Despite its depressing reputation as the ‘filing cabinet of America’, Connecticut’s capital city, Hartford, is full of surprises. Settled in the 17th century by Dutch traders and, later, Puritans fleeing persecution in Massachusetts, it is one of New England’s oldest cities and as such boasts an impressive array of sights and museums.
The colony’s Fundamental Orders (adopted in 1639) are widely regarded as America’s first written constitution earning Connecticut the moniker, Constitution State. In later decades the city grew rich on the manufacture of the Colt .45 handgun and its thriving publishing industry attracted the likes of Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Wallace Stevens, who dreamt up his psychedelic poems as he walked back and forth to work at one of Harford’s insurance companies. In fact, it was the dominance of the city’s gray-suited insurance industry (which was invented here after a city resident insured his house against fire in 1794) that helped flood the city with money, art and culture in the 19th century leaving a legacy of historic attractions worthy of any travel itinerary.