The State Capitol is a magnificent building, set in a nice park that I liked a lot - with beautiful views of downtown. The tour was VERY interesting. We learned about Connecticut's history, a bit about the architecture of the State Capitol, a lot about the political system and we saw the rooms where the legislative meets (Two chambers actually - and we discussed with the tour guide why TWO chambers are necessary.) We were amazed about how close to the people the senators/representatives are. We even walked into the Governor's office and signed the guestbook. Too bad she wasn't there at that moment.
As for facts, the building was designed by Richard M. Upjohn and erected from 1872 to 1879. Only expensive material was used: marble and granite for the exterior facade is accented by the gold leaf dome. Inside you find white marble and red slate from Connecticut and colored marble from Italy as well as beautiful stained glass windows designed by Boston interior decorator William James McPherson.
A must in Hartford is the tour of the State Capitol. Free guided tours are offered Monday-Friday (Year-round) 9:15/10:15/11:15/12:15/1:15 (Also 2:15 in July and August), booklets for a self-guided tour (during office hours 8 am - 5 pm) are also available. On Saturdays (only April-Oct) guided tours are offered at the same times, but no self-guided tours are possible. Reservations in advance are recommended but not a must. The ticket counter is on the first floor, west entrance in the Legislative Office Building.
The guide will pick you up at the ticket counter and walk with you through an underground passageway to the old State Capitol.
The Wadsworth Atheneum is the oldest public art museum in the United States, with significant holdings of French and American Impressionist paintings, Hudson River School landscapes, modernist masterpieces and contemporary works, as well as extensive holdings in early American furniture and decorative arts.
Note: The museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday (closed on Monday).
The Greater Hartford Welcome Center is conveniently located on Pratt Street in the Hartford city center. The woman in the office was extremely helpful, and they have many maps and brochures of interest. Before exploring Hartford, I would highly recommend that you make this welcome center your first stop.
The Travelers Tower is Hartford's tallest building -- and there is an observation deck if you want to get a good view. At 34 stories in height, the tower reaches 527 feet above street level and has a flashing red beacon during the daytime as an aid to air navigation.
Bushnell Park is an oasis of green in the Hartford city center. Within the park, there are many impressive monuments. There is also a lovely carousel that has limited hours of operation (it was closed on the days that I visited).
On a street in Bushnell Park, you will see the impressive Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch made of brownstone in the Gothic and Romanesque revival style. The arch was dedicated on September 17, 1886 in honor of the 4,000 Hartford citizens who served in the Civil War, including 400 who died in Union uniforms.
Overlooking Hartford's 41 acre Bushnell Memorial Park, the Connecticut State Capitol first opened for the General Assembly in January, 1879. James G. Batterson oversaw the building of the Capitol from plans designed by noted architect Richard M. Upjohn. This impressive structure is in the High Victorian Gothic style.
Completed in 1796, the Old State House is generally believed to have been designed by American architect Charles Bulfinch. The exterior building and the Senate have been restored to its original Federal style; the Representative's chamber is Victorian, and the halls and courtroom are Colonial Revival.
Outside the Old State House, there is a small square with an area to sit. Within this small square, there is a statue of Thomas Hooker, a famous pastor, who delivered a sermon on May 31, 1638 with his vision of how Hartford should govern itself:
"The foundation of authority is laid, firstly, in the free consent of the people," he said. He went on to argue that the "choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by God's own allowance" and that "they who have the power to appoint officers and magistrates, it is in their power also to set the bounds and limitations of the power and the place unto which they call them."
Thomas Hooker's sermons formed the basis of Hartford's Fundamental Orders, considered by some to be the world's first written constitution. It's why Connecticut came to be known as the Constitution State.
There is an unusual area in the city with huge boulders. Stone Field Sculpture, which was created in 1977, consists of eight rows of boulders in a triangular shape, so that the first row contains one large boulder, and the eighth row eight smaller boulders. The stones are of local rock, and were chosen so that their composition reflects the makeup of rock in the area.
Erected in 1899 and presented by John Corning (Corning Glass Works of New York) as a tribute to his father, a Hartford businessman who operated a grist mill on the site. The monument is made of marble and stone, 30 feet tall, with the figure of a stag (or "Hart" for Hartford) surrounded by Saukiog Indians, the city's first inhabitants. It is quite lovely .
The magnificent state Capitol building canned be viewed form Bushnell Park. The park was created to provide a proper setting for this imposing building. The building, opened in 1878, and cost $3 million, which must have been an enormous amount back then.
Its been a long time since I was on a carousel but who could resist this gorgeous antique one. Its been around since 1914. It features 36 jumper horses, 12 stander horses, two chariots and a Wurlitzer 153 band organ, which grinds out tinkling carousel tunes that hearken back to yesteryear.
All for only $1.00 a ride.
Hartford has a good selection of music venues . We went specifically to see a Tom Petty at New England Dodge Music Center. It was a great concert . Its a great theater and there's always something going on . It is close to downtown so we walked there which was nice.
The Park has a wide variety of plants, but it's most known for its wide variety of roses. Best time to see the roses are in Late June to early July.
I am personal fan of this park, I like to spend nice sunny days in the park either just sitting on blanket, BBQing there, or feeding the ducks.
Hartford offers variety of activities, arts and cultures. XLCenter hosts events from Ice Hokey games, music concerts, to circus. Visit the Old State House, take the Amistad tour, and get to know...