Eric Parker takes a trip to Hamden - WFSB 3 Connecticut

20 Towns in Twenty Days

Eric Parker takes a trip to Hamden

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HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) -

For many people, a mention of Hamden will only call to mind Sleeping Giant State Park or perhaps Quinnipiac University, both are there, but the town has much more than that.

There's no better place to start a tour of Hamden than Johnson’s Duckpin Lanes tucked away in the Hamden plaza off Dixwell Avenue.  It's been here since the 50s!

“I bowled here when it first opened. I bought into it in 1985 and 2007 I bought the last partner out,” said Sandi Thomas, owner of Johnson’s Duckpin Lanes.

Thomas let Channel 3 bowl a few frames to see how much fun the unpredictable duckpin can be.

“There's never been a perfect game thrown,” said Thomas.

For more cerebral fun, you can visit Hamden’s Eli Whitney Museum. 

The creator of the cotton gin went there to harness the power of water for his firearms factory and visitors today get interactive learning experiences. 

Up the road at Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, they have the world's largest collection of great hunger-related art anywhere and draw visitors from around the globe.

“It provokes questions, it gets people thinking about what happened in the past and how it correlates to today's world. A museum is a prime place to go with your family, with your classroom and Hamden offers a unique series of museums in this community,” said Ryan Mahoney, Executive Director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum.

The town of more than 60,000 was a Fortune Magazine best place to live in 2012. 

Among those who called Hamden their hometown are an Oscar winner, a Medal of Honor winner, a Stanley Cup winning goalie, and recent inductee as one of the Hamden Education Foundation's distinguished alumni, our own Caitlin Nuclo. 

There's also plenty of good food and drink in town, including the Playwright, which for two decades has billed itself as the most authentic Irish pub in Connecticut.

“We're conveniently located off the parkway and near 95 and 91 New Haven, so you can swing right by,” said Eamonn Ryan, from Playwright.

No meal is complete without dessert, so a good last stop in Hamden is at Wentworth Homemade Ice Cream.

“All of our ice cream is made in these machines.  Everything is hand stirred in, everything is made from scratch, cookie dough, brownies, everything's made from scratch,” said Michele Montano from Wentworth Homemade Ice Cream.

After extensive research, we can attest, it's delicious.

The biggest theme we heard over and over was that Hamden isn't a community you drive through on the way somewhere else, it's a destination, with plenty to do every day.

“It's good to be here, it's fun,” said Thomas.

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