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Connecticut Military From the earliest settlements in Connecticut, building a fort was always the first order of business. Today, some of these fortifications, or at least their strategic positions, still survive. Visit them and you will get some sense of life – and threats to life – in those early days.
Fort Trumbull State Park: Since Colonial times Fort Trumbull served as the location of various military forts, schools and research facilities for the United States Army, Coast Guard and Navy. The first Fort Trumbull was built to protect the New London Harbor from British attack and later served as part of the country’s coastal defense system. The masonry fort (the third) that stands today was constructed between 1839 and 1852. In 1915 the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service merged with the U.S. Lifesaving Service to become the U.S. Coast Guard. That is when the Revenue Cutter Service Academy at Fort Trumbull became the first U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and all U.S. Coast Guard training took place at Fort Trumbull. By World War II Fort Trumbull had become home to the Coast Guard, the U. S. Maritime Service Officer Candidate School, and the Columbia University Division of War Research Underwater Sound Laboratory was established there. In 1970 the Navy merged the Underwater Sound Laboratory at Fort Trumbull with the Underwater Weapons Research and Engineering Station, at Newport RI, forming the Naval Underwater Systems Center (NUSC). In 1991 the Naval Underwater System Center in New London was renamed the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC).
Fort Griswold State Park: Add a touch of reality to your Revolutionary War history lesson with a visit to Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park, site of the 1781 massacre led by the traitorous Benedict Arnold. This is the historic site where, on September 6, 1781, British Forces, commanded by the infamous Benedict Arnold, captured the Fort and massacred 88 of the 165 defenders stationed there. The Ebenezer Avery House which sheltered the wounded after the battle has been restored on the grounds. A Revolutionary War Museum also depicts the era. Fort Griswold State Park is located near Colchester, Groton, and Jewett City and has some amenities such as picnic tables.
Fort Nathan Hale: Fort Nathan Hale, also known as Fort Hale Park, Black Rock, is a 20-acre city park located on the east shore of New Haven Harbor in New Haven, Connecticut. It includes the site of a 1659 fort, a Revolutionary War-era fort, and a Civil War-era fort. The fort was named after Nathan Hale, Connecticut’s official hero. These facilities played roles in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. This web site is dedicated to those heroes that served during those and subsequent conflicts, the many volunteers who have worked diligently to restore, maintain, and manage the site and its activities, reenactors who bring history to life and the many visitors and supporters of this historic landmark.
TravelKatz is ready to help you plan your Military Museum vacation. Give us a call at 352-277-7300 to get started.
Travelkatz is waiting to hear from you so we can make the history of our country come alive. Call us at 352-277-7300.
Connecticut Gardens – Connecticut is a U.S. state in southern New England that has a mix of coastal cities and rural areas dotted with small towns. Mystic is famed for its Seaport Museum filled with centuries-old ships, and the beluga whale exhibits at Mystic Aquarium. On Long Island Sound, the city of New Haven is known as the home of Yale University and its acclaimed Peabody Museum of Natural History.
Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens: This Arboretum and Gardens, contains 93 acres of parkland, gardens, landscapes, and hiking trails that focus on the regional plants, ecology, and character of Southwestern New England. What a beautiful and peaceful place! The trees, plants and gardens are varied, fascinating and well taken care of. The 911 memorial arch is very special and appropriate because you can look across the Long Island Sound and see where 911 happened. This is such an awesome spot to just take a hike and enjoy nature. Free parking available close to ground. The fragrance of different types of flowers all around was wonderful. The trails are easy to walk and there is stream along some of them. Found in Stamford. The Greenhouse @ The Bartlett Arboretum: The greenhouse has been a center point of the Bartlett Arboretum for a while now. It was built on the site of Dr. Bartlett’s entertainment tent and houses plants propagated for spring sales and some very nice succulents. Found in Stamford
Highstead Arboretum: This garden was founded in 1982. It covers 36 acres of woodland, meadow, and wetland and ranges from 640 feet to 758 feet in elevation and hosts both native and cultivated plant varieties. The Dudley family had an idea which surrounds it is so unique that we feel it just begs for something special to be done to keep it so. This was the seed of the idea that became a 36-acre arboretum and eventually an active family foundation that brings people, science, and resources together to advance the Wildlands and Woodlands vision throughout New England and In Redding.
Connecticut College Arboretum: It is so serene in this Arboretum. So many nice trails for walking. It’s kept up nicely. There are 2 gazebos to relax in and get out of the sun. This is a great area to walk your dog too. And kids can play in nature. It has not been over-crowded at all. There’s a beautiful pond to sit by and enjoy the grounds. Explore the Arboretum walking trails with our interactive Trail Map. Other maps are available to identify woody plants in the Native Plant Collection, Caroline Black Garden, and the Connecticut College campus. You can also explore Mamacoke Island Geology Tour Story Map as well. Found in New London.
Richard D. Haley Native Plant Wildlife Gardens: This Garden was created in memory of naturalist and field researcher, Richard Haley. It is maintained by a spirited group of master gardeners and community volunteers who share an interest in native plant habitats, invasive plant control, and native plant propagation. Native plants are available for purchase generally from June to August at the self-serve plant stand. There is a small selection of shrubs and hardy perennials. Proceeds are used to enhance the gardens and support the center. All the perennials are raised without the use of chemical fertilizers so they will be hardy in your landscape. Visit this garden in Hampton.
Middletown Nature Gardens: The city purchased the 18 acres of land in 1995 and dedicated it as open space. The main trail leads to the back of Wesley Elementary School, with many additional side trails to explore along the way. There is an abundance of fauna and flora, just keep your eyes open. There is even a 200-year-old sugar maple, which is called the “bee tree” because of the large colony of bees that made it their home. Visit the bees in Middletown.
TravelKatz is waiting to have a call at 352-277-7300 or “chat” at www.travelkatz.com so we can help you have a great vacation in Connecticut.
Connecticut State Parks:
Connecticut State Parks – Connecticut is a U.S. state in southern New England that has a mix of coastal cities and rural areas dotted with small towns. Mystic is famed for its Seaport museum filled with centuries-old ships, and the beluga whale exhibits at Mystic Aquarium. On Long Island Sound, the city of New Haven is known as the home of Yale University and its acclaimed Peabody Museum of Natural History.
Wadsworth Falls State Park: Wadsworth Falls State Park, or simply Wadsworth Falls, is located on the Coginchaug River. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, swimming, and picnicking. Spend a summer day cooling off in the mist of the waterfall or an autumn day hiking or biking the varied trails of the park. Explore the most popular trails in Wadsworth Falls State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers. Enjoy the falls in the towns of Middletown and Middlefield.
Mount Riga State Park: This state park offers opportunities for hiking and bow hunting. The Undermountain Trail connects to the northernmost section of the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut from the trail head at Mount Riga State Park’s parking lot on Connecticut Route 41. Found in the town of Salisbury.
Harkness Memorial State Park: Located on the Long Island Sound, it has a gorgeous botanical garden, a Renaissance-style mansion, and plenty of open greenery to wander around, soak in the beauty, and have a leisurely day. Try to come here when all of the flowers are in bloom so you can take full advantage of the gardens. You can also take a tour of the mansion, which is a wonderful experience in and of itself. There’s space for fishing and for picnicking and we would recommend bringing a picnic so you can enjoy the park for as long as possible Dogs are allowed on a leash on the open park area. Rest rooms are available and parking is free. Tour and picnic in Manchester.
Gillette Castle State Park: The Connecticut state park system has done a fine job in renovating William Gillette’s famous castle home. The rooms contain a mixture of informational placards and historical items that William Gillette once owned and/or were part of his extended family. In addition to the art and household items of a famous & financially successful stage actor, there are lots of photographs, posters, and other items from the numerous plays (particularly involving Sherlock Holmes) Gillette stared in, wrote & directed. Fans of the art & architecture of that era as well as theater history buffs will enjoy the visit. The surrounding grounds which are meticulously maintained offer excellent views of the Connecticut River, including the nearby Hadlyme Ferry, the Essex Steam Train on the other side of the River, and numerous river traffic. Drive to East Haddam to enjoy this park.
Hammonasset Beach State Park: Where can you find 2 miles of beach that is part of a nearly 1000-acre park with biking, walking and jogging trails, a nature center, picnic tables and grills throughout the park including pavilions with seating, showers, changing rooms and bathrooms, a campground and some of the best views in Connecticut? The answer is easy: Hammonasset Beach State Park! In the Fall, Winter and Spring Hammonasset becomes a dog walker paradise with miles of hikes through the campground, as well as on the beach and on a newly paved walkway along the beach that connects the campground to Meigs Point on the opposite end of the park- more than 2 miles, flat and perfect for walking, jogging, and bicycling; and don’t forget those awesome views. Easy access from 95 and you also have access to downtown Madison about 1 mile south on Route 1 which is one of the classic and beautiful New England towns offering boutique stores, restaurants and one of the best bookstores in New England. The park is free for Connecticut residents and there is a fee for non- Connecticut residents. Walk this beach and visit this park which is close to Madison.
If Connecticut is a place you want to take your family, please give Travelkatz a call at 352-277-7300 or check out our web site at www.travelkatz.com. We would love to “chat” with you about how we can help you have a great vacation.
Connecticut Museums – A state in southern New England that has a mix of coastal cities and rural areas dotted with small towns. The town of Mystic is famed for its Seaport museum filled with centuries-old ships and the beluga whale exhibits at the Mystic Aquarium.
USS Nautilus: This ship is only one of the attractions in which you will be impressed. There is also the Submarine Force Library and Museum. If you like to read everything about the exhibits you’ll see there, plan on staying for 3 to 4 hours. The museum is loaded with information about submarines; and The Nautilus, the first nuclear powered sub, is a GREAT self-guided tour. We strongly recommend this place for adults and teenagers. If you have young ones in tow, they will enjoy it because there are models and buttons to push. It is also free admission as our tax dollars pay for the upkeep of the museum. It was well worth your time. You will find this Museum in Groton, CT., along with the next museum…
Submarine Force Library and Museum: This museum covers the history of submarines from the revolutionary war to the present day. Real submarines are on display as well as models! There are hands on activities, working periscopes and a movie. Apart from the actual submarine, there is a museum building with rooms highlighting the different areas on board US Naval Submarines, with some interactive panels to interest the youth on the various components necessary to operate the submarine, the history of submarines in naval warfare, and the various submarine class boats built for service in the US Navy. The sail of NR-1 sits outside the building, along with weapons, and a mock setup of a missile tube hatch on an SSBN submarine. A former submariner veteran may be present in the main hall area to answer any questions visitors may have about submarine life, and a gift shop filled with gifts and specific souvenirs that you won’t be able to get anywhere else. Also in Groton.
The Mark Twain House & Museum: A delightfully restored house with some exceptionally talented guides. They walk you through the house as if you are a guest and are very knowledgeable and being within the restored interiors gives a rare perspective on the life and times of “the greatest humorist this country has produced.” The museum and exhibits on the grounds add to the excitement and when you enter the gift store you never knew how many books and incredible quotes Mark Twain created! Travel to Hartford, CT., to visit this museum.
Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center: This stunning, informative museum traces the history of Native American peoples in New England. There’s an incredibly realistic, life-sized recreation of a Pequot village, as well as an observation tower to look over the surrounding lands and gorgeous artwork. The history exhibits trace back to the Ice Ages. The Ice Age is another wonderful exhibit with the caribou hunt. In addition, the mastodon and wolves are quite an experience. This entire museum is amazing. This is a great museum for anyone over the age of eight. This museum and research center is found in Mashantucket, CT.
Mystic Seaport Museum: From tall ships and museum exhibits to a recreated seafaring village, history enthusiasts can uncover America’s maritime past at Connecticut’s must-see Mystic Seaport. With pre-booked tickets to this family-friendly attraction, you enjoy a self-guided tour of the living historic village. Stop by the blacksmith’s shop, board ships along the waterfront, and even chat about maritime history with the on-site historians—all included with the price of entry. Mystic Seaport.
TravelKatz is here to help you make the most of museums in Connecticut. Give us a call at 352-277-7300 or go to vacationnationradio.com where you can “chat” and have your questions answered.
Connecticut Festivals are all one of a kind. You must remember that you are in one of the New England states and the festivals there are heritage true. Maple festivals, folk festivals, fairs, and music festivals are very popular with the locals as well as the travelers to the area. Many enjoy these festivals year after year and travel to Connecticut just for the festivals. Join in and see what you’re missing…
Hebron Maple Festival: The Hebron Maple Festival will be held on March 16-17, 2019. There will be sugar houses, artisan, business, art and craft fair, quilt show and sale, health and wellness expo, sled dogs, tractor parade, tea cup auction, music, maple flavored food, and more. Free admission. Hours: 10am-4pm both days.
Norfolk Winter Farmers Market: The Norfolk Winter Farmers Market will be held on March 23, 2019. It’ll feature local produce, vegetables and fruits, herbs, mushrooms, cut flowers and plants, local meats, chickens, cheeses and eggs, breads and baked goods, honey and maple syrup, jams, jellies and pickles, handmade wares, and more. Enjoy live music and chef demos. Hours: 10am-1pm.
Willimantic Third Thursday Street Fest: Event will be held on May 16, 2019. Stroll through streets and enjoy musical, theatrical, visual and olfactory delights. Enjoy music and entertainment on four stages. It’ll host about 100 crafters and vendors selling artwork and goods produced in Connecticut. Relish delicious authentic international cuisine, beer, music, and soda. Free children’s activities. Free admission and parking. Hours: 6pm-9pm
Duck Day and Race: The Duck Day and Race will be held on June 2, 2019. There will be dancing, live entertainment, music, duck race, scavenger hunt game, dunk tank, carnival rides, vendors, crafters, kids’ games, bounce houses, slime station, and great food. Live music, strolling entertainment, scavenger hunt, games, bounce houses, crafters, vendors, prizes, food, and more. Free admission. Hours: 11am-4pm Hours: 11am-4pm in Naugatuck, CT
Milford Fair on the Green: Fair on the Green will be held on June 7-8, 2019. There will be more than 110 artists and craftspeople selling wooden furniture, pottery, jewelry, quilts, hand-dipped candles, tie-dyed clothing, silk and dried floral arrangements, pet treats, paintings, photography and gourmet food. Also explore and shop gently used household items like toys, jewelry, linens, books, clothing for men, women and children, and a Christmas boutique at the tag sale. Enjoy live entertainment and tasty treats. Hours: Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm
Still River Music Festival: The 3d Annual Still River Music Festival, in Memory of Joey Sexton to benefit AIMForABetterTomorrow and the Winsted Fire Department, held in beautiful Riverton Connecticut. This organic, local festival is growing in popularity and will feature various local musicians from the Connecticut and New England area, a variety of artists, entrepreneurs, shopping, food, beer and wine garden, Flow Farm fire artists, activities and more.
Enfield Fourth of July Town Celebration: The Fourth of July Town Celebration will be held on July 5-7, 2019. It’ll include a parade, concert, softball game, DJ, fun games, volleyball, photo station, demonstration, basketball tournament, road race, bungee run, car show, soccer tournament, children’s sidewalk chalk art contest, K-9 demonstration, craft and vendor marketplace, fireworks display and much more.
Litchfield Jazz Festival: The Litchfield Jazz Festival will be held on July 26-28, 2019. Enjoy great musical performances by local and national jazz artists. It’ll also include arts and crafts vendors, beer and wine and scrumptious food.
Other festivals: Potato and Corn Festival, August 2, 2019; Podunk Bluegrass Festival, August 8, 2019; Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, August 10, 2019
PLACE OF INTEREST
Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is a tidal estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, lying between the eastern shores of Bronx County, New York City, southern Westchester County, and Connecticut to the north, and the North Shore of Long Island, to the south. From east to west, the sound stretches 110 miles from the East River in New York City, along the North Shore of Long Island, to Block Island Sound. A mix of freshwater from tributaries and saltwater from the ocean, Long Island Sound is 21 miles at its widest point and varies in depth from 65 to 230 feet.
Hammonasset Beach State Park: Hammonasset Beach State Park is a public recreation area occupying two miles of beach front on Long Island Sound in the town of Madison, Connecticut. Hammonasset Beach has a variety of things to do! 3 different sections of the beach to choose from so it’s a little spread out and they are redoing all the areas! Bird watching is amazing as well as any other wildlife seen there! A conservation center is always a plus to add to a beach day to learn about some of the wildlife living in the area, as well as getting up close and personal with a touch tank with a variety of different species of animal! Worth a day trip!
Greenwich Point Park: Wonderful island/peninsula with s perimeter trail, varied views of Greenwich, Long Island sound. Rest rooms open even in November, with warm water and paper towels. Jewel of a town park. The peninsula has sweeping 360 views of Greenwich, Manhattan, Stamford, New Rochelle, Long Island, and the sound. Great for the beach, a walk, a picnic, fishing, learning to sail, flying a kite. Challenging access via downtown Old Greenwich’s traffic laden one lane roads. Great amenities, especially deck and bathrooms at newly restored Old Barn. If you don’t have a Greenwich resident park pass, stop at the civic center to pay the fee before you get there.
Calf Pasture Beach: Calf Pasture Beach is an historically significant park and beach in Norwalk, Connecticut. The area of the park lands is approximately .45 square miles. Pretty great beach. There is a ton of stuff to do here. Anything from baseball to volleyball to kayaking or just sun bathing and swimming. It stays clean for the most part it all depends on who goes and if they keep it clean themselves. They have a section of it that is all for grill and picnic areas. There is a ton of parking, but it’s sometimes hard to find a good spot depending on the day and time. They also have a mini golf course which is great for all ages. They also have a food area, but it’s a little over priced for what they offer. Over a great place. If you don’t have a resident pass I believe it’s like $25 for a day pass, but it’s worth it.
Lighthouse Point Park: An 1847 lighthouse anchors this beachfront that is popular with swimmers and a prime birding spot. Lovely place in New Haven. It is expensive for non-residents, but free for New Haven residents with proof of residency. The beach is small but a nice place to see the Long Island Sound; there are lots of tables and grassy areas for picnicking. A little playground right by the water for the kids and a splash pad in warmer weather. There is, a classical carousel is on the property for only 50 cents a ride. Really delightful place to spend an afternoon.
Seaside Park: Seaside Park, located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a 2.5-mile long crescent-shaped park bordering Bridgeport Harbor, Long Island Sound, and Black Rock Harbor. The park lies within Bridgeport’s South End neighborhood. The beach is having gentle waves making it easy for swimming and safe for children. There are numerous ball fields and picnic areas. There 2 small playground areas for the kids. There is roughly 1 mile of continuous sandy beach and almost 3 miles of seawall along which to walk or jog. One can fish in the non-beach sections of Seaside Park. There is also abandoned lighthouse on Faywerweather Island that can be reached by walking a rocky breaker leading to the Island. Seaside Park was created by Olmsted who designed Central Park in NYC and several parks in Europe. P.T. Barnum donated most of the land for the creation of Seaside Park.
Beardsley Zoo: This zoo is lovely! It’s very clean, a friendly staff, there are beautiful animals that are being saved and treated tremendously by this remarkable place. The Halloween decorations were very neat as well, a nice touch to the season! It’s not a big zoo but it is a fun one. Many exhibits had glass observation points and many places to escape the rain. This would be good for small children as a learning experience and just have fun. A must visit.
Discovery Museum: It is not crowded and keeps kids 1-10 years of age or even a little older occupied for 2 hours without much headache for the parents. All the rooms are well designed and interactive, and the planetarium show is great. If it is a life one for older kids and if it is a recording for younger kids. Great place!!
Connecticut State Capital: Hartford
Originally called Newtowne, Hartford was settled in 1636 by friends Thomas Hooker and Reverend Samuel Stone. Born in Hertford, England in 1602, Stone was a Puritan minister who traveled to America in 1633 in search of religious freedom. Together, Stone and Hooker led a Puritan congregation from Boston to Newtowne, which they re-named Hartford after Stone’s birthplace. From its origins as a Connecticut River trading post in 1633, Hartford has become not only the state capital but also the insurance capital of the world, with a slew of historical attractions, a thriving arts and entertainment center, a revitalized riverfront and beautiful parks and public gardens. Mark Twain’s home and fellow literary figures Harriet Beecher Stowe and Noah Webster are open to the public. Visit the observation deck of Travelers Tower, for a bird’s-eye view.
The Wadsworth Atheneum, the oldest public art museum in the U.S., houses Pilgrim-Century furniture, the Amistad collection and a special treasure hunt system to entice kids to explore the museum’s works.
The Mark Twain House & Museum: It was here that the lovable Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer were born in the imagination of celebrated author Mark Twain and immortalized on paper during the writer’s Hartford years. We recommend going on the Clue tour at the house, it can be a lot of fun; the actors are great. Also, do the living history tour because it can be something different than just regular tour of a historic home. It is a great experience to get the actual story of someone who lived in the house, instead of ” here is the kitchen”. It costs just a bit more, but well worth it. A great family tour of the Twain’s/Clemmons home. The guides are engaging, knowledgeable and funny and you’ll learn so much. The tour price us $20 for adults, $11 for teens.
Elizabeth Park: I love Elizabeth Park year-round, but especially in the summer. We enjoy the summer Concert Series on Wednesday evenings. If your timing is right (end of June, beginning of July), you’ll catch the Elizabeth Park rose gardens in bloom, but fall is also great for brilliant leaf colors, and spring yields colorful gardens and blossoming trees. It’s the oldest Rose Garden in the US and it’s tendered with pride and expertise. The Rose gardens are absolutely beautiful with hundreds of varieties of roses. The park setting allows for quiet time alone, for shared time with pets, couples, children, family and friends. Elizabeth Park is an absolute gem.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center: Even though this house is undergoing renovations the tour was wonderful. It’s fascinating if you are interested in historic homes and restoration. It will also be interesting once it is finished. The tour guide will tell a great deal about her and there are places to sit down to learn more about her beliefs and experiences. You’ll enjoy it a lot. You might be the only people in a group and basically get a private tour. The guide will give a good mix of telling about the history and letting you participate in the discussion. The center helps you think about social activism, race, sex, gender, economics, and so much more. You’ll especially like seeing how the image of Uncle Tom changed over time and leave with a better understanding of stereotypes and history lost in time. Go, and take your family!
Infinity Music Hall & Bistro: Brand new, not a bad seat in the house with the friendliest staff of any concert hall. It’s nice to go see a concert and not have to go thru tight security before entering. Sound is great. You’ll enjoy the performances by Southside Johnny. The layout is auditorium style with first floor single level seating and a mezzanine with tables. Bistro food is available in both a restaurant and in the mezzanine. The acoustics are excellent and there is an area where you can stand or dance in place.
There are direct flights from Tampa, lots to do and lots of places to stay
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