Connecticut – Days 1-2: Another Traveler, More Authors, and More Dinosaurs

I spent my first night in Connecticut in New London. That night my host took me to a local bar for a drink. It was your typical sports bar, nothing special. The following morning I met up with a fellow traveler for lunch at Washington Street Coffee House, in New London. The traveler’s name was Mike and we had tried meeting up earlier when we were both in Massachusetts, but I didn’t start my day early enough to meet him. He is also traveling to all 50 states, though at a much quicker pace than I am. It was nice to chat with a fellow traveler and hear about cool places I should check out when I get to the states he’s already been to. The food at Washington Street Coffee House was delicious. I had the Veggie breakfast: sautéed veggies, with two fried eggs, and wheat toast. It was delightful, and only $7 (though Mike paid).

After lunch I drove to Hartford, CT and went to the Mark Twain Museum to tour Mark Twain’s house. I really hate guided tours, I prefer going my own pace and having people on hand to ask questions if I have them, but they only let you in the house if you’re on a tour… The tour was an hour long, which was probably twice as long as it needed to be. Oh well, at least with my museum pass I didn’t have to pay $19 for it… They wouldn’t let us take pictures on the inside of the house, which is fine because it’s mostly just a theatre set anyway, period pieces but not much original to the house, so whatever.

Mark Twain's (aka Samuel Clemens's) house in Hartford, CT.

Mark Twain’s (aka Samuel Clemens’s) house in Hartford, CT.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Museum is right next door, so I went over and checked it out. I only looked around the gift shop and surrounding exhibit because that was free. I figured the house tour would be similar to Mark Twain’s and I was not really in the mood for another too-long guided tour.

Then I went back to the Mark Twain Museum and walked around the exhibits there. They had a number of artifacts from Twain’s travels paired with quotes from his books. It was pretty interesting, but we also weren’t allowed to take pictures in there, so…yeah. That pretty much wrapped up my first day in Connecticut.

My second day in Connecticut I was going to check out the Wadsworth Atheneum, but I didn’t do my research and it’s closed on Tuesdays. Oops. I ended up wandering around downtown Hartford, and stumbled upon the Bushnell Plaza Sculpture Garden. It wasn’t terribly exciting.

Bushnell Sculpture Garden, Hartford, CT.

Bushnell Sculpture Garden, Hartford, CT.

I wandered around Hartford some more and then headed back to the car. On the way I came up behind the Connecticut Capitol Building, which is really stunning. I wouldn’t mind working there…

Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford, CT.

Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford, CT.

Next up was Dinosaur State Park which I always used to drive by on Mondays when I lived in Connecticut…when they’re not open. It was actually pretty cool. On the way to the building they have a walkway that gives a visual representation of the history of the Earth. I love visuals like that because they always puts things into such perspective.

A Walk Through Time, from the beginning of Earth to modern times, (humans are way at the top about the size of a fingernail), Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, CT.

A Walk Through Time, from the beginning of Earth to modern times, (humans are way at the top about the size of a fingernail), Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, CT.

Inside the museum there are all these fossilized dinosaur tracks and a bunch of cool facts about how they became fossils and how we found them. As usual, I loved the interactive exhibits. Especially this one where you could guess which dinosaur left which tracks:

I love being a footprint detective! Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, CT.

I love being a footprint detective! Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, CT.

I was a little disappointed that the lighting wasn’t better over the main track area. I mean, I’m all for preserving the fossils for future generations, but at least illuminate them properly so people can see them. Especially if you’re going to charge $6.

Seriously, why is the lighting so terrible? Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, CT.

Seriously, why is the lighting so terrible? Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, CT.

They also had a life-size model of a Dilophosaurus, which I thought was pretty cool:

Full-scale Dilophosaurus, designed by Donald Baird and dinosaur artist Gregory Paul, fabricated by the Richard Rush Studio, Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, CT.

Full-scale Dilophosaurus, designed by Donald Baird and dinosaur artist Gregory Paul, fabricated by the Richard Rush Studio, Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, CT.

How exactly does one become a Dinosaur Artist? I think I’d like to do that. So yeah, the first couple days of Connecticut were good.

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