GEOGRAPHY OF CONNECTICUT

 Highest point in Connecticut on slope of Mount Frissell, as seen from Bear Mountain

Connecticut is bordered on the south by Long Island Sound, on the west by New York State, on the north by Massachusetts, and on the east by Rhode Island. The state capital is Hartford, and the other major cities include Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Danbury and New London. There are 169 incorporated towns in Connecticut. The highest peak in Connecticut is Bear Mountain in Salisbury in the northwest corner of the state. The highest point is just east of where Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York meet (42° 3' N; 73° 29' W), on the southern slope of Mount Frissell, whose peak lies nearby in Massachusetts. The Connecticut River cuts through the center of the state, flowing into Long Island Sound, Connecticut's outlet to the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite its size, the state has regional variations in its landscape and culture from the estates of Fairfield County's "Gold Coast" to the rolling mountains and horse-farms of the Litchfield Hills of northwestern Connecticut. Connecticut's rural areas and small towns in the northeast and northwest corners of the state contrast sharply with its industrial cities, located along the coastal highways from the New York border to New Haven, then northward to Hartford, as well as further up the coast near New London. Many towns center around a "green," such as the New Haven Green, Litchfield Green, Simsbury Green, Lebanon Green (the largest in the state), and Wethersfield Green (the oldest in the state). Near the green typically stand historical visual symbols of New England towns, such as a white church, a colonial meeting house, a colonial tavern or "inne," several colonial houses, etc., establishing a scenic historic appearance maintained for both historic preservation and tourism.

Bear Mountain, highest peak in Connecticut
A map of the Connecticut, New Haven, and Saybrook colonies
MAP OF CONNECTICUT
Due to the climate, degree of urbanization, and economic status of the state, it offers easily accessed forests, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and a coastline, all developed for recreation. The northern boundary of the state with Massachusetts is marked by the distinctive Southwick Jog or Granby Notch, an approximately 2.5 mile (4.0 km) square detour into Connecticut. The actual origin of this anomaly is clearly established in a long line of disputes and temporary agreements which was finally concluded in 1804, when southern Southwick, (whose residents sought to leave Massachusetts), was split in half.

Although Connecticut has a long maritime history, and a reputation based on that history, Connecticut has no direct access to the sea. The jurisdiction of New York actually extends east at Fishers Island, where New York shares a sea border with Rhode Island dividing Narragansett Bay. Although Connecticut has easy access to the Atlantic, between Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound, Connecticut has no direct ocean coast.

The southwestern border of Connecticut, where it abuts New York State, is marked by a panhandle in Fairfield County, containing the towns of Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien and part of Norwalk. This irregularity in the boundary is the result of territorial disputes in the late 1600s, culminating with New York giving up its claim to the area, whose residents considered themselves part of Connecticut, in exchange for an equivalent area extending northwards from Ridgefield to the Massachusetts border as well as undisputed claim to Rye, New York. Areas maintained by the National Park Service include: Appalachian National Scenic Trail; Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor; and Weir Farm National Historic Site.

The Scoville Memorial Library is the United States oldest public library. The library collection began in 1771, when Richard Smith, owner of a local blast furnace, used community contributions to buy 200 books in London. Patrons could borrow and return books on the third Monday of every third month. Fees were collected for damages, the most common being "greasing" by wax dripped from the candles by which the patrons read.

Luciano Mende

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