I've lived in Connecticut all my life and spent plenty of time exploring its cultural, culinary and, (my favorite), quirky attractions. But I'm still surprised by what I don't know about some of the fun things to do around our state.
For example, did you know that Connecticut holds a Tango Festival each July (cttangofest.org), a hot air balloon festival in August (plainvillefireco.com/Balloon_Festival.html), or that there's a Connecticut Museum of Mining and Mineral Science (ctamachinery.com)?
Luckily, I've discovered some great resources for uncovering our hidden treasures.
One of my favorites is OnlyInYourState.com. Head to the site, click on "Connecticut" and you'll see an array of articles on state parks, back road jaunts, charming small towns and lists of everything from the most picturesque waterfalls to the best ice cream shops.
For those who like their tourism a little more off-beat, DamnedConnecticut.com features a crypt-full of spooky, odd and haunted happenings in the Nutmeg State.
Its "Weird Places" section offers one-of-a-kind suggestions for weird walkabouts — like visiting the "brain museum" at the Cushing Center at Yale's Whitney Medical Library, or the grave of Capt. Sluman Gray in Liberty Hill Cemetery in Lebanon. (Legend has it that the captain, who died at sea in 1864, was preserved in a barrel of rum, brought home and buried — barrel and all.)
If less creepy is more your cup of tea, check out Visiting NewEngland.com a site where native New Englanders post travel essays, tips on things to do and resources. Click on the "Connecticut" section for restaurant reviews and day trip suggestions.
Last week, the Connecticut Office of Tourism released its new 2016 Official Spring/Summer Connecticut Visitors Guide, a great resource for planning vacations, getaways and outings in Connecticut.
The new guide offers season-specific travel experiences, events, attractions and destinations. It's organized by such features as "Six Summer Escapes," "Lobster 24/7" and "If Walls Could Talk."
"The redesigned guide better reflects how today's travelers look for ideas and inspiration," said Randy Fiveash, director of Connecticut Office of Tourism. "Through these stories, Connecticut destinations come alive and allow prospective travelers to immerse themselves in the place and experience."
(The 2016 Spring/Summer printed guide is available for free at Welcome Centers throughout Connecticut, by calling 888-288-4748, and online at CTvisit.com where consumers can view the digital edition.)