Old Wethersfield: Located just south of Hartford Old Wethersfield is the historical part of Wethersfield which is arguably the state's oldest town. Old Wethersfield is home to dozens of historic homes some of which are now musuems, restaurants, bakeries, churchs and parks. Places to visit & eat in Old Wethersfield include The Deming-Standish House at 222 Main Street which is home to Village Tavern, Village Pizza at 233 Main Street, Main Street Creamery & Cafe at 271 Main Street, The Sandra Wakeen Gallery at 125 Main Street, First Congregational Church, the House of Images at 147 Main Street, The Chester Bulkley House Bed & Breakfast at 184 Main Street, Antiques on Main at 165 Main Street, Hurlburt-Dunham House at 212 Main Street, Wethersfield Cove, the historic Cove Warehouse at the north end of Main Street overlooking the Wethersfield Cove, Wethersfield Museum at Keeney Memorial at 200 Main Street, Wethersfield Visitor's Center at Keeney Memorial at 200 Main Street, Genealogical & Research Library at the Old Academy at 150 Main Street, Webb Deane Stevens Museum at 211 Main Street, Buttolph Williams House at Marsh & Broad Streets, the Solomon Welles House which overlooks Cove Park, Mainly Tea at 221 Main Street, Neill Walsh Goldsmiths & Gallery at 125 Main Main Street, Patty Cakes Bakery at 227 Main Street, and the Spicy Green Bean Deli at 225 Hebron Avenue. A new service has just started which now offers a shuttle that brings back and forth between Old Wethersfield and the Connecticut Convention Center at Adriaens Landing in Downtown Hartford.

New Haven, CT: The next major city south of Hartford is a city built on the arts and higher education that is home to more then 123,000 people. New Haven also known as the Elm City is known worldwide as being home to the very prestigous Yale University. In addition to Yale Greater New Haven is home to Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Yale University School of Law in New Haven, Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, University of New Haven in West Haven, Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Gateway Community College in New Haven and Quinnipiac University in Hamden. Yale University's main campus is located in the heart of downtown and has helped Yale to become the city's largest landlord which has helped the downtown area experience a major rebirth. Downtown New Haven is abuzz with shops, restaurants, clubs, theaters and musuems which get extra busy when school is in session. Attractions in New Haven include the Yale University Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale Center for British Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Yale Repertory Theater, Shubert Performing Arts Center, Long Wharf Theater, New Haven Green, Amistad Memorial, New Haven Symphony Orchestra, West Rock Ridge State Park, Criterion Cinemas, Connecticut Children's Museum, New Haven Colony Historical Society, Paradee Morris House, Beinecke Rare Book House & Manuscript Library, City Hall, John Slade Ely House, Toad's Place, Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven Harbor, Knights of Columbus Musuem, East Rock Park and  IKEA. Popular New Haven restaurants, clubs, bar and bakeries include Hot Tomato's At the Taft (same as the one in Hartford) at 261 College Street, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana at 157 Wooster Street, Union League Cafe at 1032 Chapel Street, Roomba at 1044 Chapel Street, Claire's Corner Copia at 1000 Chapel Street, Zinc at 964 Chapel Street,  Istanbul Cafe at 245 Crown Street, Archie Moore's Bar & Restaurant at 188 Willow Street, JP Dempsey's at 974 State Street, Caffe Adulis at 228 College Street,  Modern APizza at 874 State Street, Sally's Pizza at 237 Wooster Street, Miya Japanese Restaurant at 68 Howe Street, Rainbow Cafe at 1022 Chapel Street, Koffee at 104 Audobon Street, Adriana's Restaurant at 711 Grand Avenue, Naples Pizza at 90 Wall Street,  Ibiza at 39 High Street, Sage American Bar & Grill at 100 South Water Street, Whole Enchilada at 21 Whitney Avenue, Nirvana Bar & Restaurant at 148 York Street, Clark's Dairy at 74 Whitney Avenue, Scarpellino's College Street at 204 College Street, Lulu's European Coffee House at 49 Cottage Street, Brazi's Brick Oven Pizza at 201 Food Terminal Plaza, Rafaello's Restaurant at 2987 Whitney Avenue, El Amigo Felix at 8 Whalley Avenue, Richter's at 990 Chapel Street, Scoozzi at 1104 Chapel Street, TRE Scalini Restaurant at 100 Wooster Street, Fire at 7 Elm Street, 500 Blake Street Cafe at 500 Blake Street,  Bentara at 76 Orange Street, Rusty Scupper Restaurant at 501 Long Wharf Drive, Viva Zapata at 161 Park Street, Christopher Martin's at 860 State Street, Gotham Citi at 128 Crown Street, Alchemy Nightclub at 223 College Street, Club Van Dome at 102 Hamilton Street, BAR at 254 Crown Street, Diesel Lounge at 944 State Street, Club Ice at 169 East Street, Sci-Fi Cafe at 201 Crown Street, Humphrey's East Pub at 175 Humphrey Street, Oracle at 212 Crown Street and Hula Hank's at 216 Crown Street. Downtown New Haven is about 40 minutes south of downtown Hartford and can be reached by taking I-91South which will lead right into New Haven where I-91 also intersects with I-95 North and South.

Middletown, CT: Middletown is a trendy little city located along the Connecticut River between Hartford and New Haven in central Connecticut. Middletown is most notably home to the very well known liberal arts college called Wesleyan University. The university brings young blood into the city and today Main Street which is located near the university and the Connecticut River is home to numerous shops, restaurants and musuems. Places to visit in Middletown include Wesleyan University, KidCity Children's Museum, The Buttonwood Tree, Connecticut aMAIZEing Maze, Destinta Theaters, General Mansfield House: Middlesex Historical Society, Harbor Park, Middletown Roller Skating Park, Oddfellows Playhouse, Vinnie's Jump & Jive, and the  Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill Estate. Popular Middletown restaurants, bars, cafes and bakeries include Tuscany Grill at 120 College Street, It's Only Natural at 386 Main Street, Jerry's Pizza at 885 Washington Street, O'Rourke Diner at 728 Main Street, Taj of India at 170 Main Street, Enzo's Restaurant & Pizza at 200 Main Street, Vito's Pizzeria & Restaurant at 871 Newfield Street, Coyote Blue Tex Mex Cafe at 1960 Saybrook Road, Giuseppe's Pizza at 129 Church Street, Eli Cannon' s at 695 Main Street, Cypress Restaurant & Grill at 1265 South Main Street, Amici Italian Grill at 280 Main Street, Harbor Park Restaurant at 80 Harbor Park Drive, Carminucciu's at 83 Broad Street, Illianano's Italian Pizzeria at 404 South Main Street, Mazzatas Restaurant & Bakery at 650 South Main Street, Cornerstone Restaurant at 98 Washington Street, Thai Gardens at 300 Plaza Middlesex and First & Last Tavern (same as the one in Hartford) at 220 Main Street. Downtown Middletown can be reached by taking I-91South to Route 9 South in Rocky Hill which will bring you right into downtown Middletown. Following I-91 will also bring you into Middletown but not into the downtown area.

Springfield, MA: The next major city north of Hartford on the Connecticut River is Springfield which is home to more then 152,000 people. Springfield is home to such attractions as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Dr. Suess National Memorial, Springfield Science Museum,  Connecticut Valley Historical Museum, Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Indian Motorcycle Musuem, Museum of Fine Arts, George Walter Vincent Smith, Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center, the American Hockey League Springfield Falcons who play at the new MassMutual Center and the Zoo in Forest Park. In addition to culture and history the Springfield area is a college community which is home to Springfield College in Springfield, American International College in Springfield, Western New England College in Springfield, Amherst College in Amherst,  University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Smith College in Amherst, Hampshire College in Amherst, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Springfield Technical Community College, and  Bay Path College in Longmeadow. Lastly some top Springfield restaurants, cafes and bakeries include Max's Tavern (same as the one's in greater Hartford) at 1000 West Columbus Blvd (Basketball Hall of Fame)  Pazzo Ristorante at 1000 West Columbus Avenue (Basketball Hall of Fame),  Cobalt Club & Restaurant at 1 Worthington Street,  Lido Ristorante at 555 Worthington Street, Cafe Lebanon at 1390 Main Street, Gus & Paul's New York Style Deli at 1500 Main Street & 1209 Summer Avenue, Antonio's Grinders & Pizza, Anthony's Restaurant & Catering, Alvins All Natural Ice Cream, Emerald City Cafe at 272 Bridge Street, Student Prince Cafe at 8 Fort Street, Theordore's Booze, Blues & BBQ at 201 Worthington Street, Vienna Restaurant & Historic Inn at 14 South Street, Spaghetti Warehouse at 60 Congress Street, Salvatore's Restaurant at 1333 Boston Road, Olive Garden at 1380 Boston Road, La Fiorentina Pastry Shop at 883 Main Street, Smokey Bones BBQ at 1492 Boston Road, Skooters Restaurant at 365 Boston Road, Union Grille at 1 Columbus Center, Torinese Italian Pastry Shop at 70 Locust Street, Zaffino's at 711 Dwight Street, ART-E-PASTA at 272 Worthington Street, JW's Steakhouse at 1500 Main Street, Fat Cat  Bar & Grill at 232 Worthington Street, Sitar Restaurant at 1688 Main Street, Caramia at 1011 Worthington Street, Blue Eagle Cafe & Restaurant at 932 Worthington Street, Cafe Leone at 320 Cooley Street, L'Uva at 1676 Main Street, The Tavern Restaurant at 25 Mill Street, Typical Sicilian Pasta Bucket at 513 Belmont Avenue, Pho Saigon Restaurant at 398 Dickinson Street, Red Rose Pizzeria at 1060 Main Street and  Dolce Notte at 304 Worthington Street. Springfield is about 30 minutes north of downtown Hartford and can be reached by following I-91North which will lead you right to downtown Springfield.

 

Riverton, CT:  This is more a half-day, event specific day trip.  Riverton is a 50 minute drive from Hartford and is a very small town.  However, good things come in little packages - it is home to Greenwood Glass.  See the glassblowing workshop (http://www.petergreenwood.com/).  Riverton also is home to the Cat Nip Mouse Tea Room which has fantastic gourmet sandwiches (Turkey Yammy Sandwich) and delicious soups (BLT).