Be revolutionary: Experience new events and destinations statewide

The state unveiled the “Great Getaway to Connecticut Sweepstakes,” a chance for residents and visitors to win one of eight Connecticut getaways this summer.

From romantic spa escapes and savory sips at one of Connecticut’s finest wineries, to inspirational trips back in time, the prize packages feature an array of destinations and attractions that embody the spirit of the state’s brand, Connecticut still revolutionary.

'Blend of unique experiences'

“Connecticut comes alive in the summertime, with hundreds of festivals, events, activities and a host of new attractions,” said Randy Fiveash, director of tourism.

“We’re excited to welcome visitors to our state this season, and also to encourage our residents to get out and enjoy the blend of unique experiences Connecticut offers — all within close proximity," Fiveash said.

Participants can enter for a chance to win a two-night getaway geared towards either families or couples by visiting through Aug. 7.

Destinations and attractions

Destinations and attractions across the state participating include spots in Bridgeport, Fairfield and surrounding towns:

— Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park

— Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo (Bridgeport)

— Connecticut Science Center

— Delamar Southport (Fairfield)

— The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art Village

— Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

— Foxwoods Resort Casino

— Hartford Marriott Downtown

—Heritage Hotel

— Hilton Garden Inn Norwalk

— Kayak Waveology

— Lake Compounce

— The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

— Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center

— McLaughlin Vineyards

— Mohegan Sun

— Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa, Mystic Seaport

— New England Air Museum

— Ocean Beach Park

— Philip Johnson Glass House

— Quassy Amusement Park and Water Park

— Residence Inn Mystic by Marriott.

For further inspiration on what to do this summer, whether for a day, a weekend or longer, "Still Revolutionary Connecticut" is full of new experiences and must-see favorites.

What’s new

R/V Spirit of the Sound: Due to launch this summer, visitors can climb aboard the Maritime Aquarium’s new research vessel R/V Spirit of the Sound for a two-and-a-half hour adventure into Norwalk Harbor and Long Island Sound.

The 65-foot all-aluminum ship is the world’s only hybrid-powered catamaran research vessel, which will reduce diesel consumption by 75% and allow for participants to observe the environment in a more serene and natural atmosphere.

Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort: As an all-year destination, Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort in Middlefield will be featuring mountain bike trails and events during the spring, summer and fall.

In the coming months, Powder Ridge will also be opening a new destination restaurant Fire at the Ridge. The full-service, 200 seat restaurant and bar will serve up regional cuisine, inspired by Kevin Cottle, executive chef.

• Saybrook Point Inn & Spa: The inn opened their new lodging facility on May 1, located across the street from the main property in Old Saybrook. Three Stories provides guests with eight luxurious guest rooms, comfortable common spaces and charming gardens to spend some reflection time.

• Ballard Institute & Museum of Puppetry: The State Museum of Puppetry has moved to a new location across from UConn at the Storrs Center. Visitors can enjoy a collection of more than 2,000 puppets from this country and around the world.

• Inn at Mystic Harbour House Restaurant: The Inn at Mystic’s four-diamond restaurant is currently undergoing a full renovation. The new Harbour House Restaurant will be reopening on June 1, and offering an abundance of fresh, seasonal and local cuisine to those visiting the Mystic area.

• In Water Boat Show: New London’s first annual boat show with a variety of boats and vendors on display on the city’s waterfront. Spectators can also tour three historical harbor lighthouses during the weekend (June 21-22).

• Spartan Race: Mohegan Sun will be hosting the first ever Connecticut Reebok Spartan Race, the world’s largest leading global obstacle race series. The course stretches more than three miles through the natural woodlands, combined with more than 14 obstacles that include a spear throw, barbed wire crawls, rope climbs and a fire jump (June 28).

• Bear Creek Campground at Lake Compounce:  Lake Compounce Theme Park, in Bristol, will be introducing their all-new Bear Creek Campground this summer. Park-goers will be able to stay in a fully furnished cabin, RV, or pitch their own tent for the ultimate camping experience.  Bear Creek is now taking reservations for the month of July.

• Stratfords of the World Reunion: The town of Stratford in Connecticut will host a “reunion” of Stratfords of the World, and is anticipating visitors from Prince Edward Island, Stratford New Zealand, Stratford Australia, Stratford Upon-Avon England, and Stratford Ontario Canada (July 31- Aug. 5).

• ROC Race 5K Hartford: This 5K race in East Hartford is the original game show-inspired obstacle challenge that features larger than life obstacles like the wrecking ball, the world’s largest inflatable water slide, and the brand new sweeper, among several other obstacles strategically placed along the course (Aug. 9).

• Race4Scholars Criterium: This USA Cycling sanctioned race, in Danbury, will feature five amateur category races and two professional races free for spectators to enjoy.

The course is a classic American-style Criterium, aka “Crit,” with a 1K loop that is lapped over and over, making the course fast and challenging for top professional cyclists and amateurs from across the tri-state area (Aug. 17).

What’s hot

Hartford Blooms Garden Tour: A nine-day event showcasing Hartford’s gardens and historic architecture. Daily tours include public and private gardens, a visit to a historic site, and the opportunity to sample menus at some of Hartford’s favorite restaurants and cafés (June 21-29).

Willimantic Boombox Parade: Connecticut’s annual unique people’s parade, in Willimantic, that features no “real” bands but only marchers and spectators who bring radios and play them while local radio station, WILI AM (1400), broadcasts the marching band music on-air (July 4).

Milford Oyster Festival: Join the city of Milford for its 40th annual festival, filled with arts and crafts, harbor activities, classic car show, canoe and kayak races, and much more. Festivities begin on Friday evening, with a live band and a variety of colorful tents with food and beverages. Then, enjoy both national and local entertainers all day Saturday, with Bret Michaels headlining the Main Stage (Aug. 15-16).

New Haven Open at Yale: The New Haven Open at Yale, the women’s-only WTA event, will be hosted at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. In addition to world class tennis, the tournament offers fans a host of off court activities, autograph sessions, live entertainment, and much more (Aug. 15-23).

Open House Day

Additionally, Connecticut residents are invited to explore the blend of experiences during the 10th annual Connecticut Open House Day on Saturday, June 14.

Attendees will discover the state’s arts, history and tourism offerings at 175-plus destinations, featuring special incentives, free or discounted admission, and activities.

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