Coffee & Dogs: What You Should Know When Visiting Connecticut - Try Coffee
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Coffee & Dogs: What You Should Know When Visiting Connecticut

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Are you headed into Connecticut for work or vacation? This state is filled with rich early American history and was settled in the early 1600s. The state is called the Constitution State because the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut were used as a model for the United States Constitution. These orders were written in 1639 and are considered the first laws which acknowledged people as the foundation of public authority. Voters were given the right to elect officials to government.

The state of Connecticut is located in New England and it is bordered by Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the original 13 colonies and the most southern New England state. Delaware and Rhode Island are the only states smaller than Connecticut. The landscape is made up of forests, lakes, coastlines, waterfalls, shores, rivers, and river valleys. The Connecticut River runs through the state and runs out into the ocean.

This state is known for being industrious and creative. In the first 150 years of the United States Patent Office, Connecticut received more patents per population than any other state. This has led to huge amounts of industry in cities like Bridgeport, New Haven, Meriden, Hartford, Danbury, Waterbury, and others. Hartford is the state capital, which is known as the Insurance City since dozens of insurance companies have headquarters there.

Connecticut is also an important production state. The workers there were the first to create bikes, vulcanized rubber, dyed silk, rubber shoes, friction matches, repeating pistols, and printing type. As for today, the state produces lots of optical equipment, electronic equipment, machine tools, aircraft engines, ball and roller bearings, cutlery, helicopters, spacecraft equipment, nuclear-powered submarines, and propellers.

If you are heading into Connecticut, you probably wonder how dog-friendly it is to ensure your pooch can have a good time in the state. Thankfully, there are plenty of parks and other destinations that the whole family can enjoy. We’ll look at some of the top spots throughout the state for your dog and yourself to get exercise, grab dinner, and have a good time.

Connecticut also has plenty of great coffee available. Those who want a latte in the morning before heading out to handle errands or go on tours will have no issue finding excellent options throughout the state. Today, we’ll look at the best places for you and your pooch when it comes to coffee and almost everything else.

Important Things to Know Before Visiting Connecticut 

Understanding what Connecticut is all about is important when you plan to visit. Before you start booking tickets and renting hotel rooms, there are many things you should know about what makes this state unique. We’ll share all the information you need so you can get planning and enjoy your trip without any hiccups.

The State is All About the Seafood 

Due to the large coastline, the people who live in Connecticut are serious about their seafood. Since almost anything can be pulled straight out of the water, many get a taste for finer dishes like stuffed lobsters and fresh clams. If you are interested in fresh seafood while visiting, make sure you spend time in Norwalk. There are some of the best seafood joints in the state, including Harbor Lights which is on the water and can be reached by vehicle or boat.

Don’t Miss Out on the Microbrews 

While Connecticut might not be known for its microbrew community, that doesn’t mean it isn’t in existence. Some of the microbrews out of the state are the best you could ever taste. Those in the Nutmeg State can enjoy beer from City Steam Brewery, Half Full Brewery, and Rheingold Brewing Company. The state even offers a Connecticut Craft Brew Fest each and every year where guests and locals can try more than 200 great beers.

The Accent Might Be Jarring 

If it is your first time in Connecticut, the way people from the state sound might be surprising. With Boston and New York nearby, you might expect to hear one of those. The accent in Connecticut has a more neutral tone with words pronounced the way that they should be. They don’t drop the letter “r” like Boston and vowels sound like you would expect. However, the state is diverse, so this can vary based on where you are.

The Home of the Original Jurassic Park 

The space where you will find Hartford is also the same place as the dinosaurs used to roam. More than 2,000 tracks have been found in Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum. One of the dinosaurs that made its home there was the dilophosaurus, which was a 23-foot long carnivore with a fin on the top of its head. Anytime you walk around the state, you could be stepping in the same place as the dinosaurs of old.

Cheering for Various Teams 

It might seem strange, but except for the split between Red Sox and Yankees fans, Connecticut isn’t always sure who to cheer for when it comes to sports. When it comes to NBA teams, the options are the Knicks, the Celtics, and the Jets. As far as the NFL goes, the Patriots, the Jets, and the Giants are all rooted for. That means you might see people rooting for separate teams even in the same bar while staying in Connecticut.

The State is Known for Ivy League Education 

Yale University is located in New Haven and was the second school to join the Ivy League. This university is known for its excellent education program and has the second-largest endowment in the entire world at over $20 billion. The school is known for buildings covered in ivy and neo-gothic architecture. This university is also part of why Connecticut is consistently ranked as one of the top five smartest of the states.

Connecticut is in the Middle in Terms of Politics 

As the second state to legalize gay marriage, you can see that the state is extremely socially liberal. However, there are also many wealthy citizens in the state, which means conservative fiscal policies are also often seen. Sometimes this can lead to confusion since the trends and policies of the state might represent both of the major parties of the United States.

Burgers You Love Originate in the State 

Back in 1900, a patron walked into a New Haven restaurant known as Louis’ Lunch and asked for a meal he could eat while on the run. The owner, Louis Lassen, took the meat trimmings he had available, placed them on bread, and let the patron go on his merry way. This is how the hamburger was firstborn. While the burger has evolved in major ways since then, the fact that it originates in New Haven means some call Connecticut the Hamburger State.

Good Vibrations Can Be Found Here 

During the summer, the town of Bridgeport hosts something called the Gathering of the Vibes festival. This is a concert series that stretches over four days and celebrates the life of Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. There are two giant stages where people can listen to music the entire day and night. The genres range from rock and funk to bluegrass and R&B.

Sherlock Holmes Has a Castle in the State 

One of the most famous actors to portray Sherlock Holmes on stage, William Gillette, had a castle built in the state in 1914. It is known for its strange locks and doorknobs along with an assortment of hidden mirrors which allowed Gillette to observe almost every room from his own bedroom. The area near the castle was restored using $11 million and now is located on a site that is popular with campers and hikers.

Connecticuters Are Known as Nutmeggers 

Nobody is entirely sure why the people in Connecticut are called Nutmeggers. Some people that it comes from a time when the state imported nutmeg from elsewhere during the colonial years. Some believe it was used as a derogatory term to refer to salespeople of nutmeg as not being trustworthy. However, nobody is entirely sure. It’s best to avoid this nickname and instead call the residents New Englanders.

Connecticut Defined the Amusement Park 

The oldest continuously operating amusement park in the country is found in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The most popular ride at the park is the Boulder Dash wooden roller coaster. It also happens to be known as the best wooden roller coaster around the globe. The park opened in 1846 but has since added a water park and now has almost 50 rides for visitors to choose from.

Residents Have Pride for UCONN 

No matter where you are in the state, you will find that residents are proud of the white and blue. The proud residents would love to see their state known for their college basketball, perhaps even more than helping to develop the United States Constitution. The Huskies are known for dominating in both the men’s and women’s sports teams, which has created a fan base that is more devoted than you could possibly imagine.

Residents Love Their State 

It is hardly uncommon for someone to ask a Connecticut resident if they would rather live in New Jersey or New York. Most of the time, they are asked if they would prefer to be in New York City, which is right nearby. However, the answer to that question is going to be no nearly 100% of the time. Most people who make Connecticut their home are proud of the state, even with the utterly high cost of living associated with it.

Preppy Fashion is Everyday Attire 

If you are spending time in Connecticut, you should expect to see boating fashion on every street corner. Boat shoes, pastel-colored pants, and polo shirts with popped colors are a fashion statement that you will see plenty of while in the state. This shouldn’t be too surprising since the Constitution State is also rich with boating history.

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Where to Find the Most Dog-Friendly Beaches in Connecticut 

With all this talk about Connecticut being on the coastline, one of the things you might want to know is where the dog-friendly beaches are. The good news is that you have a ton of options where that is a concern. Some beaches require leashes while others have areas your pooch can go off-leash to rip and run. There is also farm country and many city centers that are very canine-friendly. Here are the beaches you should consider first:

Compo Beach

 Compo Beach is found in Westport and offers a 29-acre park that is all along Long Island Sound and bordered by the Saugatuck River. During the months of October through March, the park and the beach are open to dogs. This beach requires dogs to wear leashes, but there is an off-leash spot at one area of the beach. There are signs available to tell you where this is allowed. The northern end of the beach tends to be less crowded on a regular basis and benches can be found on the beach if you need to sit and relax.

Restrooms, concession stands, and dining areas are found on the beach. The Ned Dimes’ Marina, which is adjacent to the beach, hosts pet fundraisers and is friendly to dogs. You can enjoy walking the grounds near the marina but be sure your dog is on a leash. Keep in mind that the state has no leash law, but leashed dogs are still considered the norm.

Hammonasset Beach State Park

 This state park is located in Madison and features two miles of Long Island Sound beach property. If you are going to take a vacation and are considering Madison, the park is a huge perk to take advantage of. Dogs are allowed in all the park areas throughout the year from the nature trails to the ball fields, picnic areas, and bike paths. The beach is the one exception to the rule, but it is open to leashed dogs from November through April. If you talk to dog-owning residents, you’ll find that during the off-season, this is a great park to visit with plenty of beauty and small crowds.

Jennings Dog Beach 

As far as the beaches go in Fairfield, Jennings Dog Beach is open to both humans and dogs. It also happens to be the only one in the city that is off-leash. This makes the beach a favorite and one of the most enjoyable to choose from. Dog owners from other areas come to the beach to let their dogs socialize and enjoy the water nearby. The beach is also the largest in the city with 27 acres. It includes concession stands and restrooms.

Those who want to get wet with their dogs can visit the Town Marina. Dogs are welcome and you can even rent a boat for a ride on the water over an afternoon. There is also a dog park right next to the beach with separate spots for small and large dogs. During the off-season, it’s not busy and is a great destination. Ash Creek Open Space is also open to leashed dogs with free admission and parking in the off-season.

Mixville Recreation Area 

This beach is located right in Cheshire next to a swimming and fishing pond. The best part is the area as a whole is very dog-friendly. It’s open to the public along with dogs and parking is free during the off-season. Parking fees are in place in summer and you will be required to purchase a parking pass. Keep in mind that some common areas require your dog to be leashed. This includes many of the picnic areas and the two pavilions.

If you’re looking to dry off after a day at the beach or get in some extra exercise, there are many easy trails in the woods around the area. You can also hit up one of the many pet-friendly restaurants in Cheshire like the Watch Factory or Biagio’s Osteria for lunch or dinner.

Bluff Point State Park 

This state park is located in Groton and open from morning until the sun begins to set. It also happens to offer free parking and access to leashed dogs from October through March. The park is massive at 800 acres which plenty for you and your family to do. You can enjoy hiking, boating, or take in some saltwater fishing. As far as hiking goes, the main trail leads to a bluff over the sound where you can get some beautiful views of the water.

The beach is located on the coastline and the beach offers access to many paths along with undeveloped woods. The great thing about the forest is that there are plenty of shady areas to hang out. It’s also a place that many locals say is their dog’s favorite spot. In addition, the city of Groton is pet-friendly overall with tons of restaurants catering to dogs like Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream and Anthony J’s Bistro.

The Best Spots in Connecticut for Fantastic Coffee 

Connecticut is a small state and, as such, many people travel through it on the way to somewhere else while few stop to smell the roses in the state. However, the beaches, towns, and sights of the Appalachian Trail are well worth focusing on even when comparing the state to metropolises like Boston and New York City.

Even though the state is tiny, that doesn’t mean it can’t offer you a great coffee. Connecticut used to be the sort of spot where coffee was reserved for the early mornings and late nights with Dunkin’ Donuts being the place to go. Even today, quick service coffee is a staple of New England.

However, recent years have been a change as roasters and coffee shops offering specialty brew have added a sense of community to a great cup of coffee. The coffee community of the state has new cafes coming in every year. There are large amounts of coffee shops on the coastline and central Connecticut, which makes it easier to get a great macchiato while in the state.

Giv Coffee – Canton 

This café started out with the idea of helping others by offering roasted coffee, but it has quickly become a thriving business that supplies consumers and cafes across the state. The roasting started when Jeff Brooks and his wife went on a trip and came back with 80 pounds of green coffee. Based on that, Giv Coffee offers community growth through having part of their proceeds go to organizations and charities that help those in need.

Late-night roasting and selling at farmers markets eventually led the couple to renovate a house in Canton where their shop opened. The café is now warm and welcoming with global décor and reclaimed wood. There are also several different seating options from corner chairs to the bar. The menu at this spot offers seasonal specials, espresso beverages, and a selection of pour-over beverages along with a food menu.

The focus on inspiring the community behind Giv can be seen in the roasting and other business practices. The café works to foster relationships with their farmers and offers training opportunities for baristas in the state. Because of the farmer relationships and high standards, the café is also a top choice for wholesale beans for restaurants and shops in the area.

RaonJena Coffee & Dessert – Glastonbury 

Glastonbury is found southeast of Hartford and brings in RaonJena Coffee & Dessert, one of the newest spots in Connecticut. The team who are composed of Do Kim and Hanna Park, a married couple, bring together their love of baking and specialty coffee to offer beverages and sweets for those in the neighborhood. Both of these things are taking very seriously, and you may even see the owners running around the café.

When you step inside the café, the first thing you will notice are the white walls and finished wood accented by beautiful plants and photos of New England. There’s also a giant case of desserts that will pull you in, offering everything from tiramisu to cookies and cream and strawberry macarons.

This café has a La Marzocco Linea Classic which offers all the best espresso drinks along with a Mahlkonig grinder and all sorts of beans from Giv Coffee Roasters for batch and pour-over brews. If you happen to speak to Do, he will explain his coffee is inspired by the Japanese, so the cups are tea-like and offers lots of flavor.

Story and Soil Coffee – Hartford

 Story and Soil is a little spot that focuses largely on light food and espresso drinks in Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood. It offers up the main specialty coffee option for the capital city of the state. This shop is a multi-roaster establishment owned by Sarah McCoy, Michael McCoy, and Michael Acosta. They have built it into an inviting space where records are heard playing and whoever is at the bar is sure to toss out a greeting when you step through the doors.

This shop is fairly small, but it feels like home courtesy of the artwork, floral and lavender print walls, and hanging plants. When it comes to the menu, you will want to make a point to try the Spanish latte. If you are more interested in drip or pour-over coffee, there is both a local and an international section with roasters who have included Methodical Coffee, Giv Coffee, La Cabra Coffee, and Passenger Coffee.

After the harsh winter is over in Connecticut, you can enjoy the seats outside on the patio. The busy streets offer great people watching and you can even peek over at the Hartford’s Capitol Building.

Rene Coffee Roasters – West Hartford 

Rene is a spot in the Connecticut coffee world that is well known and loved for what it offers. Many of the other specialty shops across the state are operated and owned by people who used to be baristas at this café. That goes to show the dedication there is for coffee leadership and education at the local café.

This space is located on Park Road and promises to offer an artisanal coffee gathering spot for all of the locals. This is done through offering lots of seating and a décor that consists of wood elements and exposed brick and a touch of industrial design. It’s a great spot to spend lots of time and won’t get overwhelming in the process.

As you go up to order, you can see all the coffees roasted in house as well as the Diedrich roaster. The bar offers a large number of brewing options behind a glass barrier. Because of that, the siphon coffee is one of the top choices since it looks so cool from the other side of the bar. In addition to offering this café, there are also mobile coffee trailers at Clinton Premium Outlets and the Connecticut Science Center.

Rebel Dog Coffee Company – Various Locations

 Rebel Dog started as a small food truck in Plainville before opening their first café in the same city. Peter Lemnotis and Harrison Poltorak opened the shop in 2017 where the Confetti restaurant used to be. The place had an emphasis on grab and go coffee, but the owners wanted to create a place where both great coffee and a meal could be found.

This particular spot is located next to JV’s Taproom and offers checkered floors, a latte art logo mural, and pallet artwork done by the Pallet People. The café offers a breakfast and lunch menu with items like sandwiches, soup, pierogis, and potato pancakes.

As for the beverages, this spot offers seasonal espresso drinks made on a La Marzocco GB5 while also serving nitro, cold brew, and pour-over beverages. There is a custom made tap system that came from Tapped which offers beverages like kombucha, cold brew iced tea, and Jet Fuel, which is a cold brew concentrate.

The shop in Plainville has been very popular for ages, but the company has also expanded into Farmington, which is a nearby neighborhood. The new spot has the same atmosphere as the old one and includes a large mural with the logo as well as the same plants and tasty coffee beans.

Spots to Grab Dinner with the Dog in Connecticut 

Now that you know where to get coffee with your dog and have an idea of which beaches are the most canine-friendly, it’s time to look at restaurants that allow dogs to come with you. There is no lack of options no matter what kind of cuisine you are in the mood for. Some of the best options are listed below.

Shake Shack – Westport 

If you’ve never enjoyed a burger at Shake Shack, it is more than time to change that. This spot offers up thick and creamy milkshakes, juicy burgers with all your favorite toppings, and greasy crinkle-cut fries. Not only that, but the menu also includes a dog sundae. The café also offers your four-legged buddy a fresh bowl of water when you stop in. Dogs are welcome to dine on the patio with you but should be kept on a leash.

The Elbow Room – West Hartford

 The Elbow Room is a dog-friendly spot in West Hartford that offers a large menu of contemporary American favorites like salads, soups, burgers, and hot entrees. Some of the standouts on the menu include the lobster mac and cheese, grilled salmon, blackened grouper tacos, and baby back ribs. There is outside seating right in the West Hartford Center so you and your favorite pup can dine, and people watch.

Sea View Snack Bar – Mystic 

Ready to dig into all the fresh seafood that Connecticut has on offer? Sea View Snack Bar offers picnic tables that dogs can join you at with a view of Mystic Harbor. The menu is considerable and includes items like fish sandwiches, lobster rolls, bacon cheeseburgers, fried clams, and crab cakes. If you want to nosh on New England favorites, this is a place you can’t miss visiting.

Stowe’s Seafood – West Haven

 Another place to enjoy the best food in the area is Stowe’s Seafood. The spot is a clam shack that serves fried haddock, lobster rolls, mussels, fried clams, and tons of other seafood option. It offers picnic tables that are dog-friendly and right across from the beach. Since the prices are low and the food is great, the lines can get a bit long here. We recommend showing up a little early for the best chance.

The Place – Guilford

 If you are in the mood for steak, this is “the Place” to be. It’s also the perfect spot to enjoy seafood, as well. Whether you want a plate of clams or a grilled steak, you can enjoy it in an open-air environment. The menu includes everything from ribeye steak to grilled clams, lobster, mussels, and roasted corn. You can sit on wood stumps at large round tables to seat a crowd. You can bring your own beer to enjoy and pups are welcome to come along with you. Keep in mind that it’s only open in the evenings on Saturday, though.

Jealous Monk – Mystic

Another spot in Mystic, especially for those who enjoy alcohol, is Jealous Monk. They offer a regional craft beer menu along with more than 30 beers on tap. There are also canned and bottled beers from all around the world. The food menu is also excellent with options like homemade brats and sausages, wings, Belgian fries, salads, and sandwiches. The beer garden and outdoor seating area are open to dogs and their owners.

Brendan’s 101 – Norwalk 

When it comes to classic pub fare and seafood, you can enjoy dog-friendly patio seating at this historic restaurant in Norwalk. The menu is full of breakfast items that can be ordered the entire day long along with barbecue pork sandwiches, lobster rolls, fried jumbo shrimp, burgers, Cobb salads, and more. The dessert menu also comes with delicious things like double chocolate chip brownies and banana bread.

Plan B Burger Bar l- Glastonbury 

Want some burgers and beer while your dog is nearby? Plan B Burger Bar offers a fun atmosphere with outdoor seating where dogs are welcome to come. The restaurant focuses on grill and bar food like fresh ground burgers, pulled pork sliders, wings, shepherd’s pie, and country meatloaf. There is also bourbon, beer, and a selection of signature cocktails to choose from. The spot is open every single day, so make sure to stop in.

Wrapping Up 

At this point, you know exactly where to go while in Connecticut to enjoy time with your pooch. You can grab a coffee in the morning from one of the top specialty shops, hit up a beach or dog park during the afternoon, and get grub at a dog-friendly establishment for dinner. You also have all the info you need to plan your trip and have a great time in the state. So pack up everything you need and have an awesome time in New England!

Bonus Questions

1. Which state is Connecticut in?

Connecticut, the city, is based in Connecticut the state itself. This state is bordered on the west by New York, the north by Massachusetts, the sound by Long Island Sound, and the east by Rhode Island.

2. What is the best place to live in Connecticut?

While it’s hard to say definitively, some of the most popular places to live in the state of Connecticut include Bridgeport, Greenwich, New Haven, Stamford, Weston, and Westport. Just remember that not everyone has the same taste so the right town for you may be different.

3. Does it snow in Connecticut?

It does snow in Connecticut, but it’s usually after the first of December in coastal and southern parts of the state. December through mid-March are the typical winter months for the state. In some cases, the coast will get rain while other areas will get snow.

4. What food is Connecticut known for?

There is a ton of great food in the state of Connecticut. Some of the things you might want to try while visiting include New Haven-style clam pie, hot lobster rolls, steamed cheeseburgers, homemade ice cream, apple cider, and Deep River snacks.

5. What is Connecticut known for?

Connecticut is known as the Constitution State, which is based on the establishment of state government through the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. These orders were written in 1639 and are considered history’s first-ever written constitution. The state is also called the Nutmeg State.

6. What things were invented in Connecticut?

Lots of different inventions originated in Connecticut such as the submarine, the can opener, and vulcanized rubber. Other inventions of the state include the lobster roll, the dictionary, the frisbee, the sewing machine, and the vacuum cleaner

7. Who is famous from Connecticut?

Many famous individuals have lived and grown up in Connecticut. A few of them include Michael Bolton, Katharine Hepburn, Henry Ward Beecher, Suzanne Collins, Christopher Lloyd, Annie Leibovitz, J.P. Morgan, George W. Bush, Betsey Johnson, and Caitlin Cahow.

8. What does the Connecticut flag mean?

The flag for Connecticut is made up of a black baroque shield with three grapevines, each of which has three bundles of purple grapes on an azure blue field. The banner under the shield translates to “He who transplanted sustains,” which is the Connecticut state motto.

9. What crops are grown in Connecticut?

Connecticut offers a lot of product including apples, broadleaf tobacco, barley, wheat, carrots, turnips, cabbage, radishes, herbs, peas, lettuce, pears, oats, parsnips, and onions. Some of the threats to these crops include birds, blight, rodents, drought, insects, and flooding.

10. What is the oldest town in Connecticut?

Wethersfield was founded in 1634 by a Puritan settlement party which included John Oldham, Nathaniel Foote, Robert Seeley, Thomas Topping, and other men. It is considered to be the oldest town in the state. However, there is some argument about whether a remote settlement should count as a town.

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