The most common images of Connecticut  come to us through the many movies and TV shows that depict the state as an idyllic—or sinister—land of wealthy suburbia, where attitudes are sophisticated and urbane. Sitcoms like Bewitched, I Love Lucy, Who’s the Boss?, and Gilmore Girls were all filmed or took place here, while books and films such as The Ice Storm and The Stepford Wives skewered the pretensions of those who live here. Even the queen of suburban bliss, Martha Stewart, made her home in Connecticut for more than 25 years.
All of those depictions hail from the western half of the state, which often seems more like one giant suburb of New York City  than an independent commonwealth. The richest zip code in the country is in Greenwich  (06830), which anchors the far end of the so-called Gold Coast, the southwestern coastline that is filled with the mansions of one fabulous commuter town after another. But that image is just one side of the story of western Connecticut, which encompasses a wide variety of landscapes. After all, just up the coast from Greenwich is one of the country’s poorest zip codes, in the depressed city of Bridgeport .
The western side of the state was once a strong industrial area, where cities each specialized in a different product. But during the 1950s, so-called white flight hit Connecticut harder than any other state, with wealthy and middle-class residents fleeing for the manicured cul-de-sacs of the suburbs and the cities left to fend for themselves. Some, like New Haven  and Danbury , have since been gloriously reborn into thriving urban centers. Others, like Bridgeport , Hartford , and Waterbury , continue to stagnate, looking for the right formula for a renaissance.
Outside of the city and the suburbs, however, the little-visited northwest corner of the state is as rural as rural can be. Known as the Litchfield Hills , the area is more Martha Washington than Martha Stewart, boasting rich associations with colonial history, scenic drives through gently rolling Berkshire foothills, and one immaculate village green after another. Unlike the hills in the eastern part of the state, however, the Litchfield area has benefited from traffic from New York , lending it a sophistication and culture that belies its seemingly sedate character.