Connecticut is known across the country for being in New England and very little else. But what is it really like in the capitol of the Constitution State?
If you come from a part of the US where it doesn’t snow very often, then maybe you don’t realize just how much of a scourge this particular kind of weather can be. It brings havoc to the roads by making driving conditions difficult, it makes outdoor activities miserable for several months of the year, it makes walking anywhere a hassle, and most of all it is very cold.
And Hartford gets about fifty-six inches of it every year. If all that snow fell at the same time, it would amount to a blanket of snow a little over four-and-a-half feet deep covering the entire city. This is about a foot higher than the state average, which should give you an idea of just how much snow this city gets.
Fortunately for humanity, the entire snowfall of a season doesn’t usually fall all at once. Unfortunately, this means that all that snowfall is spread out over the course of the winter, which extends the inconvenience of snow to more of the year.
2: There Is No Sun
People always think that they could survive in a cold place without seeing the sun very often. They think that they’re tough. This is hubris. A lack of vitamin D can quickly cause depression in people who aren’t acclimatized to cloudy places, and that isn’t even to mention the toll that the constant cloudy skies can take on even the most sound of minds.
People who are used to reasonably sunny climates should probably take Hartford off of their list of places where they might like to move. It’s hard to overstate just how miserable this kind of climate can be if you aren’t prepared for it. Or maybe just set aside some budget for vitamin D supplements. Modern science is an amazing thing!
On to lighter issues, Connecticut is sandwiched right in between New York City and Boston, and Hartford is in and of itself a reasonably sized city. This combined with the two different interstate highways running through the city makes Hartford’s traffic feel a lot worse than it might if it were located a little further away from two of America’s biggest cities.
The bright side here is that Hartford has pretty reasonable public transportation and a connection to the East Coast’s extensive passenger rail system. Unfortunately, Hartford is not an especially walkable city even with its good public transportation, which makes getting to those train stations much harder.
And of course, the railway won’t help you if you’re trying to get to one of the Nutmeg States’ many national parks, which are some of its most interesting destinations. All this combines to make Hartford a difficult-to-navigate city.
4: Proximity To Big Cities
As mentioned earlier, Hartford is right in between Boston and NYC. Being close to these towns can overshadow the things that are cool and unique about Hartford itself, which has a number of pretty good museums and even some solid entertainment options for lovers of music and the theatre.
So if you move to Hartford and have friends visit from across the country, prepare to be forced to go to smelly, expensive New York again.
5: Distance From Big Cities
Hartford is too close to New York and Boston to differentiate itself, but it’s also in too weird of a spot to make to either of these cities convenient. Because Hartford is closer to the middle of the state, travel to either of these cities actually takes significantly longer than if you were living in a smaller town on the Long Island Sound. Because of this, people looking to live in CT and commute to the city usually choose to live in that area instead of Hartford.
Hartford is probably the least boring city in Connecticut. This is not an accomplishment, as Connecticut is infamous for being a really boring place. Fortunately for Nutmeggers, Hartford has the earlier mentioned museums and theaters going for it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really have much else going on. No famous festivals, no beach access, and not much that isn’t a historical site can make Hartford a difficult place to find something to do.
7: Insurance Companies
From the mundanely boring to the frustratingly boring, Hartford is sometimes known as the insurance capital of the world for its high density of insurance companies. Why are they there? Who cares. They employ a significant portion of the city’s population, meaning that it’s unlikely you’ll be able to avoid people working in that industry even if you try really hard.
Love it or hate it, Hartford is a place where politics is unavoidable. It is both the fourth largest city and the capital of Connecticut, which makes it a prime place for protests and picketing, rallies, and campaigning. Even if you’re the kind of person who loves politics, this can become a bit much over the course of years.
If you love being politically involved, there should pretty much always be something for you to work on in this town. If you don’t, you should probably plan a couple of alternate routes to your workplace just in case.
10: High Taxes
This is more the fault of the State than the city, as Hartford only levels taxes on property and motor vehicles. That being said, the income tax in CT is pretty high if you make a lot of money.
Like most states, taxes for people who don’t make very much money are actually pretty low, sitting around 5.00-5.50% for the vast majority of taxpayers. This is a fairly reasonable amount, and a lot of the talk around CT’s high tax rate is really upset at their maximum tax rate of 6.999% for people who make 500,000$ per year or more.
This combined with their relatively high sales tax of 6.35% can make it expensive to be exorbitantly wealthy in the Land of Steady Habits. With property tax and motor vehicles tax on top of that for living in Hartford, this is certainly a city that will be more expensive to live in the more money you make.
For most people who move to Hartford though, taxes will only be a mild issue. Obviously, any amount of tax is a burden, but unless you’re making six figures the burden in this particular state is actually fairly reasonable, especially considering that a Nutmegger making 60,000$ per year will be paying a lower percentage of their income than a Georgian making 7,000$ per year (5.50% for CT, 5.75% for GA)
All and all, taxes in Hartford are a mixed bag.
11: Being Called A Nutmegger
You may have noticed our use of the term “Nutmegger.” This is a colloquial term for people from the state of Connecticut. Again, this isn’t necessarily a Hartford-specific thing, but it is something that people who live in Hartford will have to deal with.
The term comes from the American colonial period when merchants from the Connecticut area would travel the colonies selling nutmeg they had imported from the spice islands. Because Nutmeg was a staple of American cuisine at the time, this would have been one of the most notable things about people from this area.
There are also allegations that the term comes from a certain class of scammer who would sell wooden nutmegs to people and then skip town before they could be found out. Whether this is true or not is up for debate, as the phenomenon could also have been caused by the purchasers of the nutmeg not knowing how to properly prepare it.
Whatever the origin is, people from Connecticut are now called Nutmeggers, which is actually an improvement from the alternative Connecticutian. If you think you can handle being known by some of the weirdest demonyms in the country, then Hartford will certainly seem more appealing. If not, you may want to look elsewhere.
12: Unfriendly People
There’s a certain stereotype of New Englanders in particular in which they are considered to be cold and uncaring hardcore protestants. This is not entirely the case. People in Hartford aren’t necessarily mean or cold, but they aren’t especially interested in socializing either.
Considering that they spend a significant amount of the year snowed in, it’s not hard to see where the habit of keeping to yourself comes from. However, if you’re used to being able to quickly make a lot of friends, you may need to adjust your expectations. Here, being considerate often means letting people do their thing unbothered, and that’s fine.
13: Old Buildings
Most of the US, especially in the West, has a serious lack of old things. It’s easy to spend your whole life without ever seeing anything from longer than a hundred and fifty years ago. Not so in Connecticut! The Nutmeg State has a lot of outdated architecture, which can give a lot of places a very specific vibe.
In Hartford, even the newer houses are designed after old school townhouses. If you aren’t into this style, you may be hard-pressed to find something else.
Alongside having a lot of older buildings, CT is famous for having a great number of hauntings. If you believe in ghosts and are worried about having a lot of them nearby, it’s hard to imagine a place in the US with a higher concentration of them. On the other hand, if you’re into spooky tourist traps, you may be able to get a couple of afternoons of entertainment out of visiting them here.
15: Tiny State
A lot of the things on this list apply to Connecticut in general as much as they do to Hartford specifically. This is because Connecticut is tiny. At less than six thousand square miles of area, CT is the third smallest state in the country. Only Delaware and Rhode Island are smaller, although the margins here are pretty big.
The fact is, you will likely find yourself needing to leave the state far more often than you would if you previously lived in a state like Washington, Texas, or Virginia. This means you need to keep in mind gas taxes, speed limits, and local laws of nearby states a lot of the time if you want to make the most of your time and money.
It also means that you have limited options for places to go if you’re trying to stay in the state. The flip side of this is that once you get past Hartford’s traffic, you can go pretty much anywhere in the state and be back by the evening. Like with most of the things on this list, this can be a pro or a con depending on your preferences.
16: Lots Of People Are Leaving
CT is one of the only states in the country that have more people moving out than are moving in. This is true in Hartford as well, where the population is shrinking every year. It isn’t shrinking especially quickly, but it is shrinking.
What does this mean for people looking to move in? It means that you’re living in a place where opportunity will likely decrease over time since a lower population means fewer people to market to and a smaller pool of talent to select from when looking to hire.
That being said, it also means that there’s a lot of available housing and not a lot of people competing for local jobs. Again, this is quite the mixed bag.
17: Split For Sports
The Yankees are in New York. The Red Socks are in Boston. Baseball is huge on the east coast. Everyone in Hartford has to choose eventually, and since there are no local sports teams there aren’t many viable options besides the big two. Consider developing a deep attachment to your local MLB team before moving here to buy yourself a little more time to choose.
Just remember that choosing the Yankees will make you a bad person.
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