Connecticut has always been somewhat uncharted territory to people living outside the state – but with a new Hartford-via-New Haven line of Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Corridor opening up the transport lines between New York City, Boston, and Hartford, places like West Hartford, Simsbury, and beyond are becoming more and more accessible to weekend travelers and foodie tourists alike.

Below, we spotlight some of our favorite classic and emerging destinations in central Connecticut – in particular, West Hartford, where new luxury hotel offerings, lovely gardens, and an incredible local food network continues to evolve and inspire...

Elizabeth Park Conservancy (Hartford)

Elizabeth Park Conservancy is a 102-acre historical city park listed in the National Register of Historic Places that straddles both Hartford and West Hartford– a shared gem among the two municipalities. With a beautiful dahlia garden, a charming duck pond, and a world-class rose garden on site, it’s a great place to take the kids or dogs out for an afternoon spent in nature, and a lovely spot to run, walk, or picnic amongst the flowers.

The Elizabeth Park Rose Garden is the oldest rose garden in America– renown for its lush alleys of blooming heritage roses and it’s copious, expertly maintained espalier. Visitors to the garden can enjoy a meal at the nearby Pond House Cafe (which also hosts events and weddings) or do as the locals and get a takeaway lunch from Popover (see below) to enjoy a perfect outdoor meal in the park.

Elizabeth Park Conservancy, 2804, 1561 Asylum Ave, West Hartford, CT 06117

Click here to read the entire article in Garden Collage magazine.