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Connecticut's Best Bargains 2011

Connecticut’s Best Bargains 2011
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by in May 2011

Bantam Tileworks,
Fired up by a many-colored spectrum of ceramic-topped game boards, trays, and handmade tableware, owners Darin Ronning and Travis Messinger make their one-of-a-kinds affordable, with prices from $20 to $100. Don’t miss the menagerie of bas-relief animal tiles. 931 Bantam Road (Route 202). 860-361-9306;

Beech Tree Cottages,
Under a leafy canopy, nine compact cottages with kitchenettes; also available are loaner bikes for pedaling across the street to Hammonasset Beach State Park (entry fee waived for Beech Tree guests). Or drive to the town’s private beach with a free pass. Volleyball or patio pizza, anyone? Rates: from $840 per week. 1187 Boston Post Road. 203-245-2676;

Pile sauerkraut, onions, peppers, and/or chili on 24-inch hot dogs; burgers, Philly cheese steaks, and fish sandwiches, too. Order fries and get your drink free. Not-yet-bygone oldie tunes add to the retro flavor. Dogs: from $2.99; sandwiches: from $5.95. 2525 Berlin Turnpike. 860-666-6200;

Haiti’s Back Porch,
Those brightly colored wood, stone, metal, and papier-mache objets d’art you’ve seen at Neiman Marcus and Macy’s cost lots less here. Purchased directly from the artisans, these Caribbean handworks benefit humanitarian programs in Haiti. 100 Riverview Center. 860-344-9547;

O’Neill Theater,
Laugh, cry, or sing as both fresh and familiar playwrights team up with big-city talent to create summer workshop productions in spare but intimate spaces. Tickets: $20. 305 Great Neck Road. 860-443-5378 (office), 860-443-1238 (summer box office);

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