Connecticut travel guide

Often overlooked in favour of its flashier New England cousins, the bijou state of Connecticut pulls a few surprises. A playground for New York City weekenders, this green and pleasant land abounds with handsome colonial towns, pretty landscapes and lively cultural attractions.

A raft of historic inns, complete with four-poster beds and twee décor, transport Connecticut’s guests back to the good old days of the Gilded Age, while the state’s seaside spa resorts offer more contemporary comfort and miles of golden sands.

In Hartford, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the USA’s oldest public art museum, revealing a bundle of new galleries in 2015 following a five-year renovation. Hartford was also the home of Mark Twain, and you can visit his house in Nook Farm, where he wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1884.

Coastal New Haven has an extraordinary list of firsts; it was the USA’s first planned city, the first place to serve a hamburger and the first place to produce lollipops. Yale University lends the town a studenty vibe, and the springtime 4B Festival is a mouthwatering homage to beer, bourbon and barbecue.

Historic towns like Woodbury are peppered with early 17th-century architecture and excellent antique shops. In the port town of Mystic you can plunge into Connecticut’s maritime heritage, exploring a recreated 19th-century sailing village and the world’s last wooden whaleship.

For 20th-century design, look no further than the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, 20 hectares (49 acres) of rambling parkland encompassing 14 modernist structures, including a glass house where the architect lived.