1. Our pizza.
Forget New York or Chicago. To us, Connecticut is synonymous with pizza, specifically New Haven-style (yes, that’s a thing). As pizza legend goes, Italian immigrant Frank Pepe came to New Haven, where he created the first American pizza by putting tomatoes on top of some old bread. His creation was so well received that in 1925, he opened his first pizzeria, which Nutmeggers today know as Pepe’s. And while there’s some dispute that maybe he wasn’t the first to bring this food staple to the US, any true Connecticut local will fight to the death to prove otherwise.
I’m not sure what it is about Connecticut, but its rolling hills and quiet temperament breeds some pretty hardcore Emily Posts. Here, it’s not who you know, but whom. We don’t ask “Can I go to the bathroom?“, but rather “May I?” We’ll never be caught dead in sweatpants (unless, maybe, you’re a college student) — not even at the drive-thru. And we most definitely never forget to send a perfectly orchestrated thank you note.
3. Coach Calhoun.
UConn Women’s Basketball is kind of like a religion around here with former coach Jim Calhoun as a god. Before leaving his head coach position to become UConn’s Special Assistant to the Director of Athletics, Calhoun reached a legendary status establishing himself as perhaps the greatest program builder in college basketball history. Not only did he lead the Huskies to win three NCAA National Championships, but in doing so, he also became the fifth coach in NCAA history to win three national titles. And his accomplishments don’t end there. In 2005, he was named a recipient of the John R. Wooden “Legends of Coaching Awards” and was the first coach in the history of the BIG EAST Conference to be named their Conference Coach of the year four times.
4. Dunkin Donuts.
OK, yeah, there are some dope local coffee shops and we certainly consume our fair share of Starbucks like the rest of the world, but nothing can quite compare to good old D&D in our eyes. Rain or shine, you’ll find us parked amidst a sea of brake lights before work just to get our regular iced coffee with cream and sugar from the cheerful visor-capped employee working the drive-thru. And when winter finally rolls around, don’t think we haven’t got that covered, too: We double cup that shit.
Yes, Connecticut does have craft beer. And wine. And two boozy “trails” to enjoy them. While just a few years ago, you couldn’t purchase alcohol on Sundays in the state of CT, the state has finally heard the complaints of the locals and done them one better. To date, there are roughly 45 breweries across this bucolic state (the majority of which you can visit on the independently organized CT Beer Trail), more than 10 times the number a decade ago, with 20 new ones slated for 2017. There are also 25 wineries (all of which you can visit — with a wine passport, no less — on the CT Wine Trail).
When you’re from Connecticut, chances are that dent in your car’s bumper wasn’t from another car — it was from a deer. Whether it’s watching them eat all the plants in your garden or swerving around them on the road, deer are a way of life around here, for better or for worse.