By Jelane A. Kennedy
I have now been commuting and/or living in Connecticut about a year. I thought I would share some of what I have learned.
First Connecticut is a small State. It can still take a while to get from one place to another but in relative terms for me it is small. In comparison, I grew up in Michigan, which is 96,716 square miles in size, and there are a lot of lakes besides the Great Lakes (which look like oceans). There are also multiple national parks or national lakeshore to visit.
I have also lived in Ohio, which was 44,825 square miles and there was not much water around. I lived in Ohio two years and what I remember most is farmland. I also remember camping and it did not smell like camping because I was missing evergreen trees and lakes!
My next State was Virginia, which was about the same size as Ohio at 44,775 square miles, and Virginia had water with the ocean along one edge (Atlantic) and some great mountains (Shenandoah) along the other side. Virginia because it was one of the 13 original colonies had a lot of colonial history, American Revolution history and civil war history. Which meant several national parks to visit.
And the State, which I still live in when I am not in Connecticut, is New York, which is 54,555 square miles. A little bigger than both Ohio and Virginia. There are lots of lakes and the Adirondack Mountains.
So when you look at Connecticut it is a bit small coming in at 5,567 square feet in size.
Second, I’ve been a bit surprise actually by how hilly it is and how much rural area there is. I use to think of Connecticut as just one big metropolitan area. I am also surprised since it was one of the 13 original colonies that I have yet to really stumble across much about that, it seems like Massachusetts takes on most of that history. In looking for a National Park or Historic site, I found several trails (Appalachian Trail and New England trail) but really only one place to visit that might feel like a park and that is Weir Farm National Historic Site, which celebrates American painting and art. I am very intrigued to go visit the studio and house which is said be a “…significant portion of the landscape remain largely intact as one of the nation’s finest remaining landscapes of American art”.
Third, I have found the folks pretty friendly and willing to say hi, and look you in the eye. I have a feeling that there are many transplanted people in Connecticut so at this point I have not run into the bias I feel in New York about not having been born a New Yorker.
Fourth, but with all the friendliness I have also found that they are terrors on the road. For instance the speed limit is just a suggestion, stop signs are usually just to slow down, swerving within the lane of traffic is common practice (maybe aided by cell phone … I’ve missed being side swiped multiple times) it is a bit unnerving since I’m never sure how close they may get to me as I drive, needing to always be on alert.
Fifth, I’ve also noticed that there are condos everywhere so that the density of the population can be a bit overwhelming for me, Connecticut comes in fifth after DC in population density, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts take the first three spots. (Michigan – 19th, Ohio – 11th, Virginia – 15th, New York – 8th by comparison.)
Last but not least, at this point I have yet to really see much of Connecticut other than by car. Prior to working here Eileen and I had spent some time in Mystic, Connecticut and really enjoyed the small town quaintness. My friend Linda always talks about this in relation to what we will find as we get to know Connecticut more. I also have a feeling that it may be the state with the most quirky little museums as I keep seeing signs every where when I have been driving here and there visiting colleges for my job (American Clock and Watch Museum, American Museum of Tort Law-started by Ralph Nader, Antique Radio Museum, Trolley Museum, etc.). I have told Eileen that we will have to check them out since we both love a great little museum. We went to the New Britain Museum of American Art and saw a Chihuly glass sculpture on permanent display. I’ll have to in another post discuss visiting this great gem of a museum.
I’m looking forward to exploring more and finding out about this little State. There are at least fourteen lighthouses for me to check out!
© 2018 Jelane A. Kennedy and Eileen A. McFerran