Monday, February 25, 2013

Sub-Suburbia Central Connecticut

My trip to Connecticut was for business: I was out there for an interview in Bristol and wanted to connect that with a long weekend in New York to see a friend from Sweden. Bristol is a suburb of a suburb that is undergoing a lot of change, and I was interviewing for a planner position. I actually grew to like the area and could see living there, but unfortunately that would also mean a driving and on this part of the trip I did not get a chance to take very many pictures except for a few pictures of the Calvin and Hobbes-esque houses all around.

I truly expected to see a snow monster or two out there.
Connecticut is a beautiful place. There is no doubt about that, but what the area particular area is struggling with is how to adapt to a post-manufacturing economy. There are some great buildings out there that are completely unused, but the location is just far enough away from the major cities that it can't capitalize their energy. The area is completely car dominated: Bus service ends before many people get off of work and there are no bus shelters (or sidewalks) to speak of in many places. You must own a car, even more so than in a city like Abu Dhabi that I once called an autopia.

What else is out here? ESPN is based in Bristol and is one of the staple employers of the region. Lake Compounce is an amusement park that has one of the oldest operating roller coasters in the world (built in 1927). In Farmington, there is Ms. Porter's School for Girls ($48,000 a year). And Friendly's. We don't have them on the west coast, so I had to try them (I know them from Sam & Max Hit the Road).

The one bright spot that I noticed while I was there was the Super Natural Market in Bristol, which had a great lunch counter. One of the most interesting things on the menu? Steamed Hamburgers. It was pretty good! The process makes the burgers a little more tender and crumbly, but it was a lot for a not that much. If I worked here, I would be checking this place out for lunch daily.

After spending the day driving around, it was time to leave. On the way to drop off the rental car, I dropped by ON20 in Hartford, which is a skybar there. You can check out the photos after the break, along with a few from the train station. Next time? New York City!

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