Rhode Island-Connecticut Border
June 20, 1999
Growing up, Connecticut was far away yet so close. I grew up on the north shore of Long Island so Connecticut was only 15 miles away. Of course, 12 of those miles were over water. When I think of Connecticut I remember those days; the Constitution State always reminds me of radio and TV stations. I used to hear the traffic reports and commercials which talked about places with names like Trumbull, Bridgeport, and New Haven; and roads like the Merritt Parkway, the Commodore Hull Bridge, the Q Bridge, and I-95. Long Island didn't have any 2di's (that's "two-digit Interstate" to the uninitiated, like I-93 or I-76), so a reference to a 2di always connoted "somewhere far from home," since the closest 2di by road was about 65 miles and a bridge away. Long Island is probably the most populous area without a 2di. So we used to hear those places as we listened to "Italian House Party" on Sunday mornings on WICC, "Take a Stand with Father John," the Trumbull team that won the Litle League World Series, that old "Action News" theme on WTNH/8, and WFSB. The latter two were TV stations that we used to get a long time ago, since the cable company stopped carrying them it only serves to make the memories more dated.
Anyway, back to Connecticut. Sen. Chris Dodd strikes me as very Connecticut. "New Haven" and "Hartford" struck me as very Connecticut names; like no other place would be able to get away with calling places "New Haven" or "Hartford."
Augh, rambling again. After leaving Rhode Island in June, 1999, when this quest first began, I was on my way to Storrs to see the campus of the University of Connecticut, and to maybe get some 1999 NCAA Tournament junk that I could sell on eBay (I'm a Rutgers alum — El-Amin's a thug!). I always thought Yukon was in northwestern Canada, but what do I know.
Anyway, I took US-6 west out of Providence. After a nice drive through all of Rhode Island's 25-mile breadth, I crossed into Connecticut. Right beyond this sign there is a large dip between two hills, and the connection to I-395 is literally steps from the state line. There was a restaurant or small general store on US-6 right in front of the sign on a corner of a small rural road. It's actually between the "Welcome to Connecticut" and "Welcome to Rhode Island" signs. No-man's land.
This is Connecticut's standard welcome sign; and identical one is on both ends of I-84 at the Massachusetts and New York state lines. It says "Connecticut Welcomes You," a variation on "Welcome to ___," presumably to make it a little less formulaic. It has Governor Rowland's name on it on a slightly darker blue panel, probably hiding "Lowell P. Weicker, Governor" underneath. Next to it is "Connecticut: We're Full of Surprises," looking a little like a bumper sticker. Not to denigrate the sign, though. Other states make theirs a little more artistic, though it is ok for a plain text sign.
June 20, 1999
This capitol was actually very easy to find. Get off I-84 westbound, couple quick lefts and rights, and boom, there you are. One nice thing about the Connecticut capitol is that it is situated in the middle of a large public park, Bushnell Park, which is more than 50 acres. So amidst all the winding bike paths, rolling lawns, and shade trees is this rather interesting looking capitol.
I've since seen some pictures of the capitol in Hartford, and on my next trip to Boston I'm thinking about retaking this one. It's a little hard to see, but the statehouse looks a little like an old medieval castle, capped by a tall, slender rotunda with a gilded dome and over stone masonry. In this picture between the rotunda and the tree below up you can see the hint of a "tower" on one end of the north "battlement." There are several of these "towers" sticking up around the building. There are spires atop some and flagpoles on others, which just makes it look that much more like a castle.