Regions

River Valley, Central Connecticut

The River Valley region of Connecticut travels from the state line with Massachussetts to Long Island Sound.  With all of that territory, you can easily fill a weekend with history and fun.  For culture buffs, we've got the restored Victorian State Capital in Hartford, Mark Twain's home and the Wadsworth Atheneum.  The river itself hosts the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat as well as the Goodspeed Opera House. For detailed information on all there is to do in River Valley, go to www.centerofct.com

Things to do in the River Valley

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Dining

River Valley dining ranges from Shoreline seafood hotspots to home-made country fare, as well as numerious award-winning eateries in the greater Hartford area. Annually every spring, CT's state fish the American Shad, runs up the Connecticut river and is served at Shad bakes and traditional restaurants, a local delicacy not to be missed.

Photo: CT River - Michael Melford

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Shopping

Shopping in the River Valley can range from boutiques and antiques located in several quaint villages including Wethersfield, Farmington, Chester, and Essex; to trendy shops in the greater Hartford area including WestFarms Mall and the Shops at Buckland Hills.

Photo: Windsor Locks Canal Company -  Elias Friedman

  • Gillette Castle. East Haddam

History

An anchor to Connecticut's history the state capitol of Hartford is the home to many historic destinations including the Mark Twain House, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Farther down the river you will learn the history of Steamboating at the Connecticut River Museum, or visit the mysterious Gillette Castle, or you can take a ride on the Essex Steam Train and then up the river on Becky Thatcher Riverboat.

Photo: Gillette Castle, East Haddam - CT Office of Tourism

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Culture

A number of popular theaters and art centers including Farmington Valley Arts Center, Goodspeed Oprea House, and the Bushnell Performing Arts Center reside in the River Valley. Hartford has a bit of everything culture from museums, history tours, music and shows, for all the details on what to do visit hartford.com/arts-culture

Photo: Goodspeed Opera House

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Recreation

Boating, canoeing and kayaking are all popular pastimes on the river as well as the Connecticut Shoreline. Marinas and boating docks peppered along the shore for the waterway visitors. Valley trails for hiking and biking are also a plenty, with opportunites for views of wildlife, including the American Bald Eagle every winter/ early springtime.

  • CT State Capital

Travel Information

Located in Windsor Locks, Bradley International Airport offers a convinent location with the comforts of a small airport.

Photo: State Capitol, Hartford - CT Office of Tourism

Towns

Andover, Avon, Berlin, Bloomfield, Bolton, Canton, Chester, Collinsville, Cromwell, Deep River, East Granby, East Haddam, East Hampton, East Hartford, East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Essex, Farmington, Glastonbury, Granby, Haddam, Hartford, Hebron, Higganum, Ivoryton, Manchester, Marlborough, Meriden, Middletown, Moodus, New Britain, Newington, Old Saybrook, Plainville, Portland, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, Somers, Somersville, South Glastonbury, South Windsor, Southington, Stafford, Stafford Springs, Suffield, Tolland, Vernon, West Granby, West Hartford, West Simsbury, Westbrook, Wetherfield, Windsor and Windsor Locks