There are many fun things to do in Hartford. Although we are an insurance website, occasionally we stray off-topic to bring Connecticut consumers valuable information about the Constitution state. After all, Hartford is the “Insurance Capital Of The World, and one of our favorite cities, so we thought we would share 10 great places to visit.
Satan’s Kingdom State Recreation Area. It’s not what you think! We’re not sure how this great park got its name but we found no signs of Satan! Tubing down the Farmington River on a hot day is the highlight of anyone’s summer. There are two separate “rapids” and the water (as well as the park) is very clean.
You can rent tubes or bring your own. The cost is approximately $15-$20 which is quite reasonable. The second half of the river is much calmer with very few rapids. When your tubing is finished, a bus will take you back to your original destination. You can also walk along trails and find many other great outdoor activities.
Wadsworth Atheneum Many folks don’t realize that the oldest US public art museum is here in Hartford. If you have ever seen the building that look like a castle on Main Street, that’s probably the museum. It was built in 1842 and there are more than 50,000 French and American paintings, furniture, fine arts and porcelains.
Whether you prefer the Renaissance, ancient Rome, Greece or Egyptian artifacts, you’ll need more than an afternoon to see even a small portion of what’s available to the public. Many acquired pieces are our country’s first for that specific type of artifact and more than 5,000 years of history is covered.
Ski Sundown If you want to enjoy skiing, and prefer not to travel a great distance, this is the place to go. There are many trails, so both the novice and expert will be satisfied. Two of the most popular trails are Gunbarrel and Black Diamonds. Ski lessons are also available, although they can be a bit pricey, depending on how many you take.
With four-hour lift tickets, no charge for parking and a restaurant available, you can easily spend an entire day there. Night skiing is available as well as a well-maintained bar. The man-made snow is fairly realistic with very few complaints.
The Insurance Companies Wait a second! Do I really mean the insurance companies? That doesn’t sound like fun. Admittedly, it would not be very exciting for most of you. Probably just about all of you. But if you enjoy visiting large insurers, there are plenty of companies that operate out of Hartford, including Aetna, Phoenix Companies, Hartford, Lincoln National and Uniprise.
Although many others have scaled down their operations, Hartford is still a hub for major financial operations. And perhaps a “must see” is the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Building which was the first two-sided building in the world.
Connecticut Valley Winery This family-owned business has a little bit of everything for visitors. Of course, enjoying wine always helps. The tasting room is a great way to start your experience. There are plenty of red and wine choices provided by the Ferraro family, and unless you actually do some tasting, there is no charge.
There’s an outside dining area along with fireplace seating inside during the colder months. The combination of lovely landscapes and views make it a great destination to sit and relax with a glass (or bottle) of wine. The Winery is located on Litchfield Turnpike in New Hartford.
Mark Twain House In the late 1800′s, Twain and his family resided here. As one of the most recognized US writers, it’s always an interesting for history and literary buffs. But most other visitors seem to enjoy spending time (not too much!) at the house. There is a gift shop and a small theater to help make the trip worthwhile.