back in time. Once you’re there, you’ll walk in the footsteps of forefathers and enjoy a modern taste of these vibrant, welcoming destinations. You can find a wealth of historic information on any of these towns and many more from our friends at ConnecticutHistory.org.

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Wethersfield

One of the oldest towns in the state, Wethersfield has seen over 375 years of history, and they have the sites, churches and museums to prove it. Start at the Wethersfield Historical Society and join a walking tour, where you can hear about town’s witch trials that happened decades before Salem. The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum offers three homes in one, for an immersive experience of what it was like to live here in the mid 18thand early 19thcenturies. For a more luxurious version of life in Wethersfield, stay at the Chester Bulkley House B&B, with its period antiques and hand-carved woodwork. And be sure to grab a bite to eat or a coffee at the Heirloom Market at Comstock-Ferre.

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Fairfield

Easily reached by train from New York City, Fairfield is one of the first four towns established in the Connecticut colony. Begin with a visit to the Fairfield Museum & History Center, where you will discover that many Revolutionary-era homes still stand in Fairfield, including the Ogden House, which escaped burning by raiding British forces and is today home to an amazing reproduction of 18thcentury life and a well-kept colonial garden. Stay just down the road at the Delamar Southport and enjoy the many restaurants and bars in both towns. And don’t miss a stop at one of the country’s oldest wildlife centers, the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary.

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Hartford

Hartford’s earliest residents were the Algonquin tribes that first called this region home. Start your tour at Hartford’s oldest house, the Butler McCook House & Garden, where generations of family members have grown up along with the city. Explore the African American experience along the remarkable Connecticut Freedom Trail. Visit the homes of two of America’s most treasured authors, Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. And don’t miss the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the nation’s oldest continuously operating art museum. At the Old State House you can see where Connecticut’s democracy was born, and in the Ancient Burying Ground, discover graves dating back to the Revolutionary War. Stay a night or two at the Marriott Hartford Downtown so you can take in Hartford’s nightlife and theater as well.

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Mystic

Home to a legendary port, Mystic’s maritime history is alive and well at the town’s remarkable Mystic Seaport Museum, where you can stroll among replicas of a seafaring village, explore authentic vessels in a shipyard and much more. The Mystic River Historical Society offers tours and exhibits as well. Speaking of tours, why not take one from the water? Look for Mystic Harbor Tours or the Schooner Argia, among other sailing cruises. Stay right on the water in the heart of downtown Mystic at the Steamboat Inn. And grab a taste of the sea at S&P Oyster Company.

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Guilford

Along the shoreline, the town of Guilford was sold to Puritan settlers by the Quinnipiac tribe in the mid 17thcentury. Take a walking tour of the town and its famous town green to learn its fascinating history. Visit the Henry Whitfield State Museum, Connecticut’s oldest house. Find even more history at the Medad Stone Tavern Museum and the Dudley Farm Museum. Visit a restored blacksmith shop and colonial garden at the Thomas Griswold House. And spend a night in a working farm at the B&B at Bartlett Farm.

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Ridgefield

Ridgefield is historically known as the site of a battle that was a turning point in the American fight for Independence, when Benedict Arnold helped to push back British troops and build morale for the patriot movement. In fact, one of the cannonballs can still be found in the side of Ridgefield’s Keeler Tavern, today a museum. Book a room nearby at the charming West Lane Inn and enjoy a meal or two along Ridgefield’s pretty Main Street. And don’t miss a visit to Weir Farm, Connecticut’s only National Historic Site dedicated to American Impressionism.

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New Haven

New Haven is home to Yale University, and several history, art and science museums that cement its status as a world-class museum city. But it’s also got a lot of history as a historic port, perhaps most well-known for the story of the Amistad, for which there is a Memorial right in front of city hall. Closer to the water, Fort Nathan Hale and Fort Black Rock were the site of a successful, albeit temporary defense of the city against British forces in 1779. Learn more about this storied city at the New Haven Museum or by walking across the famed New Haven Green. Why not stay a night or two at the Study at Yale, a boutique hotel—and before attempting to take on the city’s phenomenal restaurant scene on your own, consider a Taste of New Haven food tour.

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Norwich

The City of Norwich was founded in 1659 when a friendship with the local Mohegan Tribe allowed the settlers to purchase a small tract of land. Today, Norwich is still deeply connected to this side of its history, found at places such as Uncas Leap and the Mohegan Burial Grounds, resting place of the legendary Mohegan chief Uncas. In the eighteenth century, Norwich became a center of wealth, commerce and influence. Stop by the Norwich Heritage & Regional Visitors Center to discover more about the history of Norwich, and visit the Leffingwell House Museum for a look at Revolutionary War-era life. For a touch of authentic Norwich character, be sure to stay in the Mount Crescent House Bed & Breakfast during your visit!

Find out more about exploring Connecticut’s most historic attractions, sites and towns