2022 Best of New England | Connecticut

With an eye on what’s new for 2022, Yankee’s editors round up the best attractions, eateries, and hotels in top Connecticut travel destinations, including New Haven, Mystic, and western Connecticut.

By Yankee Editors

May 05 2022


West Cornwall Covered Bridge, Connecticut

Photo Credit : Diane Diederich Photography (West Cornwall Covered Bridge)

With an eye on what’s new for 2022, Yankee’s editors round up the best attractions, eateries, and hotels in top Connecticut travel destinations, including New Haven, Mystic, and western Connecticut.

West Cornwall Covered Bridge, Connecticut
Photo Credit : Diane Diederich Photography (West Cornwall Covered Bridge)


Arethusa Farm Dairy and Café
West Hartford

The Litchfield farm famous for pampering cows (its “ladies” sleep on mattresses) has opened its first dairy shop and café under one roof in energetic West Hartford Center. Get your spoon stuck in creamy, breadcrumb-topped mac and cheese; assemble provisions for a picnic; wash down cookies with milk that tastes like childhood. You’re stronger than most if you can resist cloudlike scoops of butterfat-rich ice cream in homemade waffle cones. Choose a classic like maple walnut or a seasonal selection like sour cherry chocolate chunk.

Camacho Garage
New Haven

Garage doors roll up whenever weather allows at this two-bar tapas and tacos hot spot, which has been the culinary centerpiece of New Haven’s Westville neighborhood since it opened in 2020. Outfitted to evoke the Tijuana auto repair shop where chef Arturo Franco-Camacho’s dad whipped up remarkable fare on a Magic Chef camper stove, the menu’s enchantments include dip-and-devour tacos de birria and queso flameado, a bubbling cauldron of cheese studded with poblanos, mushrooms, and your choice of protein.

Crêpes Choupette & L’épicerie Choupette
New Haven

Launched in 2014 with a tricycle-pulled crêpe cart, Frenchman Adil Chokairy’s empire is not so petite anymore. Now, you can salivate as savory buckwheat crêpes or whole wheat, dessert-y sweet selections are brought to steamy life in his atmospheric crêperie, then continue your Parisian immersion at L’épicerie Choupette, openednext door in 2020. This market stocked with puréed chestnuts and duck rillettes doubles as an intimate spot for fondue or oozy raclette and French wine.

Hill-Stead Museum

What would Theodate do? The aesthetic sense of one of America’s first female architects, Theodate Pope Riddle, was constantly assessed as barns were transformed into Hill-Stead’s 7,000-square-foot visitors center, unveiled in 2021. The facility allows for even more arts programming at the historic site, which preserves not only the 1901 family home that she designed but also its French Impressionist masterpieces. There’s no charge to view the visitors center exhibits, nor to explore the 152 acres of surrounding gardens, woodlands, and sheep pastures.

Parkville Market

With options to satisfy everyone (even if it’s just you who can’t seem to choose among lobster rolls, poke, pho, barbecue, carnival treats, etc.), Connecticut’s first food hall is a tantalizing destination. This 2020 addition to the capital city’s dining scene has more than 20 food vendors, three bars, indoor and outdoor seating, and a lineup of live music and meet-and-mingle events.

Silas W. Robbins House

Write your own feel-good script at this fabulously ornate Second Empire Victorian B&B, the filming location for the Hallmark Channel’s 2018 movie Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane. With just five rooms, the restored manse and its two acres of well-tended gardens are an intimate retreat a mere 10-minute stroll from shops, restaurants, and the colonial houses that make this town one of a growing number of Connecticut locales catching the eyes of romantic-movie producers.

Westville Music Bowl
New Haven

It’s the second summer of shows at this open-air venue on the Yale campus. Gone are the legends who graced the court when this was the Connecticut Tennis Center; in their place are touring acts and cover bands that run the gamut of genres including prolific folk musician Andrew Bird and blues rockers the Tedeschi Trucks Band. If you’ve been hesitant to venture out, this 12,000-seat arena may be the place to make live music a part of your life again.


Mystic Seaport Museum

Its anchor attractions are timeless—artisan-inhabited village shops, a planetarium, boat tours, and notable ships like the whaler Charles W. Morgan—yet America’s foremost maritime museum perpetually catches fresh wind in its sails. With expanded casual dining offerings and the May 28 unveiling of “Story Boats,” an exhibit derived from the museum’s incomparable cache of small watercraft, you’ll want to linger and allow the magnitude of vessels like the Analuisa, which carried 23 Cuban refugees toward freedom, sink in.

Nana’s Bakery & Pizza

It’s no wonder this out-of-the-way newcomer attracts a steady stream of foodies to its handful of waterside tables. Masterminded by top Connecticut chef James Wayman, Nana’s turns simple comfort foods into revelations. With its slow-fermented sourdough crust made from house-milled grains, the pizza is so chewy, tangy, and so satisfying that it’s knocking New Haven–style pizzas off their pedestal. Take bakery treats to go, but polish off a made-to-order cinnamon-sugar sourdough doughnut while it’s still warm.

The Oyster Club/Treehouse

From takeout to meal kits, feeding first responders to farm dinners, the Oyster Club and its alfresco sister restaurant, Treehouse, have spent the past two years pivoting up a dust cloud. One constant: the exceptional quality of the local seafood, meats, and produce that executive chef James Wayman and team turn into fan favorites like roasted oysters, cured tuna charcuterie, house-made pastas, and one fabulous burger.

Submarine Force Library & Museum

You won’t be able to resist clambering inside the USS Nautilus, which has returned to its museum-side pier following the most significant refurbishment since the engineering wonder became a floating attraction. As you wriggle through tight spaces below the deck of the North Pole–traversing, world’s-first nuclear-powered submarine, you’ll appreciate the heroism of the U.S. Navy’s sub force, dubbed the “Silent Service.” Your smartphone’s all you need for immersive new augmented reality experiences that bring the free museum’s indoor exhibits to life.

The Whaler’s Inn

A crisp, coastal aesthetic unifies 45 rooms spread across five buildings at Mystic’s best-located hotel. You’re a 15-minute walk to Mystic Seaport and even closer to downtown’s shops and scene-y restaurants. And since the 2020 opening of the Shipwright’s Daughter, a superlative meal can be had right on-site. Chef David Standridge left two Michelin stars behind in NYC but brings his big-city sensibilities to a menu that changes with the tides. His deft touch turns the local harvest into revelatory cuisine.

Whitecrest Eatery

Imagine opening a restaurant inside a sprawling 19th-century mill in mid-2019—with thrifted china. Picture it, three unimaginable years later, a thriving dinner and weekend brunch destination known to an ever-expanding circle of foodies. You’ll intuit the passion and energy that Johan Jensen and Abbey Hemmann have poured into their venture at the Velvet Mill, where they’re surrounded by creative, supportive small businesses. Thanks to inventive yet approachable menus that showcase hyperlocal ingredients, those mismatched thrifted plates hold some of this region’s best dishes.


Bantam Bread Co.

Tiny Bantam has emerged from the shadow of neighboring Litchfield on the strength of its extraordinary food scene, and Bantam Bread was there at the start. Niles Golovin and Susie Uruburu began their business in the mid-’90s and still earn raves for their crackling sourdoughs, tarts, yeast-raised biscuits, and beloved “dirt bomb” muffins.

Bruce Museum

Sometimes bigger is better. For more than a century, the Bruce has had a well-deserved reputation as a surprising, under-the-radar gem spanning art, science, and natural history. Now, a three-story, 43,000-square-foot addition has doubled the museum space (and more than tripled the space for science exhibits). There’s a new sculpture garden. New galleries. New restaurant. New museum store. New community spaces. Adjust your radar accordingly. (Editors’ note: The Bruce Museum has announced that its expansion is now scheduled to open in March 2023.)

The Maritime Aquarium

Although a bridge replacement project chomped a megalodon-sized bite out of Connecticut’s second-largest family attraction, this home to somersaulting otters and pettable stingrays has gained more than it’s lost, thanks to $40 million in state reinvestment. The harbor seals’ habitat is seven-plus times larger. The IMAX-replacing 4D Theater is a rush for the senses. And interactivity abounds, whether you cruise Long Island Sound aboard a research vessel or “sketch and release” your own marine creature into the digital depths.

Mayflower Inn & Spa

The historic Mayflower Inn has undergone a rebuild so comprehensive that it was named one of Travel & Leisure’s best new hotels of 2021. Redesigned interiors highlight New England country charm, but the changes are more than skin-deep: Award-winning chef-in-residence April Bloomfield has amplified the food experience with local ingredients and artistic flair, while a partnership with New York–based holistic center The Well has multiplied the spa and fitness offerings. Still, the core appeal here has remained the same since the 1800s: luxury, comfort, escape.

The Po Café

A fresh, from-scratch lineup mixes virtuous (acai bowls, poke salads, local-yogurt parfaits) with sinful (“Po Chip” cookies laden with dark chocolate morsels and crumbled potato chips) as it buoys the comeback of a town landmark that chef-owner Maggie Colangelo took over in 2020. And there’s more good stuff to come, like “The OutPOst,” a seasonal second location on Lake Waramaug with food delivery (by boat!) to private docks and local beaches.

Spring Hill Vineyards
New Preston

Venture off Connecticut’s Wine Trail to this 18th-century farm, reimagined as a cultural hub and the most alluring of vineyards by Stephanie and Tim Ingrassia, movers and shakers on the Brooklyn arts scene. Wines made with Marquette grapes, which thrive in this microclimate, are the ones to try before delighting in photo ops with installations like Nicole Eisenman’s enormous sculptures and a wondrously transformed grain silo.

See More:
Best of New England 2022