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Vol. 10, No. 4 , 2020



Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine

Diamond earring Spectacular

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Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine


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Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine


contents Vol. 10, No. 4 2020


GARDEN Decorating with Holiday Plants


Eat, Drink & Be Merry!


Retirement Tips


CHAMBER NOTES Why West Hartford?




BEAUTY Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Pictured on the cover: Elizabeth Park in Winter. Photography by Todd Fairchild






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“I’m thrilled to be at William Raveis, whose focus is

Marketing and Technology

with a connection to

a great International Network.”

Robin and Raveis ... what a great combination!



Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine


Dedicated to Service for over 50 years

WeHa Publisher Tom Hickey Associate Publisher Leslie Iarusso Editor in Chief Judie Jacobson Sales and Marketing Director Donna Edelstein Creative Director Elisa S. Wagner Digital Media Manager Hillary Sarrasin Graphic Designer Chris Bonito Accounts Manager Judy Yung Proofreader Tim Knecht Office Manager Howard Meyerowitz

Providing our community with the BEST possible service in their time of need. 1084 New Britain Ave. West Hartford 860.561.3800 | www.sheehanhilbornbreen.com

Contributing Writers & Columnists: Whitney F. Burr, Chris Conway, Erin Fox, Karla Dalley, Stacey Dresner, Ertan Seyyar Sener, Lisa Martin Photography Todd Fairchild/Shutterbug CT Publishing Partner Ledger Publications Websites: We-Ha.com, WestHartfordMagazine.com, Wehawheels.com, JewishLedger.com, 20Media20.com, wehacal.com Mike Roy/Roy Web Design Principals Thomas P. Hickey II James H. Gould III

40 Woodland St., Hartford, CT 06105 westhartfordmagazine.com office: 860.508.4032 West Hartford Magazine is published by 2020 Media. To subscribe, renew or change address write: West Hartford Magazine, PO Box 271835, West Hartford, CT 06127; www.we-ha.com/subscribe. ADVERTISING: 860-508-4032. ©2020 WHMedia, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without express permission of the publisher. West Hartford Magazine is a registered trademark owned by WHMedia, Inc. The opinions expressed by writers published by West Hartford Magazine are not necessarily those of the magazine.



Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine

Follow us on Social Media: Facebook  West Hartford Magazine We-Ha.com Twitter @westhartfordmag @wehartford Instagram @westhartfordite Hashtags #wehaevents #bestofweha #weha #westhartford #wehahacomedy

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Vol. 10, No. 2, 2020 west hartford magazine



Focus on our town. Dear Readers,


s you will note by flipping through the pages of our November issue, this month we celebrate our beautiful and beloved town of West

Hartford. No. November doesn’t mark any special milestone in the history of our picture-perfect suburban enclave. And no. We haven’t scored yet another high ranking on a national list of “Best Places to Live in America.” At least not for the last 15 minutes. It’s not any of that. In fact, in an ironic twist, it’s the pandemic. Or, more to the point, it’s the growing interest in relocating to West Hartford, instigated by the COVID-19 crisis and its correspondent flight of urbanites from New York City, that has prompted us to take a closer look at our town — a look at who we are and where we’re going. Chris Conway (West Hartford Chamber of Commerce) and Christine Looby (Board Member, West Hartford Chamber of Commerce) started talking about WHY WEST HARTFORD even before the phone started to ring at the Chamber. The topics to be covered in this issue of West Hartford Magazine and future products was compiled from data and information provided by some local experts. A classic team effort! Special thanks to Renee McCue (Town of West Hartford Public Relations Specialist, Kristen Gorski (Town of West Hartford Economic Development Specialist) and Jen Evans (WH Community Interactive). Of course, none of this would be possible without the vision of our Editor, Judie



Vol. 10, No. 4 2020 west hartford magazine

Jacobson who brought all of this together! Thank you to all who voted (even during a pandemic) for the finalists and winners of our 6th Annual Best of West Hartford competition. We’re honored to have the opportunity to pay tribute to the town’s business owners, both past and present. We celebrated with a special publication and happy hour Zoom on November 16th. Congratulations to all 150 businesses! In WeHa everyone's a WINNER! Our digital platforms have exploded, thanks to all of you. We are averaging 1.5 million — YES, that’s 1.5 MILLION — ad views per month. There’s plenty to say about a pandemic impacting business in a negative way BUT our readers keep sharing while they are sheltering in place. We’re pleased to report that WeHaCal.com, our comprehensive calendar of communitywide events serving West Hartford and its surrounding areas, has been averaging 12,500 visitors weekly since we launched it in June. Stay tuned for details regarding our upcoming TASTE of WEST HARTFORD event, sponsored by Westfield Bank. Please support our Sponsors (listed below) and join us in thanking them! Black Diamond Body Piercing EDENS (Float 41, Harvey & Lewis, Poke City, CT Pediatric Dentistry) The Fix French Cleaners Hartford HealthCare Keating Insurance Lux Bond & Green

Modern Tire Mohegan Sun Udolf Properties University of St. Joseph Westfield Bank Please note, for the safety of all our readers, WeHa Magazine issue is published digitally only. Look for our special BLACK FRIDAY HOLIDAY ISSUE on November 27. It is sure to be a huge hit! It is full of Holiday Gift Ideas! Wishing all of our readers a happy, healthy and safe holiday season. We welcome you (if you haven’t already) to join us! Facebook  West Hartford Magazine We-Ha.com Twitter @westhartfordmag @wehartford Instagram @westhartfordite Hashtags #wehaevents #bestofweha #weha #westhartford #wehahacomedy

Thomas P. Hickey, Publisher tomh@westhartfordmagazine.com

MMMM AGAIN There’s only one thing better than experiencing the 40 restaurants, hotel accommodations, shopping options, and world-class gaming at Mohegan Sun. And that’s experiencing them all over again. Be Social. Be Safe.



Vol. 10, No. 4, 2019 west hartford magazine


Keeping You Safe


We continue to make every effort to ensure your experience is enjoyable and safe by working together to mitigate any health risks.

Holistic Health Options support you in your quest for health. Whether you want to reduce pain, decrease anxiety, increase energy or resiliency, or simply relax and feel better, our modalities can help make a difference in your physical and mental well-being.


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You can’t always be there, in person, to assist the ones you love. We can help. Hartford HealthCare at Home offers a complete range of services to support your loved one in their home. You can trust our well-trained team to safely deliver outstanding and compassionate care. And being part of the state’s most comprehensive healthcare system means our caregivers have access to the latest training, technology and resources, including personal protective equipment. We offer: • Certified nursing

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At Bards, dress makes the environmentally-conscious man


atthew Banever is one sharply-dressed man. His go-to look is a stylish tailored suit, matching vest and vivid paisley tie — or jeans and a chic knit jacket in a hue far more vibrant than your basic ho-mum navy or grey.


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That’s what happens when you have an eye for fashion. And, when it comes to fashion, Banever is all eyes. Now, he’s turned his passion for beautiful clothing into Bards, a men’s luxury clothing biz that offers American-made, sustainable garments. But don’t go looking for the Bards store nearest you. Bards doesn’t do

bricks and mortar. Instead, the company offers direct-to-the customer service. Meaning Banever meets with his clients in their comfort zone — i.e., their home or office. Banever arrives at an initial meeting fabric books in hand. When the client has poured over the books and made his choice, Banever takes the measurements himself. The visit takes

about 90 minutes. “Sustainable clothing is a big part of the conversation in the fashion industry, and direct-to-consumer custom clothing is really sustainable and eco-friendly. There’s no waste,” Banever said, noting that Bards also offers clothing for all genders – chic men and chic women, transgender – anyone

seeking a good quality, hand-made, sustainable garment. “I want to be environmentally conscious. I don’t want to make clothing just for the sake of trying to sell it,” he adds. That’s because Bards’ mission is to “Tell Your Story.” As he explains on his website, “In

the beginning, I’m going to help tell your story, under the notion that your clothing is an expression of who you are without you even having to speak.” A native of Farmington, Banever says his love of clothing grew in part out of his love of classic films, fostered by his parents. “Every Saturday night my parents


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would have us watch some old movie and it was terrific,” he recalls. “Gene Kelly in “Singin’ in the Rain,’ James Stewart in ‘Vertigo,’ Audrey Hepburn in ‘Funny Faces’ are iconic. Jack Dawson is going to go to dinner and Kathy Bates asks him ‘What are you planning on wearing?’ because the power of attire is transformative.” Banever began working in retail at Express in the West Farms Mall after graduating from Marist College with a degree in history. When he broke from the usual jeans and a t-shirt attire of most Express employees and began wearing some of the retailer’s suits, he noticed a change in the way people approached him. “Immediately, I saw how differently the world treated me. I was just a regular worker, but they were assuming I was the manager. From then on, I really began looking into suits and higher-end clothing,” he says.


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Banever left Express to work at Jos. A. Bank, followed by a stint at a luxury men’s boutique where he headed up the custom department and worked under a master tailor. “I started to learn much more about the fashion industry. I was going to trade shows; I was developing relationships. And that’s where I really began to understand my place in this industry and to look for the change that I wanted to make,” he says. Then, last spring, just two weeks after he moved to West Hartford COVID-19 hit and he began sheltering at home. “I really just spent those three months working on my future,” he explains. Banever already had plans to build his own menswear business. While in quarantine he realized direct-to-customer was the way to go. “It just made so much sense,” he says. At Bards, Banever works directly with several mills that he has built relationships with and which he trusts. “I’m not going to use a fabric I don’t think is

aligned with a sustainable message,” he says. One good example is Dormeuil, a wool mill in Paris, France. “I can scan one of their fabrics using a QR code [a Quick Response barcode] and it will show me what farm the wool came from, the sheep it was sheered from, how the sheep is doing, the name of the farmer, the person who put the fabric together. You can see the entire supply chain.” That “100 percent transparency,” says Banaver, allows consumers to really understand and feel that “they are buying a fabric that’s actually doing good work.” Bards offers 200 fabrics in different weights, different patterns, and different blends, which allows him “to actually give a client the item they need,” he says. “I can actually provide a garment directly built for their lifestyle…The customization is endless. You choose your style. You can change up different fabrics -- maybe put a different fabric on the inside of a coat.”

Once Banever has designed garments to the customer’s liking, Banever works with a team of expert tailors to create designs specifically for Bards. More than 40 hours of handwork go into one jacket, and each hand-made garment is checked more than 200 times for quality assurance. Bards’ suits start at $2,500, with the most expensive suit he has made to date carrying a price tag of nearly $10,000. Custom-made start at $225. Bards’ clients, notes Banaver, tend to be in their early 30s — young people, says Banaver, believe a suit from Bards is worth it because Bard-designed clothes tell their story. “Your appearance is the first thing that people see, especially in such a digital world where you are photographed and your pictures are put up on social media,” says Banever. “It’s really important to me to tell your story.” n

Photography: Hali Ballantyne, haliballantyne@gmail.com


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HUNGRY FAMILIES With your donation of $18, paired with an in-kind donation from The Crown Market, the Anja Rosenberg Kosher Food Pantry will receive a bag of groceries filled with all the “trimmings� that make a turkey dinner a Thanksgiving feast for a client family in need.

$18 Donation

(Actual value $25)

Package Includes:

1 bag stuffing 1 can green beans 1 can cranberry sauce 5 pounds of potatoes 1 can chicken broth 2 pounds sweet potatoes 1 parve dressing 2 pounds onions 1 bag walnuts 1 can pumpkin pie filling 1 parve graham cracker crust

For more information: JFSHartford.org or 860.236.1927


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Proudly Helping Navigate the World of Insurance for 50+ Years “Dealing with my insurance” is no longer something I have to worry about . One call to Keating and you take care of the rest. Thank you! Customer since 2017 Extremely dependable service for over 40 years!!! Never gave a thought to changing insurance agents.  Philip P, customer since 1973 You contacted me before a renewal. Expressed how you monitor plans and explained why it might be good to change and provided another plan plus how to save an additional discount. Your proactive approach confirms your clients are personally taken care of. Susan C., customer since 2012 Keating Agency has always been responsive and willing to take the time to answer questions and solve any difficulties. We have been with the agency for long enough to remember Mike Keating Sr. and think he would be proud of the way the agency has continued to serve his clients. Wilfred C., customer since 1978 The agency’s response to my my request for a quote was prompt and professional. The sales representative was very knowledgeable and answered all my questions and provided me options to consider to enhance my coverage. The quote provided exceeded my expectations and my coverage was increased at a much lower cost than my previous company. Additionally, all the staff are friendly and welcoming. I would recommend Keating insurance to anyone who wants good service and excellent coverage at a very fair price. Paul H., customer since 2018

www.keatingagency.com 860-521-1420


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Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation

At the Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation, we understand that comfort and familiarity is a key part of the journey to wellness. We also understand that maintaining your religious beliefs and principles is fundamental in continued enrichment of life.

Our Kosher meal services allow residents to maintain their dietary requirements throughout their stay with us. At the Hebrew Center, we ensure we follow all principles of Kosher including purchase, storage, preparation, and service.

At the Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation, we also offer a variety of other services and amenities to ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible. THESE SERVICES INCLUDE: • Passport to Rehabilitation Program • Long-Term Skilled Nursing Care • Specialized Memory Care • Respite Care Program • Palliative Care and Hospice Services Coordination



OUR AMENITIES INCLUDE: • Barber/Beauty Shop • Café • Cultural Menus • Laundry and housekeeping services • Patient and Family education • Life Enrichment

For more information on our Kosher program, please contact: DIRECTOR, PASTORAL SERVICES - (860) 523-3800 Hebrew Center for Health and Rehabilitation One Abrahms Boulevard, West Hartford, CT 06117


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A Quick Getaway Weekend


hen you are trying to reconnect with your loved one and with nature, you want to get away from all of the noise in your life. On top of that, you might only have Friday afternoon until Sunday night to do it. If this sounds familiar, this fall travel expedition might be just what you need. Two of my clients had been living apart from each other, and wanted a quick getaway weekend to reconnect. We looked at a few areas in northern New Hampshire and Vermont, but that would have required too many hours in the car. This couple wanted to get to their destination and enjoy it! After some consideration, they chose the great outdoors and lovely town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

walking distance of a wide selection of shops, restaurants, antiques stores, and even the Barrington Brewery right down the street. Downtown Great Barrington was a ten- to fifteen-minute drive from the hotel, with even more shops, boutiques, outdoor vendors, and restaurants. Restaurants in the area included Thai, Mediterranean, Mexican, and American food - including some farm-to-table featuring fare from local farms. They were quiet and quaint, with a lot of local spirit and personality. The Norman Rockville Museum in Stockbridge was just a fifteen-minute

FRIDAY: After lunch at home, they headed up to the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott in Great Barrington, Lenox/ Berkshires. Their room was complete with a king-sized bed and a gas fireplace designed to look like a cute log fire, which made the room extra cozy. The fireplace had a timer and was covered in protective glass so you could turn it off at any time. This location was within

drive from the hotel. The compound features his small studio and a museum building that looks like a library. Downstairs the “Reimagining the Four Freedoms” exhibition included Rockwell’s original artistic interpretations of FDR’s famous speech during the WWII era. These Four Freedoms were reimagined and reinterpreted by contemporary American and Canadian artists who reflected on their “observation and concerns about freedoms found and lost in our times.” The downstairs also includes all of the covers of the Saturday Evening Post – the series for which he was most famous. The upstairs housed many of Rockwell’s most famous and iconic paintings – the couple was shocked to see so many pieces that Rockwell had created seemed to be stitched into the history and consciousness of American life. The couple learned how Norman Rockwell used sketches, photos, variations of facial expressions, lighting, and color, to create these iconic paintings. This property included Rockwell’s final studio - it was disassembled, moved from its original location on South Street and rebuilt on the museum’s property. The museum also includes a nice little gift shop, with brilliant reproductions of Rockwell’s best-known pieces, and more obscure ones as well.


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After walking around the Rockwell Museum and enjoying the fall breeze, the couple went to Prairie Whale – a farm-to-table restaurant founded in 2012. I heard so many positive comments about this restaurant that I decided to call up Steven Browning, the Head Chef, to learn more. To begin their meal, the couple started with some Old Fashions to pair with their appetizers. The first appetizer was the “St. Stephens” cheese, a buttery and milky hand-crafted triple cream, from the local Four Fat Fowl specialty cheese shop in Stephentown, New York. The country bread that complemented that cheese is from a wood-fired, fresh stone-milled production bakery which specializes in naturally leavened bread made with fresh milled flour - Sparrowbush Farm. The cheese and bread were plated with Green Tomato Jam, homemade with their garden tomatoes, Concord Grapes grown on the property, and homegrown habaneros mixed with honey.

The second appetizer was crostini with smoked blue fish cream cheese, trout roe, and radish which was unexpectedly well-balanced and brimming with flavor – one of the tastiest highlights of the weekend. Dinner included red fish sourced by Berkshore, a company that drives to the Boston Fish Pier five times a week and does not store any seafood themselves to ensure freshness, with cranberry beans, kale and romesco sauce – described as a true symphony of fresh flavors. Lamb shank was accompanied by labneh, a sauce made of strained yogurt that has a consistency between yogurt and cheese. According to the taste buds of this couple, lots of love was put into the food, the highlight being the way all of the various dishes seemed to complement each other, especially the romesco and smoked blue fish! After dinner, a walk around town led them to a local spirits store where they picked up Prosecco to bring back to the hotel before relaxing in the hot tub.

SATURDAY: After a neatly prepared breakfast-to-go at the hotel, the couple drove to the Beartown State Forest for some scenic hiking. They headed to the Benedict Pond Loop to hike near water, where they were able to breathe the fresh air, and stop, listen, and enjoy the smell of the woods. There were a few other folks on the trail, but most of the time they were by themselves. At that time, the leaves were just beginning to change color, revealing a satisfying blend of warm oranges, yellows, reds, and deep greens. After the hike, they checked out a few cute antiques stores by the hotel before heading out to the Berkshire Fishing Club. This is a private club complete with its own private lake, so they paid for a trial membership which gave them access to the Palmer Brook Reservoir for the day. First, they went out on the lake in kayaks, exploring the lake and watching the weather overhead. The lake was so big they couldn’t see or hear anyone else on the lake, so it really felt like they had the whole lake to themselves. After getting to the


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SUNDAY: After waking up with another take-out breakfast from the hotel, they ventured out to pick apples at the Windy Hill Farm. The farm is situated on a steep hill, complete with rows of classic and modern apple trees, apple cider donuts, apple cider, and a full nursery. With all of those apple products and nursery, what better idea was there than to buy a young apple tree to bring home! They settled on a Spencer tree, a combination of Golden Delicious and MacIntosh – a firm, crisp, and very sweet variety great for eating and cooking. I wish them good luck with their new garden addition (hopefully I’ll get a chance to taste their next apple pie!). After stocking up on cider, donuts, and a new baby tree, they ventured to nearby Monument Mountain for a hike. The woods were filled with cute chipmunks and magical trees. The trails were popular, with a fair number of other hikers, but social distancing was more than doable. The trail they chose was more vigorous than the lakeside hike, but totally worth it for the scenery and nature - taking them about one and a half hours to finish. After finishing their hike, they drove back to town to pick up some sweets at Robin’s Candy Shop for souvenirs – a fun and quirky candy store filled with old fashioned classic candies, as well as fun novelty candies, and some award-winning fudge. The third adventure of the day was the Catamount Aerial Adventure Park. They decided on three hours at the park for a series of different obstacle courses suspended in the trees. After a quick safety class, they began on the beginner track – to see what they were capable of, and to prove their readiness to go on to the next level. Climbing up wood ladders, walking on wire bridges, sliding

middle of the lake, they floated and enjoyed the fresh air and the stunning scenery. Returning to the boat launch they exchanged their kayak for a small fishing boat with an outboard motor and prepared for catch and release fishing on the lake. When they purchased the trial membership, they were told to bring their own rods, because due to COVID, the club would not be renting fishing poles. The club did help prepare the rods the couple brought with hooks and bait, which made the experience much easier for them. After a quick demonstration of how the engine worked, they headed off again. After a second or third cast, they caught a 14” fish – an hour or so later they caught another, for a total of two fish caught and released. After a few hours, at about 6:30 pm, the sun was setting, it was the golden hour, and this couple relaxed and meditated to the swaying of the boat, before returning to the dock to leave. After all that fishing, the couple was craving fish for dinner. They were going to try the Salmon Run Fish House, but it was too crowded, so they tried the Morgan House Inn down the street. The Inn was founded in 1853 in Lee, Massachusetts and is a solid classic American Inn. They had onion soup, ham and baked brie appetizers, grilled salmon with couscous hash and fish and chips. The ambiance was relaxed and homey, a perfect warm spot to shake off the fall chills. After dinner, they drove back to Great Barrington and wandered around, met and conversed with a few store owners, and then settled down in the outside seating at Mexican Place Fiesta Bar and Grill, content with their Margaritas on the rocks as they were serenated by a classic ‘60s rock-and-roll Beatles/Rolling Stones band comprised of local legends.

down ziplines, all of it really fun, while they supported and cheered each other to success. They weren’t sure what to expect, or how difficult it would be, but found that they were more than able to have a lot of fun! After they finished at the course, they drove five miles to dinner at John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant. They were treated to mussels in chili butter, scallions and coconut milk, and whole roasted garlic with tomato, olive, and chevre for appetizers. The entrées were seared duck, crisp duck confit, mashed potato with balsamic maple syrup, and hanger steak and fries, with fresh parsley, scallion, and chili butter. The pork chop also looked great – it was hard for them to decide on what to choose. John Andrews is a farm-to-table restaurant that feels like a friend’s back yard, nestled in the woods surrounded by perennial gardens, dotted with multiple firepits, and filled with friendly faces. After finishing their meal and watching the sunset, it was time for them to drive back home. On the way they stopped to get some pie crusts to make their own signature apple-lemon pie with the apples they picked at the Windy Hill Farm to complete the weekend with a tasty homemade souvenir. The couple enjoyed their getaway, not so far away, with a healthy balance of nature, adventure, and good food. n Lisa Martin, Travel Advisor, Luxury Cruise Specialist, ACC, Cruise Planners; Land and Cruise 860.929.0708 lisa.martin@ cruiseplanners.com TotalTravelToday.com


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House Plants Make Your Holidays Shine



hat a year! This year the holidays, like almost everything else we have done, will be different. Perhaps we will be celebrating with family and friends via Zoom™ or some other video app. Perhaps our families have changed in ways we would prefer not to think about and so our celebrations will be muted. However we choose to celebrate, one thing that will make our holidays special is the presence of plants. This is the one time of year that I definitely have more holiday plants in my home, and I know that I will be decorating earlier this year as a way to blunt some of what’s happened around us. At the holidays, the stores bring out lots more plants and among them are poinsettias and “Christmas” cactus (or zygo cactus, technically schlumbergera, and not cactus at all). Poinsettias have expanded their color palette beyond red: there are many shades of white and cream, some even verging on yellow, and many shades of pink, from pale pink to almost fuchsia. If you like traditional red, there are glorious hues to choose from, from “traditional” red to crimson. There are also speckled varieties. But what about untraditional plants? By now, phalaenopsis orchids (the moth orchids) are everywhere, so no one thinks of those at the holidays. But they make great holiday plants. They are easy care, take lower light than other plants, and bloom for months. And they are


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very affordable, so you can buy several orchids just as easily as several large poinsettias. If you have a sunny window, anthurium make great holiday house plants. If the name is unfamiliar, it’s likely you still know the plant: It has heart-shaped green leaves and large, leathery, heart-shaped flowers that can be red, white or pink. The plant is truly tropical, so it prefers a warmer home. It will survive in lower light, but it won’t bloom as often. If your home has lower light and you would still like to have blooming plants, the peace lily (spathiphyllum) is always a good choice. This is a plant everyone knows—dark green sword-shaped leaves and white flowers. There are several varieties, some with large leaves and some dwarf. While you may think that this is far too “common” a plant to include in your home (since it is a staple of dish gardens), consider that it is one of the best plants for ridding the air of indoor pollutants. As we all shelter in our homes in the winter, a few plants that clean the air are always welcome! Add a few white fairy lights and the effect is very festive, even in low light! Another great blooming plant for low light situations that people don’t usually consider at the holidays are the “nonstop” and tuberous begonias. These are readily available year round, come in colors that range from white, yellow, peach, salmon, pink, rose and red and look like small double roses. And they truly do bloom “non-stop,” or at least

for several months at a time. A blooming plant will likely continue to bloom through winter. I gave one as a gift last January and it bloomed until August. The final non-traditional option is aglaonema. This is another plant that you have likely seen and perhaps not known its botanical name. Breeders have done a lot of work with these plants so what was once a workhorse of a plant with dark green leaves is now grouping of plants with leaves splashed with different colors. I have been known to refer to these as the “un-poinsettias,” because they can be used at the holidays in the same way but—in my cool house they much prefer the climate. Aglaonemas can be found easily in most garden centers. There are varieties with red and green leaves, red and pink leaves, and many varieties with green and white leaves, including one that has so much white that the green is hardly visible. If white is your holiday decorating scheme, these plants are fabulous—and they will last for years and purify the air in your home as well. This plant is a winner! With everything that has gone on in 2020, the holidays might not feel as festive this year. We can change that—and plants can make that happen! Karla Dalley is a garden writer and speaker from West Hartford. kdalley@comcast.net. gardendaze.wordpress.com Photo courtesy of the Olive Gypsy Boutique, by ADRIANA LAJOIE PHOTOGRAPHY

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Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine 25

WEST HARTFORD‌YESTERDAY, TODAY & TOMORROW It’s easy for those of us who live in West Hartford to take our extraordinary town for granted. The superb schools. The lush green parks and landscapes. The distinctive restaurants. The proximity to world-class museums and theaters. The endless awards and accolades. In recent months, however, something interesting has begun to take root. You might even call it a phenomenon. Banished from their skyscraper offices and confined by COVID-19 to their pothole-sized apartments, pandemic-weary New York urbanites arerelocating to nearby suburban towns that offer great schools, excellent amenities, spacious homes and safe, more comfortable living. TODD FAIRCHILD PHOTOGRAPHY


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HISTORY LESSON A look back in time at the birth — and growth — of a Connecticut town 1672 — West Hartford is founded as a parish, consisting of “72 Long Lots” laid out between today’s Quaker Lane and Mountain Road. At the core of the community was the parish meeting house. The First Congregational Meeting House was built around 1712. Now in its 5th building, the church stands at what is now the southeast corner of Main Street and Farmington Avenue. 1775 — A slave named Bristow, who worked for Thomas Hart Hooker (and for whom a West Hartford middle school is today named), bought his freedom to fight in the Revolutionary War. Bristow continued to live with the family even after Thomas Hart Hooker was killed in the war. He became an agricultural expert and bequeathed his property to the Hookers’ two children when he died. He is the only known African American to be buried in West Hartford’s Old Center Burial Yard. Sarah Whitman Hooker House still stands on New Britain Avenue. 1792 — A committee of residents was appointed to ask permission from Hartford to secede, and were denied. Five years later they petitioned again, and again were denied. 1854 — A petition signed by 153 residents asking to establish their own town was delivered to the Connecticut General Assembly. On April 26, about 100 residents from West Hartford presented their own case against secession. After review and an opportunity

for Hartford to make an argument for keeping West Hartford, the General Assembly voted on May 3 for West Hartford’s independence. 1854 — West Hartford is incorporated as a town. 1879 — Edwin Arnold established the Trout Brook Ice & Feed Company. Ice from Trout Brook, a stream that runs through the middle of West Hartford, was harvested in the winter, sawn into blocks, and placed into a series of ice houses through an escalator system. Insulated in sawdust, the blocks of ice were used as refrigeration locally and shipped as far away as New York City. 1891 — The Whitlock Coil Pipe Company opened, followed later by Royal Typewriter, Wiremold, Abbot Ball, Colt’s Manufacturing and Uncle Bill’s Silver Grippers (producer of tweezers). The largest of West Hartford manufacturers was Pratt & Whitney (now Pratt & Whitney Measurement Systems, which later lent its name to Pratt & Whitney, the aerospace corporation headquartered in East Hartford). In 1940 it built a plant and at the height of World War II it employed over 7,000 people. It would stand until 1991, when operations were relocated to Plainville. 1895 — Wealthy residents from the “East Side” of West Hartford petitioned Hartford for annexation. Their call was rebuffed by other West Hartford residents.That same year, Wood, Harmon and Company created one of the town’s first subdivisions on property known as Stanley Farm, a tract sloping upward from the trolley line that then ran along Farmington Avenue, across from Reservoir No. 1. Called Buena Vista, it

was promoted it as “Hartford’s New and Handsome Suburb.” 1896 — Elizabeth Park was built. named for the wife of Charles M. Pond, who bequeathed the land to the City of Hartford, and designed by acclaimed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. 1909 —The Connecticut Governor’s Residence was built on Prospect Avenue adjacent to Elizabeth Park. 1920s — The brainchild of Horace R. Grant, West Hill was located on the former estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt, son of the famous financier and transportation magnate. It was significant historically as an excellent example of a planned real estate development of the early 1920s. With architecture that characteristic of the Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival styles of the time, it was declared a National Historic District in 1996. 1910 to 1930 — The population of West Hartford grew from 4,808 to 24,941 residents. 1940 to 1960 — The population grew from 33,776 to 62,382. 1923 & 1924 — Hartford wanted to annex West Hartford back so that it could achieve a “Greater Hartford Plan.” Town residents rallied in opposition and the plan was defeated by a vote of 2,100 to 6,137. 1971 — The Bishops Corner development was inaugurated, housing tenants such as Lord & Taylor, F.W. Woolworth, and Doubleday Book Shop.


Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine 27

(History Lesson cont.)

1974 — Towards the town’s southwest fringe lies Westfarms Mall. The mall’s original anchors included JC Penney, G. Fox & Co., and Sage-Allen. The mall recalibrated retail in West Hartford. 2007 — Blue Back Square opened adjacent, and as an addition, to the town’s popular downtown area known as West Hartford Center, as the community’s main hub. A pioneer mixed-use development adjacent to West Hartford Center blended retail and residential living space with a sidewalk vibe that gave it a unique vibrancy. The five-building complex includes a restaurants and shops, luxury apartments, professional and medical offices, two parking garages, a hotel, and more. Named after Noah Webster’s renowned spelling book, Blue-Back Speller, the development significantly altered the Center and furthered West Hartford’s burgeoning reputation as a regional dining and shopping destination.

West Hartford’s Favorite Sons & Daughters CHIP ARNDT, gay rights activist, philanthropist, and co-winner of The Amazing Race 4 MICHELLE BEADLE, sports reporter and NBC Universal host MANUTE BOL (1962–2010), NBA player BEN BOVA, science fact and fiction author TIM BRENNAN, guitar player and songwriter for Dropkick Murphys

MARTIN HAYES, Six Time All Ireland Fiddle Champion GRAYSON HUGH, singer-songwriter, songs featured in Oscar-winning films “Thelma and Louise” and “Fried Green Tomatoes” LIZ JANANGELO, professional golfer on the LPGA Tour JARED JORDAN, drafted 45th by Los Angeles Clippers in the 2007 NBA Draft

CHRIS CARRABBA, singer–songwriter from Dashboard Confessional

CHARLIE KAUFMAN, Academy Award winning and screenwriter of “Being John Malkovich” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”

DOMINICK DUNNE, (1925–2009) and JOHN GREGORY DUNNE (1932–2003), writers, were born in Hartford and grew up in West Hartford

EDWARD LORENZ, mathematician and meteorologist, early pioneer of chaos theory, inventor of the strange attractor notion, made the term “butterfly effect” popular

JOHN L. FLANNERY, chairman & CEO, General Electric (GE)

FRANK LUNTZ, Republican pollster KENNY MAYNE, ESPN personality

JOHN FRANKLIN ENDERS, Nobel Laureate 1954 for Medicine DORE GOLD, Ambassador to the United Nations from Israel


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JOSEPH MASCOLO, actor and soap opera veteran

BRETT H. MCGURK, Special Adviser to the United States Ambassador to Iraq JASON MUZZATTI, former NHL goalie, played with the Hartford Whalers JOHN O’HURLEY, actor on Seinfeld television series and former Family Feud host PETER PAIGE, actor RYEN RUSSILLO, ESPN personality MICHAEL SCHUR, creator of “Parks and Recreation” and “The Good Place” WILLIAM THOMPSON SEDGWICK, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a key figure in shaping U.S. public health SCOTT VAN PELT, ESPN personality ADNAN VIRK, sportscaster NOAH WEBSTER, lexicographer, textbook author, Bible translator, spelling reformer, writer, and editor


Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine 29


A top West Hartford real estate agent says, even in the time of COVID, it’s all about supply & demand


esidents of West Hartford and its neighboring towns have no trouble remembering the name Robin Gebrian. Why would they? As one of Connecticut’s top real estate agents, Gebrian’s name is a ubiquitous voice calling out to passers-by from the lawn signs of so many homes for sale (or sold) throughout town. Gebrian, who has logged 30 years of real estates sales experience, was a winning agent almost from the day she signed on with Prudential Connecticut Realty’s Hartford office. “That first year I was the top agent in the office,” Gebrian who is today a real estate professional with William Raveis, recalls. How did that happen? “I didn’t realize that people who knew me from my [private] life would refer people to me even though I didn’t have experience. I guess they trusted that I would know what I was doing!” she says with a laugh. A native of South Bend, Indiana, Gebrian’s has familial roots in Norwalk, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts. After graduating from Syracuse University, where she studied family relations and child development, she settled in western Connecticut. An adoption social worker with Child and Family Services, she left after 11 years to raise her two children. Thirteen years after moving to


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Connecticut, Gebrian relocated to West Hartford. “I bought my house when my daughter was ready for school because the schools in West Hartford are so good,” she explains. Once both her daughter and son were in school, she was ready to return to work — but not as a social worker. Instead, she sought a job with the kind of flexibility that would allow her to be there for her kids. Real estate sales fit the bill. Three weeks after signing on with Prudential, she sold her first house. Three weeks after that, she sold a house to that same client whose house she had just sold. “I’ve loved the job from the beginning,” says Gebrian. “Sure, there are difficult times — but I love meeting new people and I love helping them with something that is so important to them.” The secret of her success: “I try to do a great job for everybody who asks for my help. I try to figure out what my client wants and I try and find it.” And so, when we set out to learn how the real estate market in West Hartford was faring during these challenging times, and what West Harfordites should watch for, we knew there was just one person to talk to: Robin Gebrian. Here’s what she had to say.

Q: YOU WORK THROUGHOUT THE GREATER HARTFORD AREA. TELL US HOW THE WEST HARTFORD REAL ESTATE MARKET COMPARES WITH THE MARKETS IN NEIGHBORING TOWNS. ROBIN GEBRIAN: The market fluctuates according to lots of different factors — such as the economy — and West Hartford really has always been the best market. In other words, when the market goes down, it goes down in West Hartford last; and when it comes up, it comes up in West Hartford first. It all comes down to supply and demand. In West Hartford, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter how much money you have, no matter what your family lifestyle is, there is somebody like you. Think about it: There are 67 languages spoken in West Hartford — and that’s an old statistic, it’s higher now. There are so many different nationalities and so many different lifestyles.There are first time buyer houses and there are million dollar houses. We have it all. And, as result, West Hartford is going to get more eyes on it because of the town’s diversity — diversity of product and diversity of people — in addition to being a well-run, dynamic town with good schools, etc. I’m not here to say West Hartford is the best town. I’m here to say that in terms of the real estate market, we have more appeal to more people and that means more demand. And, again, real estate is all about supply and demand. So, it’s no wonder real estate agents in the surrounding towns watch West Hartford. If the market’s gone down

and they want to know what it’s going to come back up, they’ll just watch West Hartford. They know that if West Hartford begins to come up, their towns are going to come up.

HOW IS THE WEST HARTFORD REAL ESTATE MARKET FARING DURING THIS PANDEMIC? Right now is unique, again because of supply and demand. Many people who were going to put their house on the market this past spring didn’t, or they delayed putting it on. And the same goes for buyers who may have wanted to buy but didn’t. As an example, before the pandemic started, I had two people ready to go. One was downsizing and another wanted to upsize. They both put their searches on hold for about two months, and then they both said, “If we can find a house and go forward.” By then we had figured out how to do that safely. So really what happened was, there were not enough houses coming on the market because of COVID, but there were a lot of buyers who really wanted to buy for various reasons, and people who were at home and had the time to look at what was on the market. It was the perfect storm for a very good real estate market. And we’re still in it. We still don’t have enough houses. At any given time it is very hard to find what you want, when you want it, for the price you want it. It doesn’t matter what kind of market it is.


while we watched on Zoom. That way we could ask questions and revisit particular rooms or areas we wanted to see. It was a safe way in the beginning for us to see houses. Sometimes, if the agent couldn’t make it, I would go to the house myself and do the tour for the client. Later on, people realized that if we made it safe for buyers and sellers — if we all wore masks and gloves, and if we sanitized and limited the number of people walking through the house — we could show houses, because generally it’s just you and your buyers and often the houses are already vacant.


IS THERE A LIFECYCLE TO THESE KIND OF MARKETS? CAN YOU PREDICT WHEN IT MIGHT BE OVER? No, because real estate is affected by many factors. It’s a commodity just like stock. For sure it’s a great time to sell. The interest rate is lower than it’s ever been — it’s under three percent, and that’s another reason there are so many buyers. Even before this pandemic hit there were lower interest rates and that does make a difference. If money is cheap and you can improve yourself and you have a good job, why not?


West Hartford has definitely been a key town for people moving out of New York City. One weekend not that long ago I must have gotten five calls from New York City people interested in looking at West Hartford. One of the houses I sold in West Hartford recently was to a couple who came up here with their new baby to stay with one of their parents [during the pandemic.] Once they got here they decided they wanted to stay here and not go back. I think it’s primarily because they’re used to a cosmopolitan area. They’re used to walking everywhere; to having sidewalks and restaurants, and being close to everything. Can you think of another [suburban] town that comes close to that — a place where you can have more land, etc.?

A lot of people don’t think about resale and they should always take resale into consideration. I always point out to people interested in a particular house that these are the challenges for resale in this particular place and when you go to sell this is what you will need to understand that.

…AND FOR SELLERS? It’s always about price. That’s the number one thing one learns after all these years. It’s always a price issue. People will ask, “Why isn’t my house selling?” And even if I haven’t seen the house I know it’s the price — that something about the house doesn’t match the price. And there’s no empirical data that you can put together to arrive at the right price; you have to have an agent who understands the value in your particular market for your particular house to arrive at the right price.

We worked online in the early stages [of the pandemic]. If a couple had a house they were interested in, I would ask the agent who had the listing to go to the house and use their cell phone to give the client and myself a tour of the house


Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine 31

West Hartford b The following demographic data is based on projections of the latest U.S. Census estimates, as well as data accumulated by various sources for the years 2014 — 2018.

22.3 — The square mileage of West Hartford, of which 21.9 square miles is land and 0.42 square miles (or 1.91%), is water. 3,565,287 — Population of Connecticut. 63,127 — Population of West Hartford (as recorded in 2020). 24,491 — Households in West Hartford.

58 — Percent of West Hartford residents who are married.

48,865 — Adults living in West Hartford.

47 — Percent of West Hartford families with children under 18.

41.1 — Median age of West Hartford residents (median age in CT: 40.6; median age nationally: 37.7).

292,000 — Median dollar value of homes in West Hartford.

74 — Number of different languages spoken by West Hartford residents.


94.5 — Percentage of West Hartford residents who are high school graduates or higher (in Connecticut: 90.5%). 63.6 — Percentage of residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher (in Connecticut: 38.9%).

11,311 — Senior adults living in West Hartford.

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91.6 — Percentage of West Hartford households with a computer.

2,356 — West Hartford residents who are U.S. military veterans (between 2014-18).

by the Numbers 8 — Statewide ranking of Hall High School by US News & World Report in 2020. Ranking indicates how high schools perform statewide out of 216 schools in Connecticut.

83.35 — Percentage of West Hartford residents who were born in the United States (50.38% were born in Connecticut). 8 — Car break-ins in 2019 (all were unlocked). 98 — percentage of students in West Hartford’s two high schools who graduate.

642 — National ranking of Conard High School by US News & World Report in 2020. The ranking indicates how high schools perform nationally out of 17,792 nationally ranked schools.

457 — National ranking of Hall High School by US News & World Report in 2020. The ranking indicates how high schools perform nationally out of 17,792 nationally ranked schools.

13 — Statewide ranking of Conard High School by US News World Report in 2020. Ranking indicates how high schools perform statewide out of 216 schools ranked in Connecticut.


Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine 33

West Hartford is a great place for NY urbanites to relocate. Just ask the NY Times. BY JUDIE JACOBSON


rite this down. On August 24, 2020, Jerry Seinfeld lost his sense of humor. Hard to believe. But there you have it. Years from now you’ll want to tell your awe-struck grandchildren where you were and what you were doing when it happened. Of course, there’s more to the story. In Jerry’s defense, the master of his comedic domain was goaded into an uncharacteristically humorless hissy fit by New York City comedy club owner James Altucher who, in a self-published essay reprinted by the New York Post on August 17, professed his love and affection for the city of his birth…then in the very next breath espoused what Jerry perceived to be his cockamamie theory that the shining city on the Hudson had seen the last of its glory days. Pointing an accusatory finger at the pandemic as well as recent riots, Altucher noted that apartment vacancies in the Big Apple were at an all time high as residents headed for parts anywhere but there, and companies were packing up and moving out as well. “NYC is Dead Forever,” read Altucher’s apocalyptic headline. Jerry was apoplectic. “The last thing we need in the thick of so many challenges is some putz on LinkedIn wailing and whimpering,


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‘Everyone’s gone! I want 2019 back!’” Jerry hollered in an opinion piece published in The New York Times on August 24 (and written, or so it is rumored, from the confines of his $32 million waterfront shack in the Hamptons). He then instructed Mr. Altucher to “shut up,” and “wipe your tears, wipe your butt and pull it together.” Ok then. Safe to say Jerry Seinfeld was not captain of his high school debate team. Still, we’re not choosing sides. After all, does anyone really know what lies ahead? No. Does anyone one really like being called a ‘putz’ by Jerry Seinfeld? We think not. On the other hand, we know what we know, and what we know is that West Hartford is a gem of a New England town that would make a great place for transplanted New Yorkers to call home. And we’re not the only ones who think so. Just ask Julie Lasky, a writer for The New York Times who, on August 7, 2020, penned an article entitled “Leaving New York: How to Choose the Right Suburb.” “The pandemic, and its disruption of work habits, has led New Yorkers not just to untether from the city but to propel themselves to places where they never dreamed of living,” wrote Lasky. So where in ‘burbs can New York City slickers find happiness? To find out, Lasky asked more than 20 real estate agents in New

York, New Jersey and Connecticut to recommend places to move within two hours of New York City, based on eight different criteria. She then pared down the suggestions with the help of data about school performance, population density and demographic diversity. Finally, she came up with eight suburban towns that make great alternatives to New York City living. Six are located in New York, one in New Jersey. West Hartford was the only town in Connecticut to make the cut. No surprise — least of all to those who already call West Hartford home. “West Hartford is a vibrant and walkable, diverse and welcoming community with a high level of services and with residents that care deeply about each other,” West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor told Accent. “West Hartford has always been an attractive place to live for people from New York, Boston and other cities, but in this extraordinary time when a home is the center of so much of life, we have experienced a large influx of home buyers and business owners from larger metropolitan areas that recognize the high quality of life that West Hartford has to offer,” she added. Lasky thinks she knows why. Besides being only a two hour drive to mid-Manhattan, she writes, West Hartford is noted for its historic roots, walkable center, high-ranking schools, three public libraries, six

public parks, two active senior centers and, of course, the popular Blue Back Square — which Lasky describes as “a 10-year-old mixed-used development that went out of its way not to look like a typical shopping mall.” The recipient of umpteen “Best Places” awards from the likes of Money, Niche, Family Circle, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazines, and a travel website called The Crazy Tourist, West Hartford also has easy access to Hartford’s cultural offerings and the Farmington Valley’s apple orchards,

golf courses, hiking and river sports, notes Lasky. And did we mention that the price of homes is considerably lower than New York suburban towns? “As the executive director of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, I have witnessed the resilience of our town first hand,” says Chris Conway. “Collectively, our residents, civic leaders, businesses and nonprofit partners are working together to maintain and even grow our community. West Hartford has always been a special place. I

am excited to welcome newcomers to our town.” Newcomers like, say, Jerry Seinfeld? Just kidding, Jer. Hey, how about we all hop in that vintage Porsche of yours and go for a cup of coffee, maybe breakfast, at Sally & Bob’s. It doesn’t get much better than that.

(above) Jerry Seinfeld in New York, New York. Photograph: Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic


Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine 35

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Eat, Drink



ay “Cheers” for a spectacular holiday gathering! There is a lot that goes into the planning to make that “Cheers” super successful. I’d like to help pick those perfect pairings for this holiday season. The holidays are warm, festive and filled with great food. Because of the season, holiday wines can be bigger, heartier wines that stand up to traditional flavors like turkey, currants, cranberries, prime rib and other holiday delights, whatever they may be. While it can seem daunting to select the perfect wine, there are some choices that go naturally well with holiday foods. These wines might include medium and full-bodied reds with lots of spice, festive, sparkling wines as well as richer whites. If it is your turn to host, whether at home or on ZOOM, I hope to give a few pointers so you can choose wines that will surely make you the “Host with the Most!” With the wide range of foods and flavors at the holidays, the objective of this article is to provide some guidelines to food and wine pairing for the holidays with specific applications so that wine selection is less confusing and more enjoyable. Here are the key concepts to think about when pairing: 1) Versatility, 2) Consider texture, not just flavor, and 3) Whether you want to compliment or contrast with the flavor of the dish. There are many wines that will be able


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to pair with any certain dish; let’s just to remember to keep the options open. There is never one perfect choice, but there are choices that will work better than others. Let’s look at a few of the possible courses and see which concept works best. Appetizers and hors d’oeuvres are always in abundance at all holiday gatherings. These fun little hand-tomouth bites are perfect to make the crowd happy quick. What wine, you ask? Well, versatility is the key. Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles! Champagne of course is the king of bubbles and would be most welcome at any party. There are other choices that will put a spark in your glass. Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy, any number of wines from France labeled Crémant, fine sparkling wines from a number of regions in France. Here is a list of a few of the Crémant wines areas and how it will be listed on the label. Crémant de Alsace, Crémant de Bordeaux, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Die, Crémant du Jura, Crémant de Limoux, Crémant de Loire and Crémant de Luxembourg. Bubbles are refreshing and cleanse the palate, getting it ready for that next new little bite of bursting flavor. Cheese you ask? Yes please. If lactose doesn’t work for or with you please skip this paragraph, or take a Lactaid. Well this pairing is no laughing matter. Cheese, of all its beautiful varieties, can be very difficult to pair. My usual go-to is white, white, white (except for hard

aged cheeses that call for a red). I like it when a wine contrasts with a cheese. For example, a rich creamy cheese like Camembert works very nicely with a wine that has a little crispness with some brighter acidity. I like the way it cuts through that beautiful fattiness. A wine with a little sugar like Riesling is great from some of those creamy, salty blues. Yum. To quote the great Mâitre Fromogier Max McCalman, “My first instinct is to get away from traditional notions about pairings. I like to promote pairings of lesser-known, less ‘serious’ or ponderous but nonetheless delightful wines with cheeses. Savennières, Pinot Blanc, and Albariño are good examples.” Fantastic word to live by. Let’s use this thought for the next course. The main course is the main event at most holiday gatherings. Who will be the contenders for wine? Selecting the right wine for the main course is a simple as thinking, complement the dish. Think about the texture as much as the flavor. Match the textures and flavors and the two will dance nicely on the palate. A simple solution to pairing wine with the main course can be as easy as four questions to ask yourself. 1) Does the food overpower the wine? 2) Does the wine overpower the food? 3) When the wine and food are combined in mouth, what tertiary flavor does it create? And finally, is that flavor that is created pleasing? Done. As far as dessert, the simple solution is to choose a wine as sweet as the dessert. The sweetness of the dessert

Every Number Tells A Story

subtracts the sweetness of the wine. One thing is for sure; the holidays are upon us. Whether you are hosting or have to bring a bottle of something to add to the spirits of the occasion, think pairing and all the possibilities. There are no hard and fast rules to the art of pairing. So, I hope we have touched upon some of the ideas I like to run through when finding that perfect pair! I hope this will only add to the enjoyment, no matter where you are planning to spend these special times, but I only hope one thing. You are with the people you love, friends that make you laugh and wine that will pair and enhance the experience. But always remember, the bottle of wine is only as good as the people you share it with. Happy holidays! And continue to be safe.

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Most portfolios are constructed based on an individual’s investment objective, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Using these inputs and sophisticated portfolio-optimization calculations, most investors can feel confident that they own a well-diversified portfolio, appropriately positioned to pursue their long-term goals.¹ However, as a retiree, how you choose to live in retirement may be an additional factor to consider when building your portfolio. STARTING A BUSINESS? Using retirement funds to start a business entails significant risk. If you choose this path, you may want to


42 Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine

consider reducing the risk level of your investment portfolio to help compensate for the risk you’re assuming with a new business venture. Since a new business is unlikely to generate income right away, you may want to construct your portfolio with an income orientation in order to provide you with current income until the business can begin turning a profit. TRAVELING FOR EXTENDED PERIODS OF TIME? There are a number of good reasons to consider using a professional money manager for your retirement savings. Add a new one. If you plan on extended travel that may keep you disconnected from current events (even modern communication), investing in a portfolio of individual securities that requires constant attention may not be an ideal approach.² For this lifestyle, professional management may suit your retirement best. RETHINK RETIREMENT INCOME? Market volatility can undermine your retirement-income strategy. While it may come at the expense of some opportunity cost, there are products and strategies

that may protect you from drawing down on savings when your portfolio’s value is falling—a major cause of failed income approaches. Contact Burr Capital Advisors at 860-678-6260 for a complimentary consultation to discuss your individual situation and estate planning and retirement needs. You can also visit our website at www.burrcapital.com. Contact: Whitney F. Burr Burr Capital Advisors, LLC 10 North Main Street Suite #213 West Hartford, CT 06107 860-678-6260 www.burrcapital.com 1. Diversification and portfolio optimization calculations are approaches to help manage investment risk. They do not eliminate the risk of loss if security prices decline. 2. Keep in mind that the return and principal value of security prices will fluctuate as market conditions change. And securities, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Individuals cannot invest directly in an index. Investment Advisory Services and Securities offered through LPL Financial – A Registered Investment Advisor – Member FINRA/SIPC. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2020 FMG Suite.

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Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine 43


The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce:

Why West Hartford? BY CHRIS CONWAY

“When in doubt, call the Chamber of Commerce.” This has been a constant theme running though the COVID-19 pandemic. Not a day goes by that I do not receive a call from someone, either local or afar, asking questions. Some of the basic queries include, which restaurants are open and how are they handling pick-up and delivery or clarification on how a business may be affected by phased reopeonings. For most things like this, we have proactively set up resources on our website, or communicate via our many email updates or social media posts. Beginning in the late spring, I noticed a pattern developing. I began to receive nearly daily calls for maps of West Hartford and Chamber directories. More often than not, these calls were coming from people in New York City. Others were coming from states in the Mid-Atlantic and South. When I asked why they were looking for these resources, the unanimous answer was, “I’m thinking of moving to West Hartford.” In conversations with community partners at the town or with our Chamber Members in the real estate sphere, I discovered they were also fielding similar requests. It did not take long before others took notice; most notably, The New York Times. On July 7th, the paper ran an article called “Leaving New York: How to Choose the Right Suburb”. Based on information gathered by real


44 Vol. 10, No. 4 2020 west hartford magazine

estate agents, columnist Julie Lasky came up with a list of eight villages and towns in the tri-state area that would be sound choices for those looking to leave the city. West Hartford was the only Connecticut location to make the list. Locations were chosen for different reasons; Valley Stream, NY was chosen for Diversity and North Salem, NY was considered best choice for Rural Character. West Hartford’s distinction was Most Bang for Your Buck, citing the home prices relative to value of investment. As I pondered the list, it occurred to me that many of the reasons other towns made the cut were also aspects common to West Hartford. Items such as top-rated schools (check!), diversity (check!), walkable town center (check!) and beautiful public spaces (check!) were all criteria for this exclusive list. While it’s wonderful to be recognized internationally for something many of us have locally known for years, the question became, “How can we, as a community, run with this?” More importantly is how do we answer the question, “Why West Hartford?”. As I mentioned, others had noticed this trend. Soon after the article ran in The New York Times, the Chamber, members of town staff, and other community partners got together on Zoom. We discussed how to best position West Hartford to be the destination of choice

for those wishing to relocate either personally or professionally to West Hartford. The insert feature in this magazine is the first of many steps in what will become a multi-channel marketing and resource strategy. The feature includes some of the answers to the question, “Why West Hartford?” I encourage you to have a look. Beyond this issue, this insert we be available as a free-standing publication to be distributed to those considering a move to West Hartford. Soon we will be launching a website and social media accounts to further amplify the “Why West Hartford?” story. Little good has come from the crisis of the past several months. One thing is clear: West Hartford is a resilient community of dedicated citizens and stakeholders. Looking past the pandemic, now is the time to sow the seeds of a bright future for our town. Christopher Conway Executive Director West Hartford Chamber of Commerce (860) 521-2300 - Office (860) 810-5663 - Cell cconway@whchamber.com www.whchamber.com

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Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine 45


A Wedding with Heart & Soul | Clarissa and Max Weinstein Photos by Evergreen Weddings; loveisevergreen.com


o sooner had Max Weinstein slipped a ring on the finger of Clarissa Myers and asked her to marry him and join him on life’s journey then the two started planning their dream wedding. They knew just what they wanted. An outdoor wedding held on a breezy evening, redolent with both an air of elegance and rustic charm and punctuated by the captivating colors of the New England landscape. They found the perfect setting amid the cluster of splendorous gardens and stunning vistas of the gracious Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, a 1901 Colonial Revival-style house that is home to a magnificent collection of Impressionist masterpieces, Japanese woodblock prints and decorative arts. The venue was booked. The menu selected. The invitations ordered. All for a guest list that included 150 of Max and Clarissa’s nearest and dearest. And then…well, you know…and then. When it became clear that a wedding for 150 was out of the question, Max and Clarissa considered their options — and quickly concluded that not getting married was not one of them. Instead, they shifted to Plan B. Sticking to COVID-19 protocol guidelines, they opted for a socially-distanced outdoor wedding on the West Lawn of the Hill-Stead Museum, attended by 40 in-person guests, each of whom was required to arrive wearing a mask and bearing proof of a negative COVID test performed within 48 hours of the event. Many other family and friends were invited to witness the proceedings on Zoom.


46 Vol. 10, No. 4 2020 west hartford magazine

As it turned out, the wedding, which took place on a picture-perfect Sunday in September, was a beautiful testament to love and resilience in the time of COVID. It was also proof positive that a wedding is not about the number of guests in attend-ance, nor is about or any of the other trimmings that are often the focus of wedding plans. As those in attendance at Max and Clarissa’s nuptials learned, a wedding is about heart and soul. And on September 6, on the sprawling lawns of the Hill-Stead Museum, heart and soul were in abundance, beginning with the very personal and heartfelt ceremony performed by the groom’s uncle, Edward Wagner. Conveying messages from the bride and groom to their parents, Edward told Diana and Craig Myers, “Clarissia spoke of you both and said: ‘Thank you for teaching me to appreciate the simple beauty life offers, to work hard but play harder, and to know that home is not one place but anywhere I may find love, comfort, a friendly face (and some wine!)’.” He then turned to West Hartford residents Elisa and Stephen Weinstein. “Max realizes all the love and support you both gave him over the years,” he told them. “You have worked incredibly hard to provide Max with the tools to create a beautiful life with a woman who is beautiful both inside and out.” Following the recitation of the lyrical “Apache Wedding Prayer” by the groom’s sister, Nikki Weinstein, and the bride's brother, Nicholas Myers, Edward shared reflections written by Clarissa and Max about what it is they love about each other.

“Clarissa loves that your love of family is equivalent to hers,” he shared with Max. “That you relish adventure (that you are her greatest adventure), that your primary goal every day is to make her smile and laugh, and that you are a guaranteed constant flow of change.” Turning to Clarissa, Edward said, “Max adores your big heart and your propensity for seeing fairness in the world and through everything you do. He loves your thirst for bettering yourself through anything you endeavor to do and to be better and better, that you are always trying to learn more every day." Before leading the couple in the recitation of their vows, Edward added his personal thoughts about his nephew and the woman just moments away from becoming his niece. Noting that the two had not long ago relocated from Atlanta to the Hartford area, where Max grew up, in order to help family who were at the time, in need of assistance, Edward called the couple “role models,” saying their actions spoke “of their character and moral compass’. Of course, he added, he wasn’t the only one in attendance with a story to tell about the couple. “Each of us here today has great stories about your times together,” he told Clarissa and Max, “even a story about transporting a mummy, which I’d love to hear more about.” Hmmm. So would we. Photos clockwise from top; The couple walking the grounds of the Museum; Dog of Honor, “Willow” delivered the ring Father-of the bride, Craig Myers Paren ts of the groom, Stephen Weinstein and Elisa Wagner Weinstein; with parents of the bride, Craig and Diana Myers


Vol. 10, No. 4 2020 west hartford magazine 47

Save the Date! May 1, 2021

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Vol. 10, No. 3, 2020 west hartford magazine 49

Need a midday pick-me-up? Grab a tasty snack packed with protein (and other good stuff) BY STACEY DRESNER


ave you looked at the label of your favorite granola bar lately? Many of the most popular bars are high in saturated fat, added sugar and calories. Kind of like a candy bar, nutritionally speaking. Kerry Hall of West Hartford reveiwed the labels in several stores and simply wanted a healthy bar she could snack on during her busy day. Hall says. “I wanted a bar to just grab and go and eat. There is so much out there with so much junk in it.” She mentioned this to her friend, nutritionist Lori Mongillo, and the two started playing around with recipes, experimenting through trial and error to create the perfect granola bar. “I just wanted something where you could pronounce all of the ingredients,” Hall says. Now, she and Mongillo are the owners – and the sole employees – of Kal Company (named for Kerry and Lori), which produces Kal Oat Bars, produced in Connecticut. At the beginning, “Lori mentioned, ‘why don’t we make them with protein?’” recalls Hall. “But when you use whey protein, which is what we use, you can’t cook it, because it loses its characteristics. So we decided that it would be a bar that was raw, not cooked, and kept in the freezer, because there are no preservatives. We started giving them to friends and asking, ‘What do you think?’ And that’s really how it got started.”

Hall and Mongillo mix the ingredients, form the bars in molds, freeze them, and then package them – all from the commercial kitchen they rent in Plantsville. From their first bar – Caribbean Coconut Mega Chip, a concoction of

oats, honey, coconut oil, whey protein, chocolate and white chocolate morsels, peanut butter and butterscotch chips and coconut – they have grown to 25 flavors. “When we started I said we’re only going to do five flavors,” Hall laughs. “But I just kept thinking of new flavors to add.” Filled with oats, nuts, dried fruits, honey and other wholesome ingredients, the line-up of Kal Oat Bars includes flavors like Wild Apricot Crunch; Bodacious Blueberry; It’s a FIG Deal; Razzle Dazzle in the Dark – mixed berries and dark chocolate; and I’m A Hot Mess, with the whole kitchen sink of granola ingredients thrown in – oats, honey, nuts, nut butters, coconut, and chocolate morsels and cocoa powder. Each Kal Oat Bar has fewer than 200 calories and at least five grams of protein

and fiber. The bars are softer, not crunchy like most granola bars. “I eat them right out of the freezer,” says Hall. “Some people put them in the microwave for a few seconds. Kal also has begun to make and sell bags of baked granola that can be used as toppings on yogurt or as a hot cereal. Last year, Hall “deconstructed” their Kal bars by taking some of their most popular flavors and baking them to make Kal Granola. “It’s one of the only granolas out there with no oil whatsoever,” she says. Kal Oat Bars are not sold in any local stores. Hall and Mongillo began selling them at farmer’s markets around the state when they launched their business in 2016. That wasn’t an option for much of this year, as most farmers markets were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But they retained many of the customers they met at the farmer’s markets, and much of their business comes from word of mouth. Customers can order Kal Bars on the company’s website and also can go on the site and “BYOB” – build your own bar – mixing and matching ingredients for one’s own personalized bar. The bars are also available at Mongillo’s weight loss center, Just Results, in Plainville. And Kal offers delivery to its customers, with a minimum order of six bars. Each bar sells for $1.75. To find out more about Kal Oat Bars or to place an order, visit www.kaloatbars.com, or email Hall directly at Kerry.kalcompany@gmail.com. n


Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine 51


Best of West Hartford BEST BAKERY


1st Hartford Baking Company Classic Cakes 2nd Donut Crazy 3rd Classic Cakes

1st A.C Petersen Farms Restaurant 2nd Arethusa Farm Dairy 3rd Abby Dabby Ice Cream and Treats

BEST BREAKFAST RESTAURANT 1st Sally & Bob’s 2nd Effie’s Place Family Restaurant 3rd Blue Plate Kitchen

BEST TEA 1st Cafe Sofia 2nd Green Teahouse 3rd Tea Break

BEST COFFEE 1st J. Rene Coffee Roasters Dunkin Donuts 2nd SPoT 3rd Dunkin Donuts

BEST BRUNCH 1st Pond House 2nd Avert 3rd Barcelona

BEST FAMILY RESTAURANT 1st Effie’s Place Family Restaurant 2nd A.C. Petersen Farm Restaurant 3rd Corner Pug

BEST FINE DINING 1st Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar 2nd Max’s Oyster Bar 3rd Treva

BEST GROCERY STORE 1st The Crown Market 2nd Hall’s Market 3rd Big Y


52 Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine

BEST PIZZA 1st Harry’s Bishops Corner 2nd Savoy 3rd Jimmie’s Pizza

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH 1st Restaurant Bricco 2nd Max’s Oyster Bar 3rd Park & Oak Restaurant

BEST WINE SHOP 1st The Wise Old Dog 2nd Harvest Wine & Spirits 3rd West Side Wines

BEST BURGER RESTAURANT 1st Rockledge Tavern 2nd Plan B 3rd Max Burger

BEST ETHNIC RESTAURANT 1st Zohara 2nd Black Bamboo Chinese Restaurant 3rd Bombay Olive

BEST FOOD TRUCK 1st Iron & Grain 2nd Craftbird 3rd The Liquorist

BEST PRESCHOOL/DAYCARE 1st Mandell JCC, Beatrice Fox Auerbach Early Childhood Center 2nd St. Joseph School for Young Children 3rd Lollipop Tree Nursery School

BEST CAMP 1st Camp Shalom 2nd Camp KO 3rd Renbrook School Summer Adventure

BEST EYEWEAR 1st Harvey and Lewis 2nd Central Optica 3rd Sight

BEST SPECIALTY RETAIL 1st Cookshop Plus 2nd Kaoud Oriental Rugs 3rd Toy Chest

BEST FINE JEWELRY 1st Lux Bond & Green 2nd Becker’s Fine Jewelry 3rd De Robertis Jewelers

FAVORITE NON-PROFIT 1st Visions/Voice Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford 2nd Children’s Charity Ball 3rd (Tie)Ron’s Run for the Roses Friends of Feeney

BEST SPORTS RETAIL 1st Fleet Feet 2nd Play It Again Sports 3rd REI

BEST MEN’S LOCAL 1st Daswani Clothiers 2nd Connecticut Custom Clothing 3rd Joseph A. Banks

BEST WOMEN’S LOCAL 1st BK& Co. 2nd Kimberly Boutique 3rd Hope & Stetson



1st Home Design District 2nd John Boyle Home Decorating 3rd Kaoud Oriental Rugs

1st Pet Supplies Plus 2nd Woof Gang



1st Vet Specialists of CT 2nd Petcare Veterinary Services 3rd CT Veterinary Center

1st Mandell JCC Greater Hartford 2nd WIP 3rd Orangetheory Fitness



1st Salon Medusa 2nd Matthew Philips 3rd Off Center Salon & Spa

1st Udolf 2nd RLM 3rd Figure Eight



1st Bristle & Blade Barber Shop 2nd Fifth State Barber 3rd Final Cuts Sports Barber Shop

1st William Raveis Real Estate 2nd Coldwell Banker 3rd HART Real Estate Group

BEST SPA 1st Touch of Bliss 2nd Face It 3rd Body and Sole Spa Therapies

BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT 1st Robin Gebrian 2nd Kara Flanagan 3rd Kevin Eagan

BEST YOGA 1st West Hartford Yoga 2nd Mandell JCC Greater Hartford 3rd Yoga Shop

BEST WEALTH MANAGEMENT/ FINANCIAL PLANNING FIRM 1st Charles Schwab 2nd Northstar Wealth Partners 3rd Burr Capital Advisors/ Valerie Thomas

BEST HOME HEALTH CARE 1st (tie) Jewish Family Services Companions For Living 2nd Juniper Homecare


BEST ASSISTED LIVING 1st The McAuley 2nd Hoffman Summerwood 3rd Chatfield

1st Whitney Burr 2nd Robert Laraia 3rd Martin Coursey

BEST HAPPY HOUR 1st Treva 2nd Ocho Cafe 3rd World of Beer

BEST HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR 1st Bartlett Brainard 2nd Magee Companies 3rd McNally Home Improvement

BEST LATE NIGHT SPOT 1st Barcelona West Hartford 2nd Vinted Wine Bar & Kitchen 3rd Elbow Room

2020 BEST GARDEN/FLORIST 1st Moscarillo’s Garden Shoppe 2nd Lane & Lenge Florist 3rd House of Flora

BEST LAW FIRM 1st Goff Law Group 2nd Eagan, Donohue, Van Dyke & Falsey 3rd Stanger Stanfield Law

BEST EVENT VENUE 1st University of St. Joseph 2nd Mandell Jewish Community Center 3rd Delamar

BEST NEW BUSINESS 1st The Fix 2nd Float Forty One 3rd Essential Health

200 0 2 20 2

BEST BANK/FINANCIAL INSTITUTION 1st Westfield Bank 2nd TD Bank 3rd People’s Bank

BEST LAWN/ LANDSCAPING CONTRACTOR 1st Chenail Lawn Care LLC 2nd Hodges Landscaping 3rd Begley Landscaping


Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine 53


Best of West Hartford People’s Choice



2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020




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56 Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020 west hartford magazine



Here Comes The Holiday Season Get a Flu Fighter Fix & a Sunshine(Vitamin D) boost.

The Fix IV Therapy is a wellness boutique spa at 1000 Farmington Ave. in West Hartford. Please check with the store for current store hours during these unusual times. Choose your FIX! Most IV infusions (FIXES) take 30 minutes to complete. All FIXES and BOOSTERS are administered by our skilled team of Registered Nurses. Contact: Erin Fox, Owner of The Fix. Thefixivtherapy.com 860-206-3677 917-592-2267 cell


Vol. 10, No. 3, 2020 west hartford magazine 57

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64 Vol. 10, No. 4 2020 west hartford magazine

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WeHa Magazine • Vol. 10, No. 4, 2020