Known for its commuter cities, New York's neighbor is synonymous with the affluent lanes and mansions of The Stepford Wives and TV's Gilmore Girls. In old-moneyed Greenwich, the Litchfield Hills and the Quiet Corner, these representations ring true.

Many regard the state as a mere stepping stone to the 'real' New England, from whose tourist boom Connecticut has been spared. The upside is that Connecticut retains a more 'authentic' feel. The downside is a slow decaying of former heavyweights like Hartford and New London, where visitors can ponder the price of progress and get enthused about urban renewal. New Haven, home of Yale University, is one such place rewiring itself as a vibrant cultural hub.

Rich in maritime, literary and national history, as well as the farm-to-table food movement, celebrity chefs and enough waterfalls and state parks for the most avid outdoors folk, the Nutmeg State unfolds in incredible layers the longer you stick around.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Connecticut.