Much like my knowledge of Rhode Island, I (Josh) was ignorant to the history and beauty of Connecticut. We hadn’t much time to explore the state, much larger than RI, yet still small, by comparison, to most others. Without much reason, we chose New London as our first destination on our quick journey through this once colonial state. We parked near the waterfront and toured around the city, looking at the aged buildings and points of interest.
Among them were the Shaw Mansion, a destination that was once also visited by George Washington, Marquis de Lafayette, and other notable Revolutionary War heroes.
Another site to mention was the Nathan Hale School house in New London. Much history and attention is given to Nathan Hale, a school teacher turned spy for George Washington, in the state of Connecticut, the location of his birth place. Even in Seattle we have paid tribute to this man by naming a high school after him.
Our next stop, just south of New London, was Harkness Memorial State Park, complete with a 1906 mansion with lawns & landscaped gardens, plus views of Long Island Sound. The sun was out, the weather was warm, and we stayed there the rest of the day. We left only after sunset, as the park rangers ushered us away so they could lock the gate.
The following day, we visited a town named Essex, a small port city on the Connecticut River. We journeyed to the Connecticut River Museum, home of a replica “Bushnell Turtle,” the world’s first operational combat submarine. (We watched a revolutionary history cartoon, “Liberty’s Kids,” that depicted the Turtle in action and Eva had her heart set on seeing it in real life.)
We learned much about the history and significance of the Connecticut River- early exploration, trade routes, immigration, and war efforts. In fact, the port that the museum was on was the location that the colonial army in Connecticut build it’s war ship during the Revolutionary War.
In studying the great Connecticut River, we discovered the location of a castle built overlooking the river not far north of Essex. I was compelled to visit and it become our final stop of the day.
I desired to stay and watch the sunset, but the frigid winds forced our family to seek refuge back to our traveling home. Two days in Connecticut proved to be fruitful. History, beauty and sunshine will always be among the new memories I now hold of this place.
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