“So what do people do when they come to Hartford? What makes this place so special?,” I asked my cab driver on the way back to the bus station after a long day outside in the intense summer heat. After a short pause, he answered with “bowling and strip clubs” to which I replied “That’s not special to Hartford.” He smiled and shrugged his shoulders, and we rode in silence the rest of the way.
Never did figure out what makes Hartford so special. Connecticut, in general, is not a vacation destination, but rather one of those places that people go to visit family or kids from a wealthy upbringing go to Yale. It is a popular place for NYC dwellers to get away or buy a house if they don’t want to raise a family in the city.
Other than that, people take the scenic route through Connecticut up to Massachusetts or even further North to take on the slopes in Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine. If you want to go into hiding for a couple of days to take a break from the hustle of RTW travel, treat yourself to a nice hotel, catch up on your sleep or work, and become a beach bum for a day.
Prior to my trip, I had friends telling me Hartford was a dangerous place to go, and it’s not safe for me to walk around alone at night. I was a fool to believe them, but I visited anyway and found it to be a charming town that resembles many of the other colonial cities in the Northeast. Just for the record, everywhere you go is going to have a section of town that is going to be dicey and rough around the edges. If I haven’t preached it enough already, you just have to use the same precautions and common sense as you would back home.
When I was living in Manhattan, I took the bus up to Connecticut to attend Warped Tour, and on the drive in, I could easily spot Hartford as this mini metropolis surrounded by miles of flatland. Not the most exciting place on Earth to visit, but easy to cross of your list if you’re on a 50/50 plan like me (visit all 50 states before I turn 50).
I wish I had more to say, but I didn’t experience enough to make me want to visit again. Hartford doesn’t have a strong enough pull to attract big crowds or keep travelers around for long. If you ever visit Hartford, perhaps your cab driver will have more interesting things to say about the city he lives and works in.
“This City” Sundays will introduce you to a new city every week, showcase what I’ve learned and love about that city, and attempt to persuade you to visit on your travels.