Category Archives: Downtown

winterfest starts today

Skating in Bushnell Park is back this year, kicking off today at 4pm with a brief procession from the carousel to the rink (twice the size of last year’s, and with a zamboni for better surface conditions), carols, a short professional skating show, twinkly lights, an appearance by the cast of HCT’s “Hairspray”, and of course free skating and skate rental. Billed as “iQuilt Presents Winterfest” (vs last year’s Festival of Lights Constitution Plaza vs Park PR mishap), the rink brings lots of folks Downtown (including City kids who might not otherwise ever try ice skating), provides a fun activity before or after local dining, and makes great use of our beautiful park, normally seen as only a warm-weather destination. Could the nearly-three months of skating and related wintry activities be the seeds for future festivities akin to Quebec’s Winter Carnival? We salivate at the thought.

Skating hours here.


hartford halloween scene, the sequel

Festive and of-the-moment jack-o-lanterns on Capital Ave.

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A closer look:

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Last year’s display.  Hope everyone has shoveled out from our unseasonable OctSNOWber storm and has somewhere warm to be until their power is restored.

searching for hartford

We’ve been having fun with YouTube’s Search Stories, with a few reasons why we feel Hartford is a great small city. Feel free to share this video, and let us know in the comments if you make your own Search Story about Hartford.

a virtual neighborhood

A new group has popped up on Facebook, “Dwelling in Downtown Hartford”, with the purpose of providing a virtual gathering spot for residents to discuss events, restaurants, the grocery store debate, etc. If you want to be part of the conversation, pop on over and ask to join the Group.

The group just started today and already there are 70+ members and discussions of a winter carnival in Bushnell Park, a meet-up, the importance of the Library as a hub for social discourse, engaging the neighborhoods, etc. While there are other outlets for some of this news and conversation – such as Social Hartford’s FB page and online calendar, or the various NRZs that try to address neighborhood issues and ideas – we’re all for engaging the community wherever it is that they hang out. Facebook has proven to be a great place to get folks to rally around a cause, why not use it as a tool to encourage positive dialogue about our fair city?

to market, to market, redux

So, it seems downtown Hartford is getting a Dean & Deluca-style grocer after all, in the large retail space in the Hartford 21 building. The folks behind the award-winning Pintore Catering and The Mill at 2T restaurant are behind it, as is the City to the tune of $300K (to be recouped in the last 7 years of the 10-year lease). We wonder if this survey was part of their R&D for the viability of such a store, which will feature prepared foods as well as groceries, and will be open 7 days a week. With the new convenience market across the street, residents and downtown workers will have two walkable places to pick up provisions.

As an aside to anyone who read the Courant article and thinks everybody in Downtown Hartford eschews buying groceries and we all eat out every night because there was no Dean & Deluca-style grocer in town: We don’t. We drive or take the bus to Stop & Shop in Wethersfield or the West End, or we order online and let PeaPod deliver.

But we are looking forward to a good baguette and a nice cheese selection…

Hartford, resurrected

Social Hartford,  a new comprehensive online calendar of Things To Do in Our Fair City has made this absolutely fantastic video celebrating… Things To Do in Hartford. Watch the video, share with others, go “like” them on Facebook, and check out their calendar of events.

festival of lights in bushnell park. also: ice skating!

Wade Park Skating, Cleveland

Not Hartford. Artist’s rendering of an outdoor rink in Wade Park Oval, University Park, Cleveland, OH.

Mayor Pedro Segarra recently announced that the 43-year old Festival of Lights is moving from Constitution Plaza to Bushnell Park, and will be expanded to include an ice skating rink! Back in the early 2000s the park sported a synthetic rink for two seasons, and saw upwards of 20,000 visitors.   These articles in the Courant have spurred a handful of comments praising and condemning the move. As usual, the naysayers are wondering where they will park and dislike the idea of having to walk on the city streets. The original Festival of Lights display was created in 1963 as a way to get the public onto the then-new raised concrete plaza. It certainly made for a much more interesting stroll to and background for Spris restaurant, but there was limited space for a large crowd and obstructed views for Santa’s arrival, the carol sing and the lighting ceremony. Bushnell Park’s open fields and performance pavilion offer plenty of space and will make it easier for kids of all ages to see Santa throw the switch and set the park a-glittering. The skating rink will keep them coming back for repeat visits and be a fun thing to do before or after dinner at area restaurants (or dinner at home for those who live downtown).  We say keep the rink up ‘til Spring: give families a cheery Winter alternative to the carousel and help conquer everyone’s cold-weather blahs.