In Greater New Haven, we don’t live in the past, but we’re close enough to it to visit. This is among the few places on the Eastern seaboard where you can still reach back to the earliest days of American history—a century before the Revolution. Outside of New Haven proper, here’s a brief survey of what gets us excited about the past:
A gorgeous shoreline town with a magnificent green, Guilford’s stock of historically significant buildings, many of which are open to the public during the summer, should be lingered over. The town’s most famous structure, the Henry Whitfield House, is a National Historic Landmark: built in 1639, the fort-like, thick-walled building is the oldest stone house in New England and the oldest house in Connecticut. Other significant buildings are the Hyland House, which dates from around 1700 and today serves as a museum of everyday colonial life; the Thomas Griswold House Museum, a late-1770s home with a period blacksmith shop; and the Dudley Farm, a living, working replica of a 19th century farm.
Anyone intrigued by Guilford’s historic center shouldn’t skip Branford’s Harrison House, a 1724 house that’s been beautifully restored. Other notable historic homes in the region include the Stone-Otis House in Orange, a Greek revival home restored to its original early-1800s condition, and Woodbridge’s Thomas Darling House, a stately 18th century estate (open by appointment).
The region’s past isn’t all that’s been preserved. The Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, a National Historic Site with over 100 vintage trolleys, is a must for children or train hobbyists. Visitors can even hop on a pristinely restored antique trolley car that still runs along its original tracks.