Really happy to have finally made it to Connecticut and that I was able to cross off another state from my list. In not having much money, I decided to make it a day trip (no hotel room needed). For one day … I managed to do so much.
I woke up at the crack of dawn to head to port authority and take the 8:00AM bus. We arrived in Hartford at 11:00AM. Managed to find a public transit bus stop not far from the station. I tell you … you have never been on a real adventure until you try to figure out a transit system to a different city. I got an all day pass for three dollars and took the bus to the Mark Twain House and Museum. I arrived way earlier than expected. I bought a ticket online for a 12:30PM tour. Went past the main house, around the carriage house, and to the museum out back. Looked around several exhibits and shopped at the gift shop while I waited. I managed to find a small jar of Huckleberry Jam. I did not even know huckleberries were real! I know sad, I just thought that was the name of one of Mark Twain’s characters. Not an actual fruit. Ha.
When the tour finally started, we were shown around Mark Twain’s 25 room Gothic mansion built in 1874 including, the grand entrance, the parlor, the kitchen, dining room, the library, master bedroom, guest bedrooms, the bedrooms of their daughters, their study room, and even the “man cave.” A room in which Twain held a tremendous pool table and a desk in which he wrote some of his best novels such as Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. I also got to see the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center from the outside because I did not have the money to tour her house as well. Its amazing how these two important American literature writers came to be neighbors.
From the museum I went to have lunch at a Dunkin Donuts near by and then got on the bus to head downtown. There I managed to see a few sites such as the Old State House and the Ancient Burying Ground as I walked to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. I did not spend much time here as I was already feeling exhausted but I did see a few great exhibits. I’m happiest about getting a chance to see Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach by Salvador Dali and Robert Rauschenberg’s Retroactive I. They were amazing to see up close. I also went to the gift shop here where I found most of the souvenirs I needed to purchase; post cards for my friends, and a key chain for my mother.
In needing a rest, I exited the museum, went past city hall, and sat in front of the public library to listened to a blues band play. It started to rain, but it did not bother me much. I actually enjoyed the drizzle while I rested. After a few songs, I got up and walked over to Bushnell Park, where I sat a little longer staring at the pond and fountain.
Eventually I decided to walk around the city. I ventured through the streets trying to find a place that might sell a hat for my collection and found none. The streets were actually pretty quiet and empty for a Saturday. It was kind of scary. I walked around until I got hungry and ended up at this local eatery called the Black Bear Saloon. It was amazing! It would have been nice to come at night time when the real fun begins, but it was still pretty good during the day and the food was delicious. I had the build your own burger meal, a water, and an orange juice all for $12! Not bad at all.
After dinner I was scared I might miss the bus, so I decided to head to the bus station and wait around (having seen everything I wanted to see). When I was on my way, however, I heard the sound of music coming from down the block. Having about two hours to spare before departure, I decided to follow the sound. It lead me to another part of Bushnell Park where there was some form of blues concert going on. Apparently it was called the Black Eyed Blues Festival sponsored by Black Eyed Sally’s, which is some kind of BBQ and blues joint. It was also the part of the park where I was able to see the State Capitol and the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch. I took a few pictures, sat at an empty bench, and listened to music while people watching. Hartford is very diverse. I liked seeing the mixture of young and old, upscale and homeless, as well as many different races. They all sat at the park together listening to blues and mingling. I even talked with this homeless lady who I gave my apples and nectarines to. And to another woman who sat with me making fun of the fighting dogs.
It was a great day. I love to be able not just to see historic sites but to mingle with the people and experience the culture of the town. I feel I accomplished a heck of a lot in just one day. I bet it would have been amazing to spend the entire weekend there. I liked it so much I might just add Hartford to my list of potential move to places.