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Best Attractions in Connecticut | 2014 Editors' Choice Awards

Best Attractions in Connecticut | 2014 Editors’ Choice Awards
1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (89% score)
by
Old Drake Bridge

Photo/Art by Julie Bidwell
Best Bridge Stroll | Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge, Simsbury

Looking for fun in the Nutmeg State? You won’t have to look far! Read our picks for the best attractions in Connecticut for 2014.

BEST SMALL ART GALLERY:
THE ARTISTS’ PATH, Bantam

A compact gallery packed with juried mixed-media shows, including art quilts. Sign up for carving and drawing workshops, or step through an open doorway to Love Heart Bakery for a sweet treat—always in good taste. 583 Bantam Road. 860-307-0741; artistspath.homestead.com

BEST ZOO:
CONNECTICUT’S BEARDSLEY ZOO, Bridgeport

Visit African pygmy goats and an Amazon tree boa; see a Siberian tiger and a zebra knee tarantula. Focused on endangered and threatened wildlife, this facility features more than 100 species. 1875 Noble Ave. 203-394-6565; beardsleyzoo.org

BEST TROPICAL GREENHOUSE:
LOGEE’S GREENHOUSES, Danielson

Wander among exotic plants such as the ostrich fern, night heron fairybells, jade vine, and dozens of flora usually found much closer to the equator. Then take home flowers, trees, and shrubs of every hue—absolutely no green thumb required. 141 North St. 888-330-8038; logees.com

BEST ANTIQUES STOP:
THE PAST ANTIQUES MARKET & MUSEUM, Oakdale

Two floors of carefully arranged funky, fashionable, and fascinating antiques. Be sure to gaze at the farm tools in a side room. 1650 Hartford–New London Turnpike. 860-437-3615; naturesartvillage.com/thepastantiques

BEST UNUSUAL ARCHITECTURE PARK:
BOOTHE MEMORIAL PARK & MUSEUM, Stratford

An eccentric architecture collection that includes a windmill, a toll booth, and a clock tower, with a lovely rose garden nearby. Interiors showcase the Boothe brothers’ equally unique collections. 5800 Main St. 203-381-2046; townofstratford.com/boothememorialpark

BEST BRIDGE STROLL:
OLD DRAKE HILL FLOWER BRIDGE, Simsbury

In 1995 concerned Simsbury residents spared this 19th-century metal bridge over the Farmington River, from the wrecking ball and converted it into quite possibly the most colorful walk in all of Connecticut. Along the 183-foot span hang 32 baskets and 48 boxes stuffed full of flowers. Walkers, cyclists, birdwatchers, and even wedding parties frequently gather at this free destination. Drake Hill Road, 860-658-3255; simsbury-ct.gov/culture-parks-recreation/pages/the-old-drake-hill-bridge

BEST TEA STOP:
CELEBRATIONS, Pomfret

Tea parties are scheduled once a month or privately arranged. No need to wait; there’s a room full of tea-terrific gifts, with pots of porcelain, cast iron, and in kid-size sets. Tasteful teas, too, both loose and in bags, are ready to stir with the shop’s specialty sugars. Come for festive art openings and super gift shopping. 330 Pomfret St. 860-928-5492; celebrationsshoppes.com

BEST SCIENCE MUSEUM:
CONNECTICUT SCIENCE CENTER, Hartford

Space, sound, and sports are among the interactive exhibits that appeal to the whole family. Where else can you sink a basket and make music, then enjoy a river view from the rooftop garden? 250 Columbus Blvd. 860-724-3623; ctsciencecenter.org

BEST COUNTRY BOOKSTORE:
HICKORY STICK BOOKS, Washington

Once host to William Styron and Arthur Miller, this well-loved shop still welcomes local authors and illustrators, but it’s also stocked with titles from around the world. Like local? Check out the new handcrafts from around the region, including yarn from the owner’s sheep. 2 Green Hill Road. 860-868-0525; hickorystickbookshop.com

BEST SMALL THEATRE:
KATHARINE HEPBURN CULTURAL ARTS CENTER, Old Saybrook

Dance, folk music, drama, and other entertainments enliven this renovated town hall. There’s also a small gallery with Hepburn memorabilia, complete with one of her Oscars. 300 Main St. 860-510-0473; thekate.org

BEST NOSTALGIC TOOL MUSEUM:
ERIC SLOANE MUSEUM & KENT IRON FURNACE, Kent

View artist/author Eric Sloane’s collection of Early American hand tools; study his artwork and his paint-spattered easel in his re-created studio. There’s also a historic iron furnace on site. 31 Kent–Cornwall Road. 860-927-3849; ericsloaone.com/museum.htm

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