get outside

Meet Your City: Square Pegs

This week, we are going to take a look at some of the off-kilter things that help give Hartford character. If anything has been overlooked, let us know about it in the comment section (read comment policy before posting).

Little Free Libraries

A brand new library on Oxford Street

Hartford has a number of brick-and-mortar libraries, between Hartford Public Library’s main building and branches, and those inside of the universities and colleges. We also have a bunch of Little Free Library boxes, with a new one opening on Oxford Street within the last week. In areas where there are no library branches, these honor system libraries can fill a gap. We’ve seen three in person — Oxford Street, Charter Oak Cultural Center, and TrinfoCafe — and have heard rumor of at least four others within city limits. On Laurel Street, there is a Little Free Pantry. (more…)

Meet Your City: Drinks with a View

refreshment at The Tavern at Keney Park

The Tavern at Keney Park: If you’ve done any exploring of Keney Park, you’ll have noticed in recent years a structure next to the golf course that looked like one of those sheltered picnic areas you might find in a State Park. According to the Hartford Preservation Alliance, this rustic Tudor style structure was a “1934 as a Great Depression project of the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA).” Relying heavily on recycled materials, the “[s]tone for the building came from the [then] recently-demolished US Post Office which stood immediately adjacent the Old State House downtown” and the building’s “[b]rick came from an old orphan asylum on Putnam Street.”

The Keney Park Golf Course Clubhouse has been transformed into The Tavern at Keney Park, a casual American restaurant with ample patio seating, in addition to the indoor space where a fireplace will be in use in colder months. This is operated by The DISH Restaurant Group, so you it’s tasty grub.

portabella burger at The Tavern at Keney Park

If you love golf, you probably already know about this spot which is still in its soft-opening phase as of publication. But, if you are like us and find golf to be “a good walk spoiled,” you can still enjoy The Tavern. What other public location in Hartford allows for dining where you can see flowering shrubs, lots of green, and thick forest without the interruption of highway noise? You’ll get sounds of birds chirping. This is the time of year when patios have the most appeal, but Keney Park is gorgeous year-round, especially in autumn. Get a hit of fall foliage without the long drive to Vermont! (more…)

Beyond Hartford: Old Wethersfield

found at Antiques on Main

Not as adventurous as heading to Providence or Mystic, but much easier to get to and still enjoyable. A local bus will take you here if it’s too far to walk or bike. But proximity to Hartford is not the reason this place is being suggested. It’s surprisingly peaceful when compared to Hartford or even other parts of Wethersfield, like the Silas Deane Highway corridor. Much of that quiet is thanks to the buffer created by both the Wethersfield Cove and Folly Brook Natural Area, land that contains trees at-risk of being cut down to accommodate a small airport in Hartford.

For the average person, a few hours in Old Wethersfield ought to do it, but I can see a history buff spending a weekend here. Historical sites and plaques are everywhere! There are museum tours to be had, but if you are like me, you’d rather move at your own pace and go the self-guided route. The Wethersfield Heritage Tour is just that — a three-mile walk with 22 interpretive markers. (more…)

June 2017 Events in Hartford

June 1

  • Everyone knows it stinks when events are canceled because of funding problems. Instead of complaining, why not get creative and look at another way to fund events? Attend an information session for the new Hartford Community Access Grants program. They say: “These grants, which are designed to improve access to the arts for all citizens of Hartford, fund small, public events including concerts, celebrations and performances by local organizations with operating budgets of $100,000 or less.” Today’s session is 10-11 am at the Greater Hartford Arts Council (100 Pearl Street, 2nd floor). Register for the free event.
  • Toivo (399 Franklin Avenue) offers affordable yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10-11 am. They say: “Heartfelt and explorative classes. Students will experience fluid vinyasas combined with longer holdings to build strength, flexibility and improve balance. These Hatha style classes also incorporate meditation, centering and breath work. Every student is encouraged to find their own expression of each pose.” There’s a suggested $5 donation, but nobody is turned away for lack of funds.
  • Take a free tour of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Bushnell Park, 12-1:30 pm. The tours are flexible, so drop by any time. This involves climbing 96 steps. Bad weather cancels.
  • Eat, Drink & Donate: Fundraiser at The Flying Monkey Grill & Bar (20 Lindbergh Dr.) to benefit Friends of Keney Park. Food and cash bar. Live music provided by Live Music will be provided by Alvin Carter and Friends. 5-8 pm. Requested minimum donation is $10 per person. Contact Ms. Lyons at 860-729-2444 or friends_of_keney_park@yahoo.com for more info and/or to confirm your attendance.
  • Art After Dark: Mood Room. This Wadsworth Atheneum (600 Main Street) event celebrates the opening of Mika Tajima’s MATRIX 177 installation “After Life.” Music, activities, free snacks. Cash bar. Free admission for Hartford residents enrolled in the Wadsworth Welcome program. Not signed up yet? You can do that on-site. For everyone else, admission is $10 general or $5 for members. 5-8 pm. This also gets you admission to the film Mood Indigo which screens at 8 pm.
  • Greek Festival: live music, homemade Greek food, imports, authentic Greek dancing and guided church tours. 5-10 pm at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (433 Fairfield Avenue). Free admission.
  • Why Preserve? Digitizing Stories: CT Latinos in WWI — This free event is from 6-7:30 pm in the Hartford History Center, located inside of Hartford Public Library. They say: “Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera of Bloomfield College, New Jersey, will discuss opportunities for CT-based Latino WWI veterans and/or their families to bring memorabilia, photographs, and their oral stories to be collected, digitized, and interviews recorded at the Hartford History Center for incorporation into the Connecticut State Library’s digital collection. He will discuss why it is important to preserve this information and offer suggestions of what to bring to the digitization day that will take place at the Hartford History Center of Saturday, June 10. This program will be bilingual (English & Spanish).
  • Nails and Wagging Tails: $5 nail trim for dogs at Naturally Dogs and Cats (10 Trumbull Street), 6-8 pm.

June 2

  • Greek Festival: live music, homemade Greek food, imports, authentic Greek dancing and guided church tours. 11 am – 11 pm at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (433 Fairfield Avenue). Free admission.
  • Art on the Streets is back for a few weeks at lunchtime in downtown. From 11:30-1:30, check out interactive and artistic experiences. Go to State House Square on Tuesdays and Pratt Street on Thursdays. Free.
  • Welcome New American Citizens: at 1 pm the Polish National Home (60 Charter Oak Avenue) is hosting US Federal Citizenship & Immigration Services for a naturalization ceremony for 60 new Americans. A buffet ($26.95 per person) follows the ceremony. Make reservations Call: (860) 247-1784 or email: asha@hartfordpnh.com
  • The 30th Connecticut LGBT Film Festival starts today! Center of My World screens at 7:30; opening gala reception at Trinity College follows the film. This is at Cinestudio (300 Summit Street). Admission is $20, with discounts available. A festival pass is $75.
  • CT Cage Match Finals: two improv teams — KnucklePuck and Winnipeg — compete. The audience votes to decide the winner. 8-9:30 pm at Sea Tea Comedy Theater (15 Asylum Street). Tickets: $10.

June 3

  • Free admission to Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth Street), 9-5. Today’s family program is the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo. Try out different musical instruments! Those sessions are at 10:30, 11, and 11:45.
  • Tree Walk: John Kehoe leads this walk through Cedar Hill Cemetery to feature its notable trees. 10 am- 12 pm. Free. Meet by the bridge along the entrance driveway. This is a Connecticut Trails Day event.
  • On the other side of Hartford, join walks in Keney Park for Connecticut Trails Day, 10 am – 12 pm. They say: “We will travel along the Leadership Trail through the Hemlock Gorge on former sheep paths and carriage roads, which lead to remote scenic features. See landscapes preserved since 1898 within this urban forest. Sights will include remnants of the Sylvan Court and fernery in Ten Mile Woods, sand dunes, wildlife and bird habitat. Sponsoring group leaders will share historic and contemporary images and maps to encourage discussion on the past, present and future of this extraordinary 694-acre historic park. The Project is actively working with community volunteers to restore trails. Please be prepared to walk on and off trail. Our adventure will conclude with fresh garden vegetables snacks at the greenhouse constructed by Keney Park Sustainability Project.” It can’t be said enough — this is a very wooded area, so dress appropriately to avoid bringing home ticks, etc. Rain will postpone the event. Meet up at the Keney Park House (use “183 Windsor Ave. Windsor, CT” as address for location). This is free, but call or email to pre-register– 860-333-8711 or keneyparksustainability@gmail.com.
  • The National Park Service offers free Coltsville Walking Tours at 10 am and 2 pm. Meet up with the park ranger at the monument in Colt Park inside the Wethersfield Avenue entrance. Tours do not happen if the weather is bad. Call (717) 856-9629 to have your questions answered.
  • Hartford Deportation Defense Boot Camp: This is a free event, with donations accepted. 10 am – 3 pm at 77 Huyshope Avenue. They say: “Come join neighbors in the Greater Hartford area to learn about defending our communities against deportations. Join a network of immigrants and allies working to make our communities safe for all. Information about Know Your Rights, the Hartford Rapid Response Network, accompaniment, and ways that folks can get involved in work happening locally to fight deportations. All are welcome to attend the event, immigrants and non-immigrants. Interpretation into Spanish will be provided for the event. Light lunch will be served!”
  • CPR/AED and First Aid Training: Learn to potentially save lives! This one-day training course will grant or renew certifications through the American Red Cross. Register, as there is limited space. The $65 registration fee also covers lunch. 10 am – 4:30 pm at MakeHartford (30 Arbor Street).
  • Greek Festival: live music, homemade Greek food, imports, authentic Greek dancing and guided church tours. 11 am – midnight at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (433 Fairfield Avenue). Free admission.
  • One World Market hosts “family day.” They say that OWM is “multi ethnic food court at the CTfastrak Parkville Station.” We say that this is a fun, authentic, and non-hipster event. Taste food from Brazil, Guatemala, India, Jamaica, Laos and Thailand. Today’s market features face-painting, Nepalese dancing, soccer & tennis coaching, and a bouncy-house. 12-4 pm. Free. This is at 24 Francis Avenue.
  • The Connecticut LGBT Film Festival continues today with A Million Happy Nows, A Date for Mad Mary, and Handsome Devil. Ticket prices vary. This is at Cinestudio (300 Summit St.).

(more…)

Beyond Hartford: Providence

You probably don’t remember the Beyond Hartford series because the last one of these happened in 2013. Beyond Hartford provides some day trip options for people on a budget. We will be bringing back this series, sporadically. If you have suggestions for places to check out within 200 miles, send an email.

Elsewhere, I’ve written about how it may not be easy to get to Providence from Hartford, but once you’re there, it’s fairly accessible without a car. A trip automatically becomes more enjoyable when getting from place-to-place is not a pain in the ass. This fits the bill. It’s a place where you can do research and plan everything out, or just show up and wander, finding treasures without direction or intention. (more…)

Pratt Street Opened for People

Go ahead and walk right down the middle of Pratt Street. Bring your lunch and sit at a table. For a few hours, every weekday through November 1, 2017, this one block street in Downtown will be opened for people. Instead of being a place to park cars, Pratt Street becomes a park. On Fridays, there will be music at lunchtime.  (more…)

Pro-Immigrant Rally

Photo courtesy of Andy Hart

Photo courtesy of Andy Hart

 

A dancing giant Trump puppet joined the crowd at the “Here to Stay” rally on Saturday at the Connecticut State Capitol. In what seems like an unrelenting series of protests, this latest was organized by 32BJ SEIU to “defend the rights of Connecticut immigrants, and celebrate the richness of our diverse state.” (more…)