Ten New England Cities to Explore during the Fall Season

There is no more magical place (IMO) to be during the fall season than New England. (Sidebar: Although, I would probably say that for every season!). Many people descend on New England towns for the foliage, the festivals, and the food!.And while those are great reasons to visit, they won’t necessarily keep your kids as engaged as you might hope. A couple of years ago we shared this post about specific fall themed activities kids will love (and they ALL still hold true!) but this week we thought we’d share some places that have multiple activities the whole family will enjoy (and we’re including our “neighbors” in New York for a couple of bonuses.) These cities offer year round activities, but the beauty of fall is abundant in all of these spots. 

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Eight FREE Kid Friendly Places to Explore in New Haven, Connecticut

Probably best known as the home of Yale University and the pizza capital of America (it may be self proclaimed, but we agree!), New Haven is the second largest city in Connecticut. It’s situated two hours north of Manhattan and about two hours south of Boston, right on the I95 corridor. The city of 130,000+ residents has many cultural neighborhoods, rich history, and several family friendly attractions that are FREE to visit. 

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Hartford, Connecticut City Guide: 10 Family Friendly Spots

Hartford, the capital city of Connecticut, is located smack in the middle of the Nutmeg State- less than two hours to Boston, New York City, and Providence, Rhode Island. First settled in the mid 1600s, Hartford has become known over the centuries as the home of authors Mark Twain and Harriett Beecher Stowe, the insurance capital of America and home to several colleges and universities including Trinity College, University of Hartford, and the University of Saint Joseph.  We’ve lived in Connecticut since 2004 and since having children, we have explored dozens of family friendly attractions and restaurants- see our index of CT blog posts. This week we are sharing 10 great spots in (or super near) Hartford the whole family will love.

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Playing “I Spy” at the Yale University Art Museums in New Haven, CT

The city of New Haven, Connecticut is most notably home to Ivy league Yale University, and Yale University (amongst other things) is home to two exceptional art museums, both free and open to the public year round. The Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG), founded in 1832, features nearly 300,000 objects in its collection. The YUAG is the oldest university art museum in America and includes plenty of classrooms, workshops, and opportunities for the public to both visit and study at the museum. The Yale Center for British Art  (YCBA) (located directly across the street) is the largest museum, located outside the United Kingdom, dedicated to British art, with over 20,000 drawings, 2,000 paintings, 250 sculptures, and 40,000 volumes in the museum’s research library. The museum opened to the public in 1977 and features four floors of permanent and rotating exhibits.

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15 Free Things to Do with Kids throughout Connecticut this Summer

We officially moved to the Nutmeg State back in 2002 and have enjoyed exploring dozens of its 169 cities and towns, many of which border New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and the Long Island Sound. We’re working on an updated master list of all the places we’ve visited and all of our travel tips for later in the summer, but this index, this list, and this list are good places to start. You might also like our City Guides featuring Mystic and Coastal Connecticut. As summer nears and temps rise, we wanted to share 15 FREE things to do this summer (really, all year, but summer offers some additional perks and better hours) and a few bonus spots we’re hoping to check out ourselves this summer.

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Playing “I Spy” at the Connecticut State Capitol

Visiting state capitol buildings is one of the first things we do when visiting the capital city. It’s a little ironic that it took our family, who has lived in Connecticut for almost 20 years, this long, but we recently, finally made it to the CT Capitol for a tour. Connecticut was founded in 1662 and is known as the Constitution State, as it was the first state to adopt a constitution.  Built in 1878, the Connecticut Capitol building, located in downtown Hartford, was designed by Richard M. Upjohn to replicate a Victorian Gothic style. The building overlooks Bushnell Memorial Park’s 41 acres in the heart of Hartford and was restored in the 1980s to the original colors and design. The addition of the Legislative Office Building (LOB), which opened in 1988, allowed for office space for Connecticut’s 151 Representatives (each representing approximately 25,000 constituents)  and 36 State Senators (each representing approximately 90,000-100,000 constituents). The “LOB” also allows for more public meeting spaces and opportunities for state officials to meet as committees and with public interest groups. The first and second floors of the LOB and the first floor of the Capitol are both open to the public; upper level floors house private offices and chambers and guests must be accompanied by officials. 

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