November 16 - November 18 2018
How I Got There
I was in New York City for a business trip and I booked a ticket to Hartford on Amtrak. The trip ended a bit early so I sat around at Penn Station waiting for the late train up north. For some reason neither Google Maps or Apple Maps told me that there was a local commuter train that I could take from Grand Central Station to New Haven and then catch another commuter train to Hartford. This trip takes roughly the same amount of time as Amtrak and is half the cost. I was able to refund my ticket, and took a cab from Penn Station to Grand Central Station. I've never had a reason to go to Grand Central Station, so I was glad to finally get a chance to experience this majestic and historic train station.
Where I Stayed
I stayed at the Residence Inn in downtown Hartford. The hotel is inside of the historic Cheney Building. It was a short walk from the train station and one of the nicest Residence Inn's that I have been in so far. The room was a massive bi-level loft with plenty of space to relax and work. If I ever wanted to lock myself in a room for a month and write a book, this is definitely the place where I would do it.
How I Got Around
Other than the train ride in, I used Lyft and walked to most places around the city. Hartford does have a public transit system that consists of busses, but like many other capitals that I have been to the routes are limited and the schedule is unpredictable.
What I Did
I arrived in the evening and got a quick bite at the restaurant downstairs from the hotel. The next morning I wandered around in the snow. First I went to the State Library, then walked through the park near the Capitol. After a quick taco lunch, I made my way over to the Mark Twain House and Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. That evening, I caught a minor league hockey game and watched the Hartford Wolfpack demolish the Utica Comets in a 6 - 3 victory. Afterwards, I went to the same restaurant that I visited the night before, but this time I went down to the basement and saw some of the best comedy local comedy that one could hope to find in a basement.
On Sunday I went to the oldest Art Museum in the country. I walked down to the riverfront, but there is no much to see or do there during the winter. After a late brunch I headed to the airport for my flight back to San Francisco.
What Was The Fuss
Hartford has undergone many transformations in its history. It was founded in 1635 and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It contains many of the countries "oldest X" and "first Y". Hartford was an industrial center, a manufacturing center, and one of the wealthiest cities in the United States for a very long time. Although it remains the Insurance Capital of the World, it has experienced a sharp decline and today is one of the poorest cities in the nation. Like many cities in the US, Hartford is still trying to reinvent itself for the 21st Century.