Connecticut Tourism

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Connecticut Tourism (1)

Mecha Noodle Bar, Little Pub, Elicit Brewing Company, Blackstones Steakhouse, La Fortuna, and Pinstripes Bowling Bistro are six highly-rated new restaurants that opened in Connecticut since late 2019. Escapology and Blue Ox Ax Throwing are two new Connecticut attractions. The Blake Hotel is a new boutique hotel that opened last year.

The Blake Hotel

  • The Blake Hotel is a boutique hotel with 108 rooms that opened in January 2019 in New Haven.
  • It has a 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor, and guests praise its excellent service and comfortable ambiance.
  • The hotel offers extended-stay guestrooms with amenities like a valet service, fitness center, rooftop bar and restaurant, and onsite coffee shop.
  • Its restaurants include Hamilton Park, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the High George rooftop restaurant and bar.
  • Room rates start at roughly $275 per night.

Mecha Noodle Bar

  • Mecha Noodle Bar is a popular Vietnamese chain restaurant that opened a new location in Stamford in September 2019. In Vietnamese, "mecha" means "mom-and-pop."
  • The restaurant has a 4.5-star rating on Yelp with guests highlighting the service, consistently good food, and unique decor.
  • Its menu options include steamed baos, egg rolls, dumplings, pho, and ramen.
  • Prices for snacks and appetizers range from $6 to $8, and main courses cost between $12 and $14.

Little Pub

  • Little Pub has four locations across Connecticut and serves traditional pub fare. It opened its newest restaurant in Stratford in September 2019.
  • Its Stratford location has a 4-star rating on Yelp, and diners talk about the pub's excellent food and beautiful views of the Long Island Sound.
  • The menu features crocks of soup like french onion, fish 'n chips, burgers, and sandwiches. Little Pub offers more than 20 bottled beers, and its draft beer selection includes Guinness, Stella Artois, and Maine Peeper.
  • Prices for appetizers range from roughly $9 to $12, and main courses cost between $11 and $16.


  • Escapology's Trumbull location, which opened in December 2019, is the newest escape room in Connecticut.
  • It has a 5-star rating on both Yelp and Facebook with reviewers calling it a great experience for families and groups.
  • Escape games include the Antidote, where players scramble to find an antidote for a chemical contagion before time runs out, and Murder Mansion, a challenging murder-mystery experience.
  • Escapology also creates unique escape experiences by request for corporate and team building events.
  • It costs $27.99 per person to play, and teams must have between two and eight players.

Elicit Brewing Company

  • Elicit Brewing Company is a restaurant and brewery that opened in November 2019 in Manchester.
  • It has a 4-star rating on Yelp with patrons praising its unique atmosphere, entertainment, and beer selection.
  • The menu includes wings, tacos, pretzels, pizza, salads, and sandwiches. It has more than 40 craft beers on tap.
  • Elicit Brewing Company offers an arcade, live entertainment, and special events like 80s Paint Night and Acoustics Wednesdays.
  • Menu prices range from $9 to $14. Beer costs between $4 and $12, while cocktail prices run between $10 and $13.

Blackstones Steakhouse

  • Blackstones Steakhouse has four locations across Connecticut and just opened its latest restaurant in October 2019 in Norwalk.
  • It has a 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor, and guests describe it as serving delicious food in an elegant environment.
  • The menu features soups, salads, pasta, seafood, chicken, and steak. The restaurant also offers an extensive wine list.
  • Appetizer prices range from $6 to $20. Entrees cost between $25 and $51 with steaks priced between $35 and $80.

Blue Ox Axe Throwing

  • Blue Ox Axe Throwing has two locations in Connecticut. It opened its Bridgeport location in October 2019.
  • It has a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor with visitors describing it as a unique experience while noting its BYOB policy and informative staff.
  • Blue Ox Axe Throwing is exactly what it sounds like: people hurling axes at a large wooden bullseye for an hour at a time. Visitors are assigned to a throwing lane similar to the lane setup in a bowling alley.
  • It costs roughly $20 per person per hour, though packages are available for special events and larger groups.

La Fortuna

  • La Fortuna is an Italian restaurant that opened in November 2019 in Stratford.
  • It has a 4-star rating on Yelp, and guests describe it as a "hidden gem" with good food, an attentive staff, and a welcoming atmosphere.
  • The menu includes salads, pasta, seafood, pizza, chicken, and steak. It also offers a dessert menu.
  • Menu prices range from $7 to $16 for appetizers and $17 to $30 for entrees.

Pinstripes Bowling Bistro

  • Pinstripes Bowling Bistro opened its Norwalk location in December 2019. The restaurant concept combines a bowling alley and authentic Italian-American cuisine to create a unique dining experience.
  • The restaurant has not yet built a presence on review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor, but it does have a 4.4-rating on its Facebook page. Reviewers call it a fun experience that's great for families and praise the food, service, and ambiance.
  • The menu features soups, salads, flatbreads, pizza, sandwiches, pasta, steaks, and ribs. It also offers a cocktail and dessert menu.
  • Guests can bowl or play bocce at the onsite bowling alley.
  • Menu prices range from $11 to $30.

Research Strategy

We began by searching press releases and the Visit Connecticut tourism website to find additional examples of new attractions, restaurants, and hotels that have opened in Connecticut since late 2019. We defined "late 2019" as any time between the months of September and December. To determine whether these businesses were highly-rated, we used consumer review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. We were able to find six such restaurants and two recent attractions meeting the requested criteria. To find hotels, we expanded our search to include industry databases like Hotel-Online without any success. We then focused our research on Connecticut publications like the Hartford Courant and local newspapers. We found two examples of recent hotel openings in Connecticut: the Graduate New Haven, which has already been mentioned in an earlier report, and the Blake Hotel, which opened in January 2019.
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Connecticut Tourism (2)

Examples of events happening this year in Connecticut include the Torrington Strawberry Festival, the Black Bear Americana Music Fest, and the Mystic Film Festival. This report provides eight such events in total and outlines the dates, context, and popularity of each.

The Heart of Shakespeare: Love Songs, Scenes, and Sonnets

  • This Valentine's Day event will be held on February 14, 2020 at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington. Tickets cost $45.
  • The event is organized by the Capital Classics Theatre Company and features a troupe performing scenes and sonnets from Shakespearean plays like Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, Love's Labour's Lost, and Much Ado About Nothing.
  • Attendees also participate in a champagne and cheese-tasting before the show.
  • Although specific attendance data are not publicly posted, the Capital Classics Theatre Company has a community following of roughly 2,200 people on Facebook. The performance company is native to Connecticut and based in West Hartford.

Connecticut Storytelling Festival and Conference

  • The 39th Annual Connecticut Storytelling Festival and Conference will be held April 24-25, 2020 in New London. Tickets cost $150.
  • The event features lectures, workshops, and dramatic performances centered around the art of storytelling. This year's headliners include Bill Harley, Linda Gorham, and Robin Moore.
  • Specific attendance data are not publicly posted, but the Connecticut Storytelling Center has just over 1,000 Facebook followers.

Thread City Hop Fest

  • Thread City Hop Fest is an annual beer festival that will be held on April 26, 2020 in Willimantic. The event is now in its seventh year. Tickets cost $35 if ordered in advance and $50 if purchased at the entrance.
  • The festival is hosted by the Willimantic Brewing Company and showcases more than 45 breweries from throughout the New England region. It features beer-tastings, food trucks, and live entertainment.
  • Proceeds are donated to charities like the No Freeze Project, a Connecticut organization that helps the homeless community find shelter and employment.
  • Guinness, Blue Point Brewing Company, and Rotary International are among this year's sponsors.
  • Attendance data is not publicly available, but the event has nearly 1,900 followers on Facebook.

Torrington Strawberry Festival

  • The Torrington Strawberry Festival will be held on June 13, 2020. Admission to the event is free.
  • On its website, it claims to be "New England's premiere strawberry festival."
  • This year, the festival will feature over 70 vendors selling handcrafted merchandise and an assortment of strawberry-themed foods like strawberry shortcake, strawberry lemonade, and strawberry pie. The event will also have food trucks and live entertainment.
  • Preparation for last year's festival required more than 500 pounds of strawberries.
  • Attendance data is not publicly posted, but the event's 2019 Facebook page indicates that 1,600 people went. Since this information is limited to the Facebook community, official attendance numbers are likely higher.

Absolute Sound Music Festival

  • Absolute Sound Music Festival is an electronic dance music (EDM) event that will be held August 22-23, 2020 in Bridgeport. Standard admission costs $40, and tickets with access to the campsite cost $60.
  • The event was founded by DJ Anthony Costa to provide an affordable entertainment venue for EDM fans in the New England region.
  • The festival's Facebook page has just over 870 followers, but official attendance data are not publicly posted.

The Connecticut Renaissance Faire

  • The Connecticut Renaissance Faire will take place every Saturday and Sunday from September 5–October 18, 2020 in Lebanon. Ticket rates are $15 for adults, $10 for children between seven and 12, and $5 for pets. Admission is free for children six and under.
  • The upcoming 2020 season marks the festival's 22nd year.
  • The event features stage performances, special events, themed weekends, and live music. Visitors can enjoy authentic Renaissance-themed food and drinks or buy merchandise in the marketplace. Other attractions include jousting shows, games, crafting, and contests.
  • The Connecticut Renaissance Faire is popular and has over 34,700 followers on Facebook. Specific attendance numbers are not publicly available.

Black Bear Americana Music Fest

  • The Black Bear Americana Music Fest will be held October 9-11, 2020 in Goshen. Tickets cost $50 for a one-day pass, $90 for a two-day pass, and $125 for a three-day pass. Early-bird ticket deals are available.
  • The festival features a campground, local vendors, and live music performances.
  • Headliners for last year's festival included the Weight Band and such sponsors as Tito's Vodka, Pepsi, and the Woodbury Brewing Company.
  • Attendance data are not publicly available, although the festival has over 1,500 followers on Facebook.

Mystic Film Festival

  • The Mystic Film Festival is an independent film festival that will be held October 22-25, 2020 in Mystic, Niantic, and Stonington. The festival is in its third year.
  • The event features film screenings, discussions, workshops, parties, and an awards ceremony. Screenings will be held in places like Mystic Luxury Cinemas, Niantic Cinema, La Grua Center, and the Mystic & Noank library.
  • The 2018 event had 50 film screenings over four days. Each screening cost between $12 and $17.
  • Festival sponsors include the Mystic Chamber of Commerce, Hilton Hotels, and Jonathan Edwards Winery.
  • Specific attendance data are not publicly available, but the event has just over 570 followers on Facebook.

Research Strategy

We were able to find all requested information except for concrete attendance data for each event. We began by searching each event's official website and social media pages for any relevant attendance information. When this yielded no results, we conducted a press scan of trusted media publications to find any news coverage that mentioned attendance numbers. After an exhaustive search, we turned to each municipality's local website to see if it included any specific information about attendance for these events. We were ultimately unable to find specific attendance numbers, though we did include each event's Facebook following to illustrate its relative popularity.

From Part 01