As Told by Locals

This past week I sat down with two girls from my dorm hall to discuss their origins and invoke a little debate. In this interview, I posed the topic Maryland vs. Connecticut, their respective home-states, to see if I could find some highly recommended hidden travel gems, and I discovered quite a few. Trying to decide on somewhere to visit this summer? Worry no longer, I’ve got two great options here!

Where’s the best place to get a bite to eat around you?

Maryland: “Chick and Ruth’s in downtown Annapolis. They have a Man vs. Food milkshake that’s huge with huge sandwiches and burgers. And instead of bread for an appetizer, they give you dill pickles, which are so yummy. If you still have room for dessert, which you probably won’t, you can go down the street to the Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory to eat ice cream while looking at the boats in the water.”

Connecticut: “Frank Pepe Pizzeria in New Haven. It’s supposed to be really famous and it takes forever to get in, but once you do it’s the best pizza in the world. They even have different doughs, like whole wheat, which is pretty cool and it’s right by Yale so it’s a nice area.”

You’re bored on a Saturday afternoon. What is there to do?

Maryland: “Bethesda is a cool outdoor shopping area with a bunch of cute little shops and cute little restaurants. I always go to Georgetown cupcakes, and since this one is less well known there’s usually less people there. If you follow them on Facebook and get there early in the morning they’ll post a secret flavor and you can ask for it specifically.”

Connecticut: “If it’s summer and you’re bored you can go down to Longshore and rent kayaks, paddle boards, whatever at Longshore and West Port  and spend the day sailing on the sound. If you’re lucky, you might be able to see a seal. It’s a cool place for a romantic getaway, almost Gatsby-esque. If you want to, you can sail to Cockenoe, which is a little further off the island but it’s a cool place.”

If someone from out of state asked you for a vacation spot recommendation, what would you say?

Maryland: “The Inner Harbour. First of all, they have the national aquarium, not just any aquarium. They also have a bunch of restaurants in and around the area. Fort McHenry is right nearby for the history buffs. At night time, Power Plant Live! is a pretty happening place with live music sometimes and a good nightlife. The Hippodrome Theater is right nearby, too, if you want to catch a broadway show. If you stray away from the area a little bit, you’ll find the Lexington Market which is a huge indoor open-air market with seating areas.”

Connecticut: “Mystic is right on the water on the border of Connecticut and Rhode Island. There’s the Mystic seaport where you can tour old boats and during Halloween they do a haunted tour of the seaport. They also have mystic pizza, which is really good, and an aquarium. It’s a quaint, small town feel if that’s what you’re looking for.”

Are there any cool seasonal events that happen near you?

Maryland: “During Christmas time in downtown Baltimore there’s this street- 34th street- that’s closed off to traffic for people to walk down and see the lights on the homes. It’s not put on by the city or anything, but a bunch of people just decided they’d go overboard with lights. They can’t sell anything on the street but at the end of the street there’s tons of vendors selling little trinkets and food. People go there on New Years Eve too.”

Connecticut: “Every summer, West Port has a farmer’s market at an abandoned lot near a library. Towards the fourth of July in the same lot they have the Yankee Doodle Fair that brings in rides and food. It’s a typical fair with games and popcorn and funnel cake. If you get bored you can head downtown for froyo on the river and you can watch people rowing.”

What’s something famous in your area?

Maryland: “Old Bay, Natty Boh and Berger cookies. Old Bay for your crabs, but also for your chips (crab chips), your popcorn, your mac and cheese and your french fries. French fries with Old Bay are the bomb. Everyone in Baltimore drinks Natty Boh- it’s sold everywhere. Berger cookies are shortbread cookies covered in fudge that are probably too good to be legal considering their fat and sugar content. You can get them everywhere.”

Connecticut: “We’re the home of ESPN. You can tour their headquarters in Bristol if you’re into sports. If you’re not, there’s an amusement park right next door with tons of roller coasters. We also have the West Port Country Playhouse. A bunch of people perform there, some pretty famous, and backstage they have framed pictures of all the stars who have performed. Kristin Chenoweth has been there, Robert Sean Leonard has been there too, it’s pretty cool.”

So, why should people visit your state?

Maryland: “Maryland has your city, your farmland, your beaches, your mountains. What more could you ask for? We have all four seasons, so you get to see the leaves change and hot and humid summer days. And, most importantly, where else can you get Rofo, Wawa and Sheetz, all in one? Ha!”

Connecticut: “I feel like Connecticut is the perfect blend of a metropolitan and quaint, revolutionary feel. We’re not very well known, so we don’t get a lot of tourists, but that makes it nice and homey. Also, we’re small enough that you can see everything there is to see pretty easily.”

So there you have it, the ins and outs of two wonderful vacation options as told by their locals. They may not have seemed like appealing destinations before, but now that you know what there really is to do for fun, you’ll have to give one- or both- a try!


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