Now that Hartford’s Whalers are sadly no more, Connecticut has no professional sports team to call its own. Still, the state lays claim to a storied athletic history that revolves around the legendary Yale-Harvard football game. Known simply as The Game, this Ivy League showdown is the second oldest rivalry in the sport. Its main stage, the Yale Bowl in New Haven, remains one of only three college stadiums recognized as National Historic Landmarks. Less than an hour away in Storrs, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team has made some history of its own. The team’s recent 90-game win streak counts as the longest ever in Division-I college basketball.

Beyond the leafy campuses of Yale and UConn, Connecticut has its share of green spaces. In Litchfield and Madison, grassy town greens are framed by quintessential representations of New England architecture: colonial homes, historic inns and taverns, and white churches topped with bell towers.

The rest of the state contains a surprisingly diverse ecosystem, given its small size. Hickories, oaks, and maples pepper the coastal forests in the northeast, and the Taconic Mountains peter out into the sprawling horse farms that speckle the northwest. Here, hikers can follow the Appalachian National Scenic Trail to Bear Mountain, the highest peak in the state.

The Long Island Sound laps against a stretch of white beaches on Connecticut’s southeastern edge. New London’s Ocean Beach welcomes families with fine, sugary sand and a classic carousel. Given these amenities, it should be no surprise that National Geographic rated the beach one of the country’s best.

Just a two-hour drive from New York City, Boston, and Providence, the state capital of Hartford boasts a prime location and plenty of things to do. Study the internationally inspired décor of the impressive 25-room Mark Twain House, or take in a show at the Tony award-winning Hartford Stage.

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