Connecticut is known for quaint villages, fall foliage, a famous university, and revolutionary war history. It’s also the birthplace of soldiers and inventors who changed the course of history and foods that are considered American staples today.
Connecticut is known for many things – it was one of the thirteen original colonies and is one of the six states of New England. History plays a significant role in what the state is known for – from indigenous tribes to revolutionary war battle sites to well-known inventions. It’s also the first state to have a constitution, which is why it’s nicknamed “The Constitution State”.
Connecticut is the southernmost state in New England in the northeast United States. It’s roughly rectangular in shape with a smaller section jutting out to the southwest. The state borders New York in the west, Rhode Island in the east, and Massachusetts in the north. The southern border of Connecticut consists of a rocky shoreline with Long Island Sound. It’s also the halfway point between two of the biggest cities on the eastern seaboard – Boston and New York.
What Connecticut is known for:
While Connecticut often gets overlooked by its larger neighbor to the west, New York, there’s a lot that distinguishes this state from others. The following is a list of thirty-two things that the Constitution State is known for:
First peoples and colonial history
As with much of New England, Connecticut is known for its history. Numerous indigenous Native American tribes have roots in the state including the Nipmunks, Sequin, Matabesec or Wappinger Confederacy, and the Pequot-Mohegan. Of these, the Monhegan and Mashantucket tribes still have a presence in the state.
Connecticut also played a role in the revolutionary war. It was among the first colonies to rise against British rule in the Battle of Bunker Hill and a number of subsequent battles occurred in southern parts of the state. In 1788, Connecticut became the sixth state to ratify the union.
See related: 7 Revolutionary War Sites to Visit in Connecticut
Picturesque New England towns
Some of the most iconic New England villages are in Litchfield county in the northwest corner of Connecticut. Think churches with white steeples, quaint downtowns, and village greens with gazebos.
In fact, the fictional town of Stars Hollow from the TV show The Gilmore Girls is based on Litchfield county’s town of Washington. The creator of the show, Amy Sherman-Palladino, formed the idea for the series when she and her husband spent the night in town and had breakfast at the local diner.
See related: 10 Best Things to Do in Litchfield Connecticut
Located in New Haven, Ivy-league Yale University is known as one of the top universities in the world. It was founded in 1701 and is the fourth oldest university in the United States. Its campus is considered to be among ‘the most beautiful in the world’ with its elaborate gothic architecture and charming courtyards.
Mystic Seaport Museum
Connecticut is known for the largest maritime museum in the United States, Mystic Seaport Museum. Established in 1929, and located in the seaside town of Mystic, this museum consists of more than sixty restored historic buildings and is best known for its collection of sailing ships and boats.
Connecticut has approximately twenty lighthouses along its coast. Many are popular tourist attractions. Some of the most picturesque include Pequot in New London, New Haven Harbor Light in New Haven, and the Saybrook Breakwater Light in Old Saybrook.
For a few weeks every fall, the leaves on Connecticut trees are awash in red, orange, and yellow. The change in leaf color is especially beautiful in hilly regions of the state where it’s possible to take in a more expansive view. The timing of when peak colors appear changes each year but it usually occurs sometime around mid-October.
“The Insurance Capital of the World”
Connecticut’s largest city, Hartford, has a long history of being the center of the insurance industry. The first insurance business opened here in 1810 and the city is still home to more than 100 insurance companies.
New Haven Style Pizza
New Haven is known for its distinctive pizza, which is often called “apizza” in the city. This style of pizza, also known as New Haven-style, is thin-crusted and baked in a coal-fired oven which gives it its characteristic charred and blistered crust. It’s often served with a tomato sauce that is light on the cheese. Some of the most famous pizzerias in New Haven that serve this style of pizza include Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Sally’s Apizza, and Modern Apizza. They’re known to be some of the oldest and most famous pizzerias in the country and have been serving pizza since the 1920s and 1930s respectively.
UCONN Huskies basketball teams
For sports fans, Connecticut brings to mind the exceptional women’s and men’s basketball teams at the University of Connecticut. Both teams are highly ranked and the women’s team is one of the few schools that consistently finds itself competing for the national title. UCONN is also considered a pipeline to both the NBA and the WNBA and many former players also go on to be successful coaches.
Stew Leonard’s grocery stores
It may seem strange that Connecticut is known for something as commonplace as a grocery store chain. But the family-run Stew Leonard’s is far from ordinary. With its twisting aisles, animatronics, unique products, and endless samples, it’s more of an experience than a typical trip to the market. Stew Leonard’s began in Norwalk, Connecticut, and has since expanded to locations within the state as well as New York and New Jersey.
The First Constitution
In 1639, the people of Connecticut wrote the first written constitution known as The Fundamental Orders. This document proclaimed that the colony was self-governing and self-ruling and discussed the rights and obligations of its citizens. This is where the state gets its nickname “The Constitution State”.
Food Connecticut is Known For:
Connecticut is known for a number of different foods, some of which can also be found in other New England states and some that are specific to Connecticut. Here are some of the most common foods Connecticut is known for:
- Apizza: A thin-crust coal-fired pizza made famous in New Haven
- Hamburgers: Connecticut, and more specifically New Haven, is the birthplace of the hamburger
- Lobster rolls: Maine is more well-known for this dish but it was founded in CT.
- Subway sandwiches: Bridgeport is where the Subway restaurant chain began
- Ice cream: Even UCONN has its own dairy bar
See related: What Food is Connecticut Known for?
Who are Famous People From Connecticut?
A number of historic and present-day famous people were both born and resided in Connecticut. Here’s a few of the most well-known:
- Benedict Arnold: The revolutionary war traitor was born in Norwich
- Mark Twain: The author spent 17 years living in Hartford and called them “the best years of my life”
- Noah Webster: Born in West Hartford and the author of the first dictionary
- Thomas Hooker: established one of the first major colonies in Hartford
- Harriet Beecher Stowe: The renowned author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Click here to see the full list: 16 Famous People From Connecticut
Looking for more information about Connecticut? Check out all our articles about this great state.
About Kerry Flatley
Kerry Flatley has lived in New England for the past 26 years. She has roots in Maine & Massachusetts, family in New Hampshire, and grew up close to the Connecticut border. She loves all that this region has to offer – the ocean, mountains, islands, history, villages, and cities. When she’s not writing about New England, she’s relaxing at home in the Boston suburbs with her two teenage daughters and husband.