For New England charm a short drive away from New York City, you can’t do much better than Connecticut. The small state is often skimmed over and hurried through, experienced as one long stretch of highway. But if you pull off the broad I-95, things quickly get more scenic, more historical and more interesting. Scratch the surface of college-town and seaport New Haven, and you’ll find a town buzzing with revitalization—art galleries, ethnic restaurants and cozy pubs. Feel the chest-rattling horn blow of Mystic’s steamers; stroll its harbor and pop into the Seaport Museum and Mystic Aquarium, then head up to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos for something totally different. 18th-century town Litchfield is green with parklands waiting to be picnicked in, hiked through and thoroughly enjoyed. Literature lovers and art fans will want to detour in capital Hartford, and linger over Wadsworth Atheneum, America’s first public art museum, and the house museums of writers Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Elizabeth George Speare. Beaches, lighthouses and Technicolor autumn leaves round out this New England state so often overlooked—which means you may get it all to yourself. Lucky you.