Connecticut August 09, 2017
Relive The Colonial Era At These 9 Historic Spots In Connecticut
As one of the earliest-colonized states, Connecticut is one of only a few states that boasts surviving architecture from the colonial period. Visit these nine places to experience what life was like back when Connecticut residents paid taxes to England.
Please note, Henry Whitfield House is temporarily closed.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, Old Wethersfield
There's no getting away from colonial history in Old Wethersfield, where a walk down Main Street might make you wonder whether you've just discovered time travel is possible. Comprised of four houses, a barn, and a recreation of a colonial herb garden, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum offers an immersive step back in time. The carefully-restored Buttolph-Williams house inspired the setting for The Witch of Blackbird Pond, a young adult novel. Another house is named for its former inhabitant Silas Deane, the first American diplomat.
2. Putnam Cottage, Greenwich
Also known as Knapp's Tavern, this bright red house was renovated to reflect its colonial origins as accurately as possible. It's called "Putnam Cottage" because Revolutionary War hero General Israel Putnam may or may not have stayed there, but the old tavern actually played a more salacious role in the Revolutionary War. Timothy Knapp, the charming innkeeper, was revealed as a loyalist spy in 1777.
3. The Huntington Homestead Museum, Scotland
The fact that it's a remarkably well-preserved 18th Century home on its original foundation distinguishes the Huntington Homestead well enough, but it's also the birthplace of Declaration of Independence signer Samuel Huntington. Visit to see this well-preserved colonial time capsule for yourself.
4. Pratt House, Essex
For two centuries, Pratt House was home to the descendants of one of Essex's earliest settlers. Today, it's a museum run by the Essex Historical Society.
5. Henry Whitfield House, Guilford
Built before the town of Guilford was even founded, this is the oldest stone house in New England and the oldest surviving house in Connecticut. In the colonial period, the house was used as more than just a residence; it was a fort, place of worship, and town meetinghouse. Today, it's Connecticut's oldest museum.
6. Bellamy-Ferriday House and Garden, Bethlehem
This circa 1754 home was built as the residence of Bethlehem's first minister. Today, it houses a museum, with a great lawn known as Bethlehem's "Central Park." A weeping willow on the property once stood beside Napoleon Bonaparte's grave.
7. Noah Webster House, West Hartford
Noah Webster, the guy who wrote "An American Dictionary of the English Language" and helped shape early American national identity, was born here. His father mortgaged the house in order to send him to Yale. What would our national identity be without Noah Webster's father's selflessness? The West Hartford Historical Society runs a variety of interesting programs from the house museum, including lectures, social events, and even a colonial adventure camp.
8. Glebe House Museum & The Gertrude Jekyll Garden, Woodbury
As one of the oldest house museums in the country, The Glebe House's architecture, antique furniture, and gardens combine to create one of the most authentic colonial New England experiences around.
9. Stanley-Whitman House, Farmington
Enter a portal to colonial New England at Stanley Whitman House, where you'll find period antiques arranged to reflect everyday colonial life. A wide range of experiential programs offer a deep dive into colonial history.
So, who’s ready to explore centuries-old houses filled with enough antiques to make parents of young kids really nervous? Which one are you most excited to visit? Share in the comments!
Do you prefer your history with a side of ghost stories? Check out this
haunted road trip to the scariest places in Connecticut.