Connecticut Overview and history Kent Chocolatier & restaurant Belgique Farmington Hill-Stead museum Hartford Mark Twain Home Articles Yankee | Mark Twain Other pages other states | articles
This is an extract of the main sights in this state, with small photos. You will find the full description and full-sized photos in my e-book View America: New England
In the travel series View America, this book describes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Each state is described with its own brief historical background and its main sights, points of interest and tourist attractions.
It is not a traditional travel story, but a non-commercial and more or less objective chronicle of an in-depth exploration of these states. My book does not describe lodgings, restaurants or entertainment, except where these may interact with the narrative. It is illustrated with more than 100 full-sized photos.
CONNECTICUT is one of the thirteen original colonies, and it derives its name from the Indian Quinnehtukqut, which means "beside the long tidal river". The state is also known as the Constitution State, because already in 1639 the "Fundamental Orders" were voted into law, which can be seen as the first written constitution. Other nicknames are the Nutmeg State, given the mighty efforts of the residents to sell nutmeg in the years 1700 and 1800, and the Arsenal of the Nation, as the state was one of the major weapons suppliers during and after the American Revolution.
In 1788 Connecticut became the fifth state to join the US. Hartford is the capital and the largest city is Bridgeport. The state has approximately 3.4 million inhabitants, with a density of 273 per km2. It is the third smallest state in the US, with a surface area of 14,000 km2. The forestation is approximately 60% and the animal stock consists of the red fox, skunk, wood chuck, muskrat, raccoon, gray squirrel, coyote and opossum. The deer are working on a strong come back.
Connecticut developed rapidly after the American Revolution (1775-1783), from an agricultural to an industrial state, thanks to the large amount of water energy and a remarkable number of imaginative residents and traders. In 1710 the state already produced nails and in 1749 the brass industry developed. In 1770 the weapons industry came into being, and it played a prominent role until well after World War II. The first atomic submarine was built in Connecticut in 1954.
The state was also famous for its hats (Danbury), and watches (Watertown). Finally, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, which would play an extraordinary role in the cotton industry.
THINGS TO SEE
The settlement of Connecticut was the origin of the name Yankee !
The drive to Kent leads through a sea of lush greenery, relatively closely built, at least to American standards. The intermediate towns look more like European villages, and one could imagine being in the Belgian Ardennes.
The city of Kent is located next to the state border with New York, and it constitutes a sort of "hub" for many well-to-do people, living in both states. Not only wealthy Connecticut industrialists have their homes here, but many New York families have also fled the heavy taxes in their state. Furthermore, Connecticut houses many heirs of large family fortunes, the so called Old Money. Some of these facts can easily be deduced from the sheer size and looks of the estates...
The Belgian Chocolatier and Chef Pierre Gilissen is an energetic thirty-year-old, married to an American citizen. He earned his spurs in a Belgian restaurant, Le Château Hideux, and then worked as chef-cook of the Belgian Ambassador in Washington. In 2000, he opened the patisserie and chocolaterie Belgique in Kent, and he makes Belgian pastries and sells Belgian chocolate such as Callebaut and Côte d'Or. He also opened a Salon de The, where the food is outstanding !
Pierre Gilissen told us that his culinary Gourmet Cooking makes no major concessions to the American taste, but to the contrary sets specific limitations for his customers. The waiting time will definitely be longer than in a fast food chain, the taste will be different, there are no take-out meals, etcetera... Nevertheless, his customers appreciate his perfect Cooking Artistry !