Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut

Sometimes, we travel out of state so much, my family forgets to visit all of the great spots right in our own “backyard.” With that in mind, we decided to check out a popular spot in Hartford: The Mark Twain House & Museum. For our tips on visiting the nearby Connecticut Science Center, read our post here.

American author Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, moved around the country, but spent 17 years raising his three daughters in the Nook Farm neighborhood of Hartford. The late 1800s was a time when Hartford was a thriving industrial city and Nook Farm was one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the city. Fellow author Harriet Beecher Stowe lived next door (and penned Uncle Tom’s Cabin 20 years before Twain came to town). During the family’s time in Hartford, Clemens wrote dozens of his most popular novels and stories including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

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Connecticut Science Center

With over 40,000 square feet of exhibit space and dozens of interactive activities for kids of all ages, it’s no wonder the Connecticut Science Center welcomed it’s three millionth visitor in October of 2018, less than ten years after opening! The museum is located in the heart of Hartford, two hours from both New York City and Boston and is easily accessible from major highways.

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Enjoying a New England Fall With Kids Without Looking at Leaves

I love that I grew up in New England, and recent travels have confirmed I will always be a New Englander. One of my favorite things about living in New England is the change in seasons, and there is (arguably) nothing more beautiful than fall in New England. However, I would argue that it takes a more “mature” desire to spend significant time looking at foliage. I don’t know too many toddlers, children, or teenagers who enjoy going for long drives in the country just to look at leaves. If your children are anything like mine, they like to do things, especially when the weather is still warm enough to be outside for extended periods of time.

Here is a list of some of my family’s favorite things to do in the Northeast during the fall and links to full, detailed blog post. Yes, you’ll still see plenty of beautiful foliage while traveling to these spots, but your children will be happily engaged, entertained, and energized:

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Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic is a small town located in the most eastern part of Connecticut and is known for its historic seaport. Mystic is part of New London County, which includes other family friendly towns and cities ranging from New London to Groton to Niantic down to Old Lyme. The area becomes flooded with visitors in the spring and summer due to its close proximity to the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean. However, there is plenty to do in the “off season” too: food festivals throughout the year, the famous Pirate Invasion in the fall, the arrival of Santa via tugboat and holidays strolls in December, and the popular Mystic Irish parade in March. Recently, my family spent a few days of our April break exploring the area. We had so much fun we could have extended our trip to a few weeks! Lucky for us, the area is less than 90 minutes away, so we can return for day trips any time we wish. Here are some of our favorite spots:

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Submarine Force Museum and HS Nautilus, Groton Connecticut

When I mention I live in Connecticut, many people will exclaim “Oh you must know a lot of maritime and submarine history having the sub base nearby."  I've driven by Groton for the past 38 years and yet, until recently, I had not visited the area, known as the “Submarine Capital of the World.” On a spring break trip to nearby Mystic, Connecticut we stopped for the morning in Groton to finally explore the Submarine Force Museum, and tour the HS Nautilus.  While the actual Naval Submarine Base in New London is closed to the public, keep driving past the base until you hit the waterfront: On the left is the library, museum, and gift shop; straight ahead is the HS Nautilus; and to the right is the parking lot and various memorials.

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