Connecticut

Connecticut

Connecticut lies between New York on the west, Massachusetts to the north, Rhode Island to the east, and Long Island Sound to the south.   The state is a mix of metropolis and small town, woodlands and coastline, The state can have the flavor of New England or New York City, depending on where you are. International business, insurance companies, hiking, camping, and farms coexist here. Connecticut is also home to world-renowned colleges and universities.
The state has legally supported the LGBT community beginning in 1990 when the legislature included gays and lesbians in a hate crimes law. From then on, Connecticut passed an anti-discrimination law (1991), and laws allowing gay adoption (2000) and civil unions (2005). In 2008, same-sex marriages began. A state-wide gay and lesbian chamber of commerce and a LGBT business resource group promote business opportunity and provide networking and education within the business community.

 

Northern Connecticut

Litchfield Hills

Litchfield Hills is in the northwest corner of Connecticut, adjacent to New York and south of Massachusetts, where the landscape is gently rolling, interspersed with farmland and rural towns. Hiking opportunities are many, from following a section of the Appalachian Trail, to trails through several state forests that afford views of mountains in Massachusetts and New York, or even views of Island Sound. Rivers and lakes in the region are great for fishing, boating, canoeing. Snowboarding, skiing, and a ski jump festival keep the outdoor spirit throughout the winter. If you’re more the hibernating type, a weekend stay at an inn in the region can be just as satisfying. Or better yet, if you like the rural life, but with an easy jaunt to New York City, consider relocating to Litchfield Hills.

Heritage Valley    

Connecticut’s Heritage Valley is the north-central portion of the Connecticut River Valley. Massachusetts is to the north, and the city of Hartford lies to the south. The area’s historical importance creates a sense of place, from the oldest town in the state, to a colonial prison and iron mine, to a tobacco-farming past. You don’t have to be into American history to enjoy Heritage Valley. Architecture from Revolutionary War times coexists nicely with an air museum and an auto speedway.

Quiet Corner

Quiet Corner is the descriptive term for northeastern Connecticut. Recently, the region’s name evolved into something even more idyllic: The Last Green Valley, and was expanded to include a few towns in Massachusetts. Yes, the area is green, but in fact, the name refers to the one patch of darkness in the sea of lights that runs from Boston to Washington D.C., as seen from space. Over three-quarters of the Last Green Valley is open space, dissected by the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers, and dotted with farms and small towns. The environment is healthy, with its clean water, diverse wildlife, and air-cleaning forests. Add in the opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking and kayaking, and the region is the perfect place to raise a family.

 

Southern Connecticut

Coastal Fairfield County

The western portion of Fairfield County is as close to New York City as you can get, while still calling yourself a New Englander. Seen from Interstate 95, the region looks quite urban, with high rise financial companies in Bridgeport and Stamford, and commuter rail edging the highway. The region is sometimes known as the Gold Coast, due to its reputation for wealth and affluent communities. But don’t think that’s all there is. The coastline, wildlife sanctuaries, museums, historic architecture, and centers devoted to the arts, to name a few attractions, are out of sight from the highway, but there just the same.

Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline

After a journey of 410 miles that begins in New Hampshire near Canada, the Connecticut River crosses Connecticut and empties into Long Island Sound between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme, Connecticut. The southern portion begins south of Hartford, narrowing and flowing through wooded areas and past small towns, such as Essex and Deep River, widening as it moves south. Boating, swimming, and fishing are prime activities here, as well as observing a broad range of wildlife. Eagles, peregrine falcons, bobcat, and bear populate the area. The river becomes tidal, mixing with salt water, as it empties a high volume of silt into Long Island Sound. Silt may preclude a harbor, but not coastal recreation. Ocean beaches are nearby, and a lighthouse guards the mouth of the river at Fenwick Point near Saybrook. A museum in Essex celebrates the Connecticut River, and educates visitors about its history and ecosystems.

Coastal Mystic

A world-famous aquarium, a planetarium, a maritime museum with a recreated 19th century coastal village celebrating the history of seafaring in America, and a museum that features the first nuclear-powered submarine are chief attractions in this area. The city of Stonington was an important port during the Revolutionary War, and New London had a major role in the whaling industry. Today these cities reflect the past in their architecture, antique shops, and quaint main streets. New London has the added resource of several colleges and a Coast Guard Academy.

Eastern Connecticut

Mystic

The eastern portion of the Mystic Region features two casinos where gambling mixes with entertainment and Native American history. These areas, close in proximity, are resorts as well, set in the eastern Connecticut countryside. A Native American museum and research center is located here, managed by the tribe that runs one of the casinos. Archaeological data, artifacts, and historical data are housed here.

 

Western Connecticut

Housatonic Valley

Housatonic Valley is located on Connecticut’s western border with New York. The Litchfield Hills region lies to the north and Fairfield County is to the south. The Housatonic River passes through the region on its way south to Long Island Sound. Danbury is the largest city in the region, and one of its attractions is its railway museum, reflecting its railroad importance from days past. Several towns in the area have historic downtowns.

 

Metro Areas

Hartford/Greater Hartford

Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, offering employment opportunities and other benefits of an urban area to surrounding communities, such as the arts, and specialized medical care. The insurance industry based here is a great economic resource and employer. The Greater Hartford area also includes Springfield, Massachusetts, along with towns that lie in adjacent regions of Connecticut. You can enjoy a rural lifestyle in Hartford environs for the price of a commute. West Hartford, is one of the best communities in the region in which to raise a family or to grow old in.

New Haven/Greater New Haven

This region comprises New Haven and the towns surrounding the city. New Haven has a reputation for excellent schools, notably Yale University and its medical school. In addition to education, New Haven has an affinity for the arts, including the performing arts. A well-regarded natural history museum rounds out the resources the city has to offer.
The Greater New Haven region, which includes New Haven, is joined together by a regional planning council which addresses land use and transportation issues. This cooperation is indicative of a cohesiveness between the towns and cities in the region. Coastal communities offer beautiful beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, and boat tours of a group of 100 to 300 small rocky islands called the Thimble Islands. Towns that are further from the coast offer hiking, biking, and bird-watching opportunities.

Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk Metro Area (Fairfield County)

In addition to being the most populous city in Connecticut, Bridgeport is part of a larger metro area that includes the cities of Stamford and Norwalk. These cities are unlikely partners as Stamford and nearby Greenwich are exceedingly wealthy, while Bridgeport has not yet found a healthy economic footing. It is a study in the social issues that confront America in the 21st century. Norwalk is part of the mix, somewhere in the middle, physically as well as economically.
The only similarities between these communities may well be that they all front Long Island Sound and they are within commuting distance of New York City.
Besides economic factors, idiosyncratic differences exist. Bridgeport was once home to P.T. Barnum, and a museum dedicated to the circus owner’s legacy is located within the city. Norwalk owns 25 islands in Long Island Sound which are used mostly for recreation. Stamford is home to NBC Sports, and the Royal Bank of Scotland moved its North American operations center here.

 

New York City Metro

New York City is within 30 miles of Stamford-arguably a commutable distance, but the entire New York Metro area includes Fairfield County (Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk) and up the coast to New Haven and New Haven County, representing a wide urban influence on New England’s southernmost state.