Connecticut in Autumn, The Mark Twain House in Hartford
Twain, aka Samuel Clemens would publish his greatest works, including The Prince and the Pauper, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn while living in a three-story red-brick home in Hartford from 1874 to 1891. Many scholars believe, however, that the bulk of his writing was done in a small cottage in Elmira, New York, since his wife, Livy, hated the smell of his cigars in the house. That didn’t stop Twain from having fun in his Hartford abode. If you watch the Ken Burns documentary on Twain before touring his home, you’ll learn that he would use the same props on the mantelpiece to tell a different story to his three young daughters every evening. Enter the house with a guide and you’ll see his billiard room on the third floor, where he would entertain guests long after his usual four-course dinner was finished. The interior was designed by none other than Louis Comfort Tiffany and many objects like Twain’s bedpost from Venice, where carved angels sit atop the headboard, are the writer’s original purchases.
Even if I was zipping through Hartford on my way to New York with no intention whatsoever of stopping at Twain’s House, three blocks away, I would get off I-84 at Exit 46 and make a beeline to Mo’s Midtown (25 Whitney Street, 860-236-7741). The Polish owners are known for their large, fluffy potato latkes and crispy hash browns, but I’ll order their buttermilk pancakes every time. Take a seat at the counter or one of the booths and dive into a short stack of blueberry pancakes. One bite of this heavenly creation, chockful of wild blueberries, and you’ll be stopping in Hartford far more often than you think.