After a day and a half in New Haven, I felt like I’ve seen what I needed to see, so on a Saturday I took advantage of Dmitry being in school and drove 40 miles to Hartford. I didn’t do much research ahead of time, I just knew it was a capital of Connecticut and I had to see it for myself.
The drive was nice and easy and went by pretty quick; I guess after driving in Houston, 40 miles is not that big of a deal.
Mark Twain House & Museum
The number one attraction for Hartford online was the Mark Twain House, so that is where I headed.
Most of us have read the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer and think we know Mark Twain pretty well. I thought so too, but visiting the house/museum I realized that I know nothing about this legendary author.
I was surprised and pleased to find a huge (free!) visitor parking lot (ref. my New Haven post about parking in Connecticut). Entrance is in the back of the house through the museum where you pay $19 for the tour. I think the museum portion is free. The admission fee gets you an hour tour of the actual house.
You will start the tour of the house from outside and then you enter through the front doors. Warning! You’re not allowed to take photos inside! (I stuck around at the back of the group and snapped a few shots on my phone, so I could share the experience with Dmitry later).
My biggest take away from the visit was the awe at the tragic life of Mr. Clemens (his real name) and his family. It is amazing what this man has been able to achieve in his lifetime despite the consistent tragedies that affected his family. This was not his last house, but it was a house where his children grew up and where the famous Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were born.
The preservation community did a great job of reviving all the elements after the house was sold, remodeled to be a school, and almost turned into an apartment building. And the tour guides were amazing at painting the picture as if it was 1874.
My favorite room in the house was the billiards room. This was the room where Sam Clemens and his friends gathered for fun until his office on the second floor was taken to be used as a study room for his kids.
The billiards room was where he spent most of his time, where he would step out in the balcony to smoke a cigar and tell his butler to instruct visitors that Mr. Clemens had stepped out and cannot see them right now, and most importantly this is where most of his works that are so beloved by generations were created, right on the billiards table.
Connecticut State Capitol Park
After the Mark Twain House, I had a few minutes to spare, so I headed to the Capitol building. I wish I had more time to wander around and explore, but it was getting late, I was getting hungry, and I promised Dmitry that I would pick him up after his classes. I did have a moment to snap a few photos of the Capitol and the park around it.
Even though it was a bit out of our way, before leaving Connecticut, I brought Dmitry back to Hartford so I could show him the outside of Mark Twain’s house and the State Capitol building. On that day it was so cold that I did not take any additional photos.