Main Streets 2017 – Connecticut
It’s just five miles outside the capital city of Hartford, but the atmosphere in this Connecticut town is far from urban. Voted one of the Coolest Suburbs Worth A Visit by Travel + Leisure magazine, West Hartford stays true to its motto, “Where City Style Meets Village Charm.”
Once known for agriculture, West Hartford is now a vibrant community with appealing destinations that include numerous historical sites, plus The Children’s Museum and the Rockledge Golf Club, a carefully kept public golf course that’s been named one of New England’s “Best Places to Play.”
The popular downtown area known as West Hartford Center has been the community’s hub since the late 17th century. Plenty of trendy retail shops and appealing restaurants beckon visitors along Farmington Avenue near its crossing with Main Street. The addition of Blue Back Square in 2007 incorporated a blend of retail and residential space, bringing even more vitality to this area. Notes Travel + Leisure: “New transplants have spurred a flurry of activity and buzz along Farmington Avenue, where a young, trendy set can be found late at night ordering bottle service and grooving to house music at Shish Lounge.”
Downtown also hosts a number of annual festivals, events and special celebrations. Each June, Celebrate! West Hartford brings the community together to enjoy a wide range of family-friendly activities, with games, carnival rides, arts and crafts, and a 5k road race. Visitors can also learn about local businesses, recreation groups and nonprofit foundations. Each year, 30,000 people attend the two-day festival free of charge.
The Holiday Stroll brings cheer to downtown each December, as hundreds flock to West Hartford Center to take a horse-drawn carriage ride, visit Santa Claus and witness the tree lighting. Residents can even take in a local choir performance while getting in some holiday shopping.
If you prefer to enjoy local greenery, don’t miss visiting West Hartford Reservoir. With more than 3,000 acres of woodland and 30 miles of scenic trails for outdoor enthusiasts, it’s no wonder the locals call it West Hartford’s version of Central Park. Or meander over to Elizabeth Park Conservancy, which proudly calls itself America’s oldest public rose garden. Opened to the public in 1897, Elizabeth Park has just over 100 acres of gardens and grounds to explore — and it’s open without charge, 365 days of the year.