By Editors John Fitts and Jessie Sawyer
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy stopped at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington and Tulmeadow Farm in Simsbury as part of an afternoon supporting tourism Wednesday.
The governor toured "seldom seen areas" of the Hill-Stead, "including "special treasures in the house, the archives, the wine cellar and fire suppressions system, and the barn and farm complex," according to a press release from the Hill-Stead.
Executive Director Debra K. Pasquale said the museum was "thrilled to welcome Governor Malloy to Hill-Stead yesterday afternoon."
"Operations Director Dave Perbeck showed Governor Malloy the museum’s fire suppression system, completion of which is part of the capital needs project funds Hill-Stead was granted by the DECD and the Connecticut State Bond Commission in July," Pascale said in a statement.
The governor visits the Hill-Stead often, Pascale said.
"We are honored that Governor Malloy is a frequent visitor at Hill-Stead and has an impressive knowledge of the house and collection," she said. "His enthusiasm made for an exciting and fun exchange."
State Reps. Brian Becker and Mike Demicco also attended the tour, as well as DECD Deputy Commissioner Kip Bergstrom and staff members, she said.
Malloy also stopped at Tulmeadow Farm in Simsbury.
“Connecticut tourism is important so this was a way to support it — and get ice cream,” Malloy said at the Simsbury stop.
The day included a few lighthearted moments but Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, said the governor has truly supported it during his time in office.
"He’s been a true supporter of tourism,” Fiveash said, adding that such visits also help educate the governor and show the industry just how seriously he takes it.
And farms are an important draw, the governor said.
“Farms are a great attraction to Connecticut,” Malloy said.
Don Tuller of Tulmeadow Farm is also president of the Connecticut Farm Bureau. He said Malloy has been “engaged” in agriculture issues and that he appreciated the governor’s visit.
“I’m happy that the governor has taking to promoting tourism, especially in Simsbury,” Tuller said.
State Rep. John Hampton thanked the governor for the support.
“Governor we want to thank you here in Simsbury and across the state for really putting Connecticut back on the map and helping restore our economy," he said. Hampton also thanked "footsoldiers" like the tourism committee and selectman but told Malloy, "we couldn't do it without you."
First Selectman Mary Glassman also thanked the governor and said much of what the town offers and preservation efforts are the result of local, state and federal support.
"We’re thrilled to have the governor here at one of our premier farms,” said Liz Banco, who chairs the Simsbury Tourism Committee. “This is what makes this part of West Simsbury so special and give it that old time, rural feel.”
Travel and tourism "generate $11.5 billion annually in economic activity and are responsible for 110,000 jobs" in Connecticut and the industry "saw a 3.9% employment growth in 2012," according to a press release from the Hill-Stead.
To view more photos and video of the Simsbury visit, click on the link provided.