What is the Wandering Sister Rating?

1 Wandering Sister = Enter at your own risk, you've been warned.
2 Wandering Sisters = How hungry are you? This place has it's down side.
3 Wandering Sisters = Pretty good place to go, but not for everyone.
4 Wandering Sisters =  Good food. Good service. You won't go wrong.
5 Wandering Sisters = Considering there's only 4 of us... This rating will speak for itself!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Mark Twain house and Museum

Hartford, CT has been a town on our list of Places to see for a while now. Not knowing what to do in Hartford, we did a little research online and found that the 2 places to visit were the Mark Twain house and the Old Capital building.  I’ll cover the Capitol Building in a separate blog.

From the pictures online, the Mark Twain house looked like a very cool old place to go. Seeing as how this was supposed to be a historical adventure and learning experience for the second grade drop out (she was pulled out of school for this long trip), this seemed like a good place to visit.

When driving through Hartford, I must admit, we almost didn’t make it to the Mark Twain house. A few misdirected roads took us down some fairly scary areas of town. However, once we found the house, the environment was quite different. Just don’t leave anything too valuable in the car.

We expected to walk into the house and pay our entrance fee at the door, just like at the Newport Mansions. We were however, pleasantly surprised with our experience.

You enter through a museum building and while waiting for the tour to begin, you are able to wander through a room with a detailed timeline in the life of Samuel Clemens, aka, Mark Twain. Across from this room is a theater where you can watch a video summarizing the life of Samuel. I do recommend that you take the time to watch the video, either before or after the tour.

Our tour was lead by Al, who instructed me to refer to him as Benny if I did not like his presentation. I could have not been more impressed with his knowledge of the home and its occupants though, so he’ll definitely be referred to as “Al” ;)

Al was able to explain so many details about the home and the family, you truly feel like you knew them by the time you leave. There is stenciling done throughout the house on the walls and ceiling, contracted out by Louis Tiffany himself. Designed to mock mother of pearl, leather and gold, the stenciling is detailed and ornate. There is also Tiffany tiles around the fireplace in the dining room which I could not keep my eyes off. The details in the home are absolutely amazing. Paintings, vases and other trinkets around the house were duplicated straight from images taken in the home during the families stay, giving it a quite historically accurate view into the world of Mark Twain.


They run a tight ship at this museum, which helps maintain the integrity of the artifacts in the home, as at least 1/3 of the furniture and d├ęcor is original to home when Samuel and his family resided there. You are not allowed to eat, drink, chew gum or think edible thoughts when walking through the home. Ok, you can think about eating, but seriously, skip the gum, you do have to spit it out before you go in.


Our experience at the house was much more impressive than we expected. If you are in the area, take the time to check it out. Tickets for an adult are priced at a very reasonable $14 per person and children, ages 6-12 are $8. 


  1. I feel bad, I thought about food and maybe a samual Adams beer while reading this...Don't tell Al!

  2. Thank you for visiting us. I'll tell Al about your nice comments. "Much more impressive than we expected" - I'm glad we changed your opinion on what a house museum can be.

    Thanks again for visiting,

    Jeff Nichols, Executive Director MTH&M


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