meet your city

Meet Your City: Holiday Giving Guide

“My Precious Stones” at Connecticut Historical Society during Open Studio Hartford

You could hit the big box stores for all kinds of cheaply-made, totally forgettable gadgets, but why?

Shopping

  • Open Studio Hartford: November 11 & 12, 11 am – 5 pm — Shop arts and crafts at nineteen venues within Hartford, many of which are accessible by free shuttle. Goods include ceramics, wood sculpture, photography, drawings, paintings, hand-woven rugs, letterpress prints, jewelry, tattoos, henna art, quilts, and more. See the program for times and venue locations.
  • Crafted: November 19, 12-5 pm. — Basically, this is a craft fair at 30 and 56 Arbor Street. There are (at time of publication) around 20 local businesses committed to participating in this.
  • Art + Soul: December 10, 11 am – 5 pm. — This is a holiday craft fair intended to benefit Protectors of Animals, a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter in East Hartford. So far, there are almost 20 vendors signed up for this event at 555 Asylum Street. There is a suggested donation of $5 at the door.

Other Giving

  • MakeHartford: December 19, 6:30 – 8:30 pm. — Meet up for a fiber arts-focused crafting night at 30 Arbor Street. Bring in any project you are working on — crocheting, knitting, spinning, weaving, sewing, embroidery, kumihimo, knotting, braiding — to request help or just have company. Some supplies will be available in exchange for a donation. There will specifically be supplies available for those who want to make fleece scarves that will be donated to local shelters.
  • The Open Hearth: This shelter at 437 Sheldon Street accepts donations of men’s winter coats, hats, interview outfits, and more.
  • ImmaCare: The emergency shelter accepts men’s and women’s clothing, food, medication, and other donations. The offices are located at 168 Hungerford Street.
  • Hartford Catholic Worker: Located at 18 Clark Street, year-round they collect baby supplies (formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, clothes, and toys.) for distribution to families in the neighborhood, along with books for their Little Free Library, and items (tuna, canned soup, pasta sauce) for the food pantry.

What other opportunities for giving exist in Hartford this year?

Meet Your City: Instead of Brunch

Venue for a dance party and happy hour

It’s an unpopular opinion, I know. But everything — from the overpriced meals that could be easily made at home, to the stomach-turning portmanteau itself — is irksome.

This isn’t really about brunch, but what this activity shares with various others: a trendy experience that typically tries too hard to be polished while failing to deliver half the fun that could be had if everyone allowed for more rough edges.

So, instead of fretting over whether or not the kids-these-days will be entertained without rows of nightclubs downtown or bi-weekly parades, we could look at what Hartford does have. Namely: (more…)

Meet Your City: It’s Autumn. What Now?

Why live in New England if you aren’t even going to try to do some seasonal things? That does not mean getting “dressed like a fashion blogger” and creating staged moments for Instagram. Here are a few suggestions:

Night Fall
This is a free, annual outdoor performance that marks the change in seasons. It rotates to a different Hartford park each year and is one of those true community events where the hours before the show are as much about socializing with friends and neighbors as they are about buying snacks and claiming your blanket space. I’m going to go right ahead and take a guess that after the horrors in Vegas over the weekend, we can all benefit from more time connecting with others. There is dancing and giant puppets. It may look like an event for children on the surface, but I would not go so far as to categorize it that way. If you are an adult showing up without kids, you won’t be looked at as a creeper. Night Fall is in Bushnell Park on October 7 this year.

Elizabeth Park

Get a chaider
Kick those basic seasonal beverages to the curb. (more…)

Meet Your City: Mullets of Hartford

Spectra Wired

Business in the front, party in the back

Sarah’s Coffee House/Night Owl Pub
Chai lattes and egg sandwiches throughout the day at Sarah’s. The tiny bar that is Night Owl Pub is connected and sees some action from downtown workers on lunch breaks. At night, you can bring drinks over to the coffee side where sometimes there is live entertainment.

Tisane Euro Asian Cafe
You can get tea, a martini, or a cocktail with tea in it. If you’ve ever walked off a job and wondered where to go next, Tisane is a sure bet.

Spectra Wired
One of the newest additions to downtown, this sprawling space at Columbus Boulevard and Kinsley Street serves beer and wine on the lower level.

Mozzicato Caffé
There might not actually be a divide between booze and hot chocolate here.

What else should be on this list?

Meet Your City: Ingredients

People ask me weird questions when I tell them that I live in Hartford. Particularly strange is the idea that I somehow have no access to food. Without even getting on a bus or calling up Lyft, actually, there are a few options — none of which involve bodegas, though those are on every other block if needed. The quality of produce varies; for bridging the gap on this, the value of farmers’ markets cannot be overstated.

The Farmers’ Market at the Regional Market
If you can manage to drag yourself out of bed this early, the retail sales are 6-9 am on Saturdays and Sundays. This is located at 101 Reserve Road in the South Meadows. (more…)

Meet Your City: Small Parks

Charter Oak Landing

Why should Hartford’s large parks get all the glory? We have numerous playscapes and green areas with places to sit down.

Columbus Park: On Franklin Avenue between Bolton and Victoria Streets, there are tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a space for soccer games. Playground, water playground, and a rec center, plus, the Italian flag. (more…)

Meet Your City: Books

Borrow

What’s the deal with these weird birdhouses?
Little Free Libraries allow anyone — no ID or face-to-face interaction required — to borrow books indefinitely. They are always open. You do not even need to sign out the book you take. When you return it, you can drop the book off at any of the little library locations. Book donations are welcome too. (more…)