Connecticut is New England’s second smallest and southernmost state. Its 5,018 square miles (13,023 square kilometers) are bordered by New York State on the west, Rhode Island on the east, Massachusetts on the north, and by Long Island sound on the south.
The southerly flow of the Connecticut River divides the state roughly in half. The coastal plain and central valley are relatively flat; they contain most of the larger cities. Other parts of the state are hilly, with the highest altitudes in the northwest corner. Hills are largely covered with hardwood forests, and about two-thirds of the state is in open land.
Despite New England’s reputation for a rugged climate, Connecticut’s weather is relatively mild. On the average, there are only 12 days a year when the temperature goes above 90 degrees, and about six days when it falls to zero or below. The growing season is fairly long, with the first killing frost generally in mid-October and the last in mid-April. This, together with moderate rainfall, provides good growing conditions. Despite Connecticut’s small size, there is some variety in climate, with temperatures in the northern hills as much as 10 degrees lower than those in the central valley year-round.