Connecticut: Unexceptional and Ordinary

Philip Santos Moreira

Philip Santos Moreira

Philip Santos Moreira is the Contributing Editor at Global Storybook (Portugal/USA).
You can read more about Philip here.
Philip Santos Moreira

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I was born in Danbury, Connecticut in 1991 and have been living in the state my entire life.  Fortunately, I have seen much more than just this state.  The state of Connecticut is not a tourists’ dream location.  In movies Connecticut is only ever represented by our most prestigious university, Yale (ranked 11th in the world[1]), or by quaint streets with homes surrounded by white picket fences and stay-at-home moms with an overworked husband never around to be with the kids.[2]

Our cities are small and unappealing by most standards which would attract you to a city.  Yes, we have “night clubs,” bars, good restaurants, tall buildings, and to some degree we might have a park.  When I wander a nice city I am always inclined to have my camera and take photos.  However, in our cities I never have my camera.  Maybe I am missing something.  Perhaps I am blind to the beauty because I have seen it so many times and have come to take it for granted.  I do not think that to be the case though…

Sunset in Danbury, CT

Sunset in Danbury, CT

What I do enjoy about Connecticut is the blend of urban and nature.  Most towns have a central main street or “common” area while the residential homes are separated from the main road and extend outward giving everyone their space and an iconic backyard for the kids to play.  If you prefer the dense air and congestion of a city, than much of Connecticut is not for you.  American’s love the suburban style of Connecticut for raising their kids; the dream stems from America’s early history when the wealthy moved into the suburbs to be away from the city but close enough to commute for work.

Hiking through not-so-difficult terrain is what you will find in Connecticut.  We don’t have snow covered mountains or aggressive rock formations for climbing or anything of the sort.  Should you enjoy leisurely walks through forested areas and simply want to admire the nature you will be pleased.

I would recommend Kent, Connecticut [3] as this area has many hiking areas and the [very] small town is rather charming, especially during the fall.  Warning: Connecticut is where the original diagnosis for Lyme disease was made and thus it is endemic to New England.  The disease is transmitted by the deer tick (Ixodes ticks).  Additionally, this parasite is now known to transmit babesiosis and ehrlichiosis.  Tick precautions should be taken or you should frequently check your clothing (during and after) and your skin after hiking.  I have personally pulled several off my clothing during one hike.  

In my very own Danbury, CT you can hike through Tarrywile Park which covers 722 acres (almost 3 square kilometers).[4]  I have taken a friend from Poland and family from Portugal to Tarrywile and everyone has agreed they enjoyed the outing.  On the other side of the state, near the university I attended, is another pretty little hike called Diana’s Pool in Chaplin, CT.[5]

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Diana’s Pool is basically a river hike where you will find yourself either on the bank or cutting across the river itself from rock to rock.  I highly recommend it should you be in any proximity.

Hiking Diana's Pool

Hiking Diana’s Pool

 Kent, CT

Hiking Kent

UCONN in Storrs, CT

UCONN in Storrs, CT

If you like sports and appreciate basketball than Connecticut does have something to offer you in that respect.  The University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT has one of the best college basketball teams in the entire country in both men’s and woman’s.  Tickets are relatively cheap compared to an NBA match and shouldn’t be too much of a problem to get. Students also sell tickets should they have tickets and not be able to attend a match.  The season extends from November to to March.

I am a huge lover of food and I have various tastes ranging from Indian to Korean to South American.  What exactly is American food though?  I had this discussion with a close friend of mine and we agreed that the iconic 24 hour diner, sandwich deli, BBQ, and the hamburger would be considered very American.

You can find many good diners and delis. The best BBQ will be found in the South of the US.  You can also find amazing hamburgers all over the country.  But, did you know that Connecticut was the birthplace of the hamburger?[7]  Probably not!  My personal favorite place in the state is Plan B Burger Bar.  Try the Philisteak or Cuban Burger.[6]  The Cuban was probably one of the most delicious I have ever eaten, right after my very own Sirloin/Lamb Slider Burger (for a later post).

America is made of various people and cultures from around the world.  Besides the hamburger, Pizza or Italian food in general, is everywhere.  I have eaten pizza in Napoli and the rest of Italy.  I have tried pizza in countless other countries throughout Europe including Albania and Portugal.  I have eaten pizza many times in the United States.

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My favorite places ever to eat pizza so far have been in Napoli; handmade by my Napolitano friend while I was visiting in Stuttgart, Germany; and at Camille’s Wood Fired Pizza in Tolland, CT.[8]  I swear by it on my life that besides Napoli or in the hands of my Italian friend, Camille’s Wood Fired Pizza is the best pizza I have ever had. If you’re in Connecticut you must stop at Camille’s.

Camille's Wood Fired Pizza

Camille’s Wood Fired Pizza

If you are visiting the United States I would skip over this tiny state.  While it can be charming, particularly during the fall season, there really is nothing extra special about the state.  If you are passing through, my suggestions might be worthwhile.

I hope you enjoyed the post and find it useful!

-Philip

My Recommendations:

  • Visiting during Autumn when the leaves change colors
  • Hiking in Kent (preferably during Autumn) or Diana’s Pool in Chaplin, CT
  • Yale University and its’ associated museums
  • University of Connecticut Men’s or Women’s Basketball Game
  • Plan B Burger Bar (Stamford, Milford, Fairfield, Glastonbury, Simsbury, & West Hartford)
  • Camille’s Wood Fired Pizza (Tolland, CT)

References:

  1. “The 100 Best Universities in the World Today | The Best Schools.” The Best Schools. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. <http://www.thebestschools.org/features/100-best-universities-in-world-today/>.
  2. Revolutionary Road (2008). Nominated for 3 Oscars and the winner of a Golden Globe
  3. “Hike Litchfield Hills Berkshire Mountains Housatonic Hudson Hiking  – Fairfield County Westchester County Pioneer Valley Hampshire Valley Berkshire County – Great Hikes BerkshireHiking.Com.” Hike Litchfield Hills Berkshire Mountains Housatonic Hudson Hiking  – Fairfield County Westchester County Pioneer Valley Hampshire Valley Berkshire County – Great Hikes BerkshireHiking.Com. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. <http://berkshirehiking.com/hikes/nw_ct.html>.
  4. “Tarrywile Park & Mansion.” Trails & Maps. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. <http://tarrywile.com/park/trails>.
  5. “Connecticut Waterfalls – Diana’s Pool.” Connecticut Waterfalls – Diana’s Pool. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. <http://www.ctwaterfalls.com/falls/main.php?Diane1>.
  6. “B Restaurants – Bourbon – Burgers – Beer.” B Restaurants – Bourbon – Burgers – Beer. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. <http://www.bourbonburgersbeer.com/flash.html>.
  7. Rosa L. DeLauro (2000). Louis’ Lunch. The Library of Congress.
  8. Camille’s Wood Fired Pizza. Web. 12 Apr. 2016. <http://camillespizza.com/>.

Photography by: Philip Moreira Photography

Instagram: Philipm814

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