Located in Cromwell, the Champions Skating Center has a gorgeous facility designed for regional hockey teams, figure skating enthusiasts or Olympic hopefuls. Some of the greatest skaters in recent history have made Connecticut their home and this is where they have trained for gold. Skaters like Oksana Baiul and Viktor Petrenko of the Ukraine have trained and taught here. Come during open hours to glide upon the ice or watch the Zamboni machine do its magic.
Across from scenic Gillette Castle State Park and the Goodspeed Opera House is the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry. A Seasonal means of transport across the mighty Connecticut River, the ferry is a popular means of crossing the river during the summer months. It's more than a tourist attraction- it's an educational outing for children and adults into the workings of a modern-day ferry. Drive your car or bike, or come on foot to cross the river. Youngsters might remember this from the popular children's book Ferryboat by Betsy & Giulio Maestro.
Opened in 1969, the Lyman Orchards Golf Course is located on the property of the famous Lyman Orchards,one of Connecticut's best pick-your-own farms. The site contains two 18-hole courses, the Jones Course and the Player Course. With reasonable rates and excellent facilities, the Lyman Orchards Golf Club is a great place to tee off or come for private lessons. Where else could you go pick up a hot apple pie when done with tee time?
One of the state's best places to get an apple pie or pick-your-own fruit, Lyman Orchards offers fresh, local produce at great prices. There are a slew of annual events at the Orchards, starting with the Apple Hunt at Easter, where the Easter Bunny puts aside his candy for some healthy apples. During the summer months, there is the Sunflower Maze, and then if visiting in September and October, stop by the Corn Maze, which is spread across four acres of property. If golf is your game, there are two golf courses on the premise at the Golf Club. You will never run out of things to do at Lyman Orchards!
67 River Road East Haddam, CT 06423 +1 860 526 2336
Stage actor William Gillette, known for playing Sherlock Holmes on Broadway for several years, had this unique mansion built top the Seven Sisters hills alongside the Connecticut River in East Haddam, a short ride from Hartford. The peculiar castle is made of stone and contains bizarre features, such as strange door knobs and puzzle locks. The 115-acre State Park is a treat for adults and children.
6 Main Street East Haddam, CT 06423 +1 860 873 8668
Built in 1876, the Goodspeed Opera House is a gem of American musical theater. Location of the first casts of Broadway hits such as The Man of La Mancha and Annie, the Goodspeed brings together some of the country's best musical theater performers for unforgettable shows, many from America's forgotten past. There are three new musicals done each season at the Opera House and new productions are done at the Norma Terris Theatre just up the road. Winner of numerous regional theater Tony Awards, the Goodspeed aims to provide a unique theater-going experience to everyone in the intimate, the 19th-century theater is a must-see of the Connecticut River Valley.
Ride the historic Essex Steam Train and Riverboat to take in the luscious scenery of the Connecticut River Valley. It is especially wonderful during the autumn with the lovely foliage, or at Christmastime with the Santa Special and the North Pole Express. The changing leaves along the river in the fall offer splendid views of the area from the comfort of an old-fashioned steam train. There are also opportunities for learning about locomotives with special programs designed to teach youngsters how to conduct these vintage trains. Adults can take a special dinner train and enjoy a three-course meal in restored Pullman cars. Check the website for schedules and pricing.
24 Town House Road Durham, CT 06422 +1 203 777 8550(Tourist Information)/+1 800 332 7819(Toll Free)
Durham Fairgrounds is home to a multitude of local fairs and festivities during certain times of the year. Every September, the people of Durham show their neighbors how to party! Going strong since 1916, the Durham Fairgrounds hosts the Durham Fair: an agricultural festival that is the largest of its kind in the state. A long list of competitions, pulling contests, educational exhibits, souvenir booths, games, rides, live music and other performances keep the community busy while a variety of different food vendors keep everybody's stomachs full of mouthwatering delicacies. Call the Greater New Haven Convention & Visitors Bureau for more details.
For just a moment you might think you are in an exclusive French winery, elegant and inviting, but you are at the Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, about just north of exit 63 on I-95, about a half-hour drive east of New Haven. Situated between the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound, this winery has been producing award winning Chardonnays and other wines since 1983. Its wines are carried in hundreds of stores throughout Connecticut and appear on select menus in Manhattan. Before or after a tour of the winery, stop at the nearby Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets.
The Benton Museum at the University of Connecticut is one of the state's leading fine art museums. Opened in 1967, this museum offers exciting art exhibits, events and educational possibilities not just for UConn students for for students from around the area. After a few hours at the museum, shop by The Store where you can pick up some prints or grab a coffee and snack at The Beanery.
The Ramada Plaza Hartford Downtown (formerly a Crowne Plaza property)
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