Being a foodie myself I need to write a tip about local food, right? Probably not exactly 'local', more like 'American' in general, but for Germans quite new is the food with name "corn on the cob".
Of course we had meals at our friends' home. On one of those we had green salad, corn on the cob and grilled beef fillet, red wine and afterwards a dessert plus (decaf) coffee/tea. "Corn on the cob" is the culinary term for a cooked ear of freshly-picked maize from a cultivar of sweet corn. They boiled the ears of corn without their green husks if I recall correctly and then served them with butter and salt.
Well, we simply called it "applefest", the pronounciation the same in English and German (Saxon Dialect, LOL).
The best opportunity to get in contact with locals is always on local festivals IMO. Ok, we stayed with our friends, so that was even closer contact. However, since our friends were involved in organising some stuff for the applefest they suggested we visit the festival with them. And it was fun! Very relaxed atmosphere, wide variety of food, good live music, funny little vehicles etc. The applefest was obviously a big deal in town. We were surprised by the variety of things that were offered. The craftwork was amazing. Our friend was involved in a charity event: his club had set up a booth where - for a small donation - everyone could have a photo taken of themselves with the biggest pumpkin of the year in the area - and truly, the pumpkin weighed 476 lbs., the biggest I have ever seen. We also had some tasty food (chicken if I recall correctly), bought a bit chocolate here, had a cookie-tasting there.
One highlight was the ride on an original school bus, used as shuttle between the parking lot in town and the festival ground. To be a kid again :-)
5. Cab drivers are NOT paid by the hour & THE DRIVER pays for the gas, so please be considerate of the driver's time & money by not doing things that will cause a driver to go to your location for nothing. (e.g. calling more than 1 cab co., calling for a cab & then walking or taking a ride or jumping in another co.'s cab that just happened by (at least call & cancel the cab you ordered if you do one of these!), requesting more cabs than you need for a large party because you didn't really count, calling for a cab when you don't have the money (if you're not sure, ASK when you call for the cab how much it will be).
6. AT THE TRAIN/BUS STATION: If you come in by bus or train & only need a cab for a short distance, you'll have the best luck getting a cab to take you by going to the back of the cab line, to the drivers with less time invested in the line. (Yes, those cabs at the curb ARE a line, not just parked; so A) generally, you should go to the front of the line, to the drivers who've been waiting the longest for a job, and B) PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if you're driving, DON'T PARK OR EVEN "STAND" IN THE CAB LINE! If you turn from Asylum onto Spruce St., that whole stretch of curb from the driveway to the crosswalk is CABS ONLY, & private cars there really get in the way of the line moving up!. There are spaces on the other side of the crosswalk, and if you're staying in the car waiting for someone, you can even sit on the other side of the street even tho' it says "No Parking."
7. And above all, tip your cab driver! 8^) (Hey, if you can afford to go out on the town, you can afford to tip the driver who's getting you home in one piece and without a DUI the same as you tipped the waitress who got you drunk in the first place, right?)
If you're looking for event parking, try the street before paying for a garage; you don't have to feed the meters at night (after 6, I think). If you're going to the Bushnell Memorial (concert/theater venue, not the park), there's free parking in the state lot across Capitol Ave.
But if you're going to the bar district, use the paid parking lots--I know of someone who parked on the street early in the evening & later in the evening the police put up no parking cones & had their car towed! Also be aware that the police block off various streets in the bar district about 1:15-1:30 am Fri. & Sat. night (technically Sat. & Sun. morning), theoretically to assist in the exiting of all the parked cars, so you'll find it difficult to get INTO that area then; & if you're here for any length of time don't think you're going to figure out WHICH streets they're going to block, because they keep changing it every weekend!
1. Generally, expect to sit in the back seat.
2. If you're going a long distance, the driver may ask for the money up front. They are allowed to do this, don't get personally insulted. Realize that the driver doesn't know you from Adam & not getting paid for a long job puts a big dent in that shift's earnings. (not only the lost money, but lost time waiting for & dealing with the police)
3. Most of the cabs in the area can take credit cards, but you should say when you call for the cab you want to use a credit card, and again when you get in the cab; they're going to want to verify the card before going. They're also going to want to make an imprint of the card, so you must have the actual card, not just the account number.
4. Cabs are by law not supposed to take more than 4 passengers; you MAY find a driver willing to break that rule, but don't expect it, and PLEASE don't demand it or offer some "big tip" if they'll do that after they've already said no (is your tip going to make up for the loss of income if the driver loses his license, just to save you a few bucks?). If you call for a cab & know you have more than 4, TELL them how many cabs you need based on no more than 4 apiece.
In the Executive Office building near the state capital, there is a tribute to the Connecticut victims of the World Trade Center attack. Many of the cards and letters are quite personal, it can be emotional to read.
In general, people are courteous and kind to their neighboors. They value traditions and old customs through things are changing fast. Stop by to join the town fairs, apple picking, tag sales,...