I recently experienced a true New England snow storm. You may have heard in the news that it was one of the biggest on record. Witnessing it from start to finish I truly believe it was. The snow was falling for hours and digging out took almost as long. The day before the stores were sold out of all sorts of items from food to survival gear. The evening before one could really feel the calm before the storm. Roadways were more or less empty as people braced for Nemo to arrive.
Much of the snow fall happened over night so we woke up to a winter wonderland. Two plus feet of snow had fallen and was continuing to cover the scene. When the snow finally finished in the mid-morning, it was time to clean up. Hours of back breaking and tedious shoveling was in store for the residents. As people were shoveling their driveways the state was doing their best to keep the roads clean, but given the amount of snow that had fallen this proved to be a monumental task. While the main roads were soon passable it was not until days later that the secondary roads were fully cleared.
Despite of all this trouble I was able to see a few historical and cultural aspects of Connecticut. When the roads became safe we ventured forth into the state capital, Hartford, the home of Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and insurance companies. Unfortunately because of the snow, we were not able to get into the houses of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe and the attached museum. However, we were able to see the grounds and the surrounding neighborhood. The houses provided an interesting contrast between old and new architecture, living conditions, and style.
Our travels then took us to the Museum of American Art in New Britain, a quaint city just outside the capital. Here we were forced to take a detour as the National Guard, called to Connecticut by President Obama in this state of emergency, cleared snow from bridges and major roadways. Here, we saw a number of old Victorian style houses, that have been converted into small businesses like doctors and law offices. We finally arrived at the Museum and saw a comprehensive sampling of both contemporary and older art, mainly paintings, but also some sculptures and installation pieces. There were two highlighted exhibits: Chasing Moby Dick, a series of works in various mediums portraying Melville’s epic, and works by Toulouse-Lautrec, mainly sketches and lithographs by the famous French artist.
All in all, my trip north showed me that even “boring” states can rise above their reputation and offer something to the nation and, in fact, the world. It also gave me a glimpse into life outside of a major metropolitan city, and what life is like in a typical suburban setting. My next trip will, however, take me to another great American city, the former capital of the United States: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.