West Hartford Magazine - Fall 2023

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Vol. 13, No. 3, 2023

History gets a makover


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Vol. 12, NO. 3, 2022 west hartford magazine

contents Vol. 13, NO. 3, 2023




















OUR TOWN Noah Webster House gets a makeover


DINING OUT Boqueria at Blue Back


WHAT TO WEAR Do you own a Shacket?


WHAT'S FOR DINNER? Beaujolais in your Cellar?

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FROM THE DESK OF THE PUBLISHER President Tom Hickey Publisher Digital Media Manager Hillary Sarrasin Contributing Writers & Columnists: Matt Banever, Chris Conway, Karla Dalley, Robert Laraia, Lisa Martin, Mike Savino, Judie Jacobson, Ronni Newton Bookkeeper Lisa Gangone Photography Todd Fairchild/Shutterbug CT

Happy Fall Our most exciting news is “meet or reintroduce” yourself to our new Publisher, Hillary Pasternak Sarrasin, who most recently has excelled and will continue as our Digital Marketing Specialist and Special Events Assistant. Actually, I couldn’t begin to list all the things she does it would just take up too much space. Hillary runs the show along with me. Don’t worry (or maybe you would think it was a good thing) I’m not going anywhere. As President I will continue to focus on the big picture for all platforms 20/20 Media is involved in. Hillary will also take over as the Publisher of the 93 year old JEWISH LEDGER (Southern New England Jewish Ledger including its name sake the CT JEWISH LEDGER). ON THE SCENE our NEW PODCAST already has several shows recorded and a presence on Spotify, Apple and SoundCloud. Pending publishing on other platforms … we will keep you posted. Please listen in and let us know what you think. CLICK here for a quick link 20media20.com. The DOG WALK AUCTION took place over the Summer and provided an additional $1,500 collectively to our

Videographer Nild Sansone

Non-Profits. THE BEAR FAIR kicked off in West Hartford Center and went to Westfarms for the Winter. This year THE DOGS traveled to Bloomfield after WeHa and Westfarms until the summer. Remember you can still donate to THE BEAR FAIR or THE DOG WALK 24/7/365. We do NOT turn off the links to donate so help our non-profits today. WEHA WHEELS, thanks to our initial sponsor, UDOLF PROPERTIES is trying for a “come back”. We will see if Business Sponsors are ready to support this important service (free and safe reservation based transportation) in West Hartford. We are getting ready for the Holidays next … can’t believe we are even saying that can you?

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

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Be Safe, Be Well, Tom & Hillary

ON THE COVER Noah Webster House. Courtesy Photo

PO Box 271835, West Hartford, CT 06127 office: 860.508.4032 tom@20media20.com West Hartford Magazine is published by 20/20 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. ©20/20 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.

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West Hartford Chamber of Commerce:

Launches the NEW WHChamber.com Website


by Christopher Conway

n a previous article, we discussed the West Hartford Chamber's ambitious rebranding journey, which has been gaining momentum over the past several months. The spring we witnessed the unveiling of a brand-new logo and vibrant color scheme, emblematic of a fresh era for this dynamic organization. What's more, the various committees under the Chamber's umbrella also embraced this transformation, adopting newly redesigned and branded logos of their own. The introduction of these eye-catching logos was just the initial phase of an overarching strategy. The Chamber has set its sights on becoming a comprehensive resource hub for local businesses and community members, making it a one-stop destination for information and resources. On Friday, September 15th, this vision culminated in the launch of the redesigned WHCHamber.com. Chris Conway, President & CEO of the Chamber, expressed his enthusiasm for the long-awaited website upgrade. He revealed, "Our new website was several months in the making. Working closely with our software provider, ChamberMaster, and by actively seeking input from our members, stakeholders, and strategic partners, we have created a platform that will serve as a valuable resource for people seeking answers to their questions, while also promoting our member businesses and nonprofit organizations." The revitalized website retains many core elements from its predecessor but presents them in a fresh, redesigned fashion. Key sections include the Directory, which encompasses a comprehensive listing of over 500 Chamber member businesses and nonprofit organizations. The Events Calendar continues to showcase chamber-run events alongside community events organized by Chamber members. Meanwhile, the About Us page has been updated to provide a detailed history of the West Hartford Chamber, along with information about the chamber staff, board of directors, and an insight into West Hartford itself. While these sections have received makeovers, most other pages on the website are entirely new. Kate Kobs, the Programs and Development Director for the West Hartford Chamber, expressed her excitement about the transformation: "We're very excited to reimagine our website as a resource for the community. Whether you're a business owner or a resident, a current or prospective Chamber member, you'll find useful information that's easily accessible." The Business Resources tab boasts an array of pages featuring links to numerous Chamber partners, including the Town of West Hartford Economic Development department, Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD), Small Business Administration (SBA), Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), Capital Workforce Partners (CWP), SCORE Greater Hartford, AdvanceCT, Women's Business Development Council (WBDC),



Vol. 13, No. 3, 2023 west hartford magazine

and Black Business Alliance. This interactive page serves as a gateway for businesses to connect with various resources that support their development, growth, and expansion. Within the Business Resources section, you'll also discover links to a multitude of curated blogs, each addressing common challenges that today's businesses face. Job Postings, another valuable chamber member benefit, can be found here. Additionally, there's the Hot Deals section, where chamber members can share exclusive discounts on goods and services with the community or fellow chamber members. The West Hartford Chamber operates through six dedicated committees, each focusing on specific aspects of the chamber's mission. These committees are FLOW (Future Leaders of West Hartford), Minority Business Network (MBN), Community Engagement, Economic Development, Membership, and Business Resource Committee. The website now features dedicated pages that spotlight committee chairs, the mission of each committee, and highlights of the programs and resources they create and facilitate. The Member Zone, a brand-new feature, provides links to a wealth of member resources, including a wide array of sponsorship and marketing opportunities, ways for members to get actively involved, and a comprehensive guide to membership benefits. There's also a page dedicated to guiding businesses through the process of requesting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for grand openings or other significant events. Another noteworthy addition is the FAQ page, which addresses the most commonly asked questions about the West Hartford Chamber, offering clarity and ease of access to vital information. It's important to recognize that your local Chamber plays a pivotal role in driving economic growth and community engagement, not only in the town but beyond. While the Chamber primarily operates as a membership-based organization, many of the tools and resources they provide are accessible to everyone in the community. The West Hartford Chamber has truly become a vital resource, enriching the lives of both businesses and residents. To explore the new website and take full advantage of the West Hartford Chamber's offerings, we encourage you to visit WHChamber.com today. Discover how this revamped online platform can empower you, your business, and your community. Embrace the future with the West Hartford Chamber and unlock new horizons of growth and opportunity. Christopher Conway President and CEO of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce 860.521.2300 - office 860.810.5663 - cell cconway@whchamber.com www.whchamber.com



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A Pennsylvania Wedding Brings Connecticut Friends Back Together


t was a reunion of sorts for a flock of alum from William Hall High School in West Hartford , who gathered together one glorious mid-summer’s day in a town called Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. Why would a high school class from Connecticut reunite in a place called Pennsylvania some 250 miles away? Simple. Because the Hall High reunion wasn’t so much a reunion as it was a wedding celebration. And the celebration took place in Pennsylvania because that’s where Ashleigh Albee and Garrett Logan Harbeck met, and where their relationship bloomed. A treasure trove of friends from West Hartford trouped in to witness the August 5 nuptials of Ashleigh, the daughter of Patti and Scott Albee, and a proud alum of Whiting Lane Elementary School, King Philip Middle School and Hall High School, and Logan Garrett Harbeck, the son of Garrett and Stacey Harbeck of Quakertown, Pennsylvania. The happy couple first set eyes on one another at Pennsylvania’s Millersville University where they were both education majors. Now, they both work in Pennsylvania: Ashleigh is a kindergarten teacher at Brownstown Elementary, while Logan teaches seventh grade English at Centerville Middle School. They currently reside in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, Along with good friends from West Hartford, the couple celebrated their union with friends and family from all across the country…as well as overseas. Ashleigh even invited her 18 kindergarten students to join her for the wedding ceremony!

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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. 12, No. 1, 2022 west hartford magazine

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History Gets A Makeover Noah Webster House is in the process of some modern updates


By Michael A. Savino

he Noah Webster House is in the process of undergoing some major changes, including a roof replacement and other renovations to the historic building. Those changes come at a time when the house, and any museum, is trying to find ways to bring in patrons despite growing competition for attention. “That’s obviously probably the biggest challenge we have,” said Peter Rydel, chairman of the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society. Rydel said the society has the right person to see the building and organization through all the challenges, though, with Jeffrey Mainville. Mainville took over in May after Jennifer DiCola Matos, who left to become administrator of the Raymond E. Baldwin Museum of Connecticut History. Mainville was most recently executive director of Ball & Socket Arts in Cheshire. He’s also held administrative positions with the New Britain Museum of Arts, Hartford Public Library and Mark Twain House. “For me, it’s very rewarding work,” Mainville said. “I’m thrilled that I’m able to be part of the team at some of these amazing institutions in the area.”

Seeking A New Generation

Growing up in East Hartford, Mainville initially thought he’d become a history teacher. He said some of his favorite book reports in school were on Benjamin Franklin and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. “From a young age, I was always fascinated with history,” Mainville said. He eventually found an interest in museums, though, earning a master's in history studies from Trinity College. Now, he hopes he can help the Noah Webster House find a new generation of patrons and the historical society grow its membership. He knows it won’t be easy, noting the internet has “had an earthshaking effect” on a lot of industries. That’s especially true for museums and other history-based institutions that are trying to stay relevant in 2023. Mainville noted most historical societies were formed decades ago when people were concerned about preserving history. Those organizations and the facilities they now manage typically have small staffs today. “We’re all, sort of, competing against each other for the same audiences and the same dollars, and then we’re competing against everybody else,” he said.

Jeffrey Mainville, Executive Director

Courtesy photos.

Mainville is confident the Noah Webster House can compete, and that’s what drew him to the job. For starters, Mainville said, “that maybe Noah Webster is the town’s most famous resident.” “He really had an outsized role in shaping the early years of the republic,” Mainville said. “He had a lot of opinions about how our government should be formed and, of course, he’s very famous for his work in education.” Webster was born in 1758 and is known as the “father of American scholarship and education.” His “A Grammatical Institute of the English Language,” also known as the Blue-Backed Speller, helped students all over the U.S. learn English. He published his first dictionary, now known as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, in 1806. Webster was also an influential voice among Federalists in the early days of the U.S. government after the Revolutionary War. Vol. 11, No. 3, 2022

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The Noah Webster House is a museum that preserves the home where he was born and raised.

Off The Couch

Mainville said Webster was “committed to American society in many ways,” and he said the museum does a great job showcasing Webster’s contributions and his life. “We have great bones here,” he said. “We’ve got a 300-year-



Vol. 12, NO. 3, 2022 west hartford magazine

old national historic landmark house.” The key, he added, is to be engaging. Mainville recalled a group of students who were “bouncing all over the place” during a visit shortly after he was hired. He said one of the teachers described the field trip as the best the students had experienced. “There are experiences here you can’t get online sitting on your couch,” he said. Mainville’s approach is to “double down” on the fact that patrons can see and touch items from Webster’s life and time. They can even eat stew and other foods cooked over a hearth. The museum also recently launched a monthly “Life on the Webster Farm” series. Of course, technology will still play a role. The Noah Webster House offers “tablet tours,” which allow patrons to view the house with guidance from a handheld device. Mainville said he’s also considering producing another round of Armchair Tours, a popular series DiCola started in 2020 to showcase West Hartford’s history while the museum was closed during the pandemic. Rydel said the historical society has an advantage because being more than just the Noah Webster House gives the group a “broader ability to reach out to the community.” The historical society also has its West Hartford Collection, artifacts telling the town’s history since the 18th century. The society holds its annual War of Words and its Hauntings tour of cemeteries, among other events. The group also hosted an ale festival in September. “That’s just one way to get ourselves out there and get ourselves known,” Rydel said.

Rydel is confident Mainville has the energy and the ideas to ensure the Noah Webster House continues to have success. He said Mainville’s priorities include growing the society’s membership, even challenging each board member to recruit 10 people.

Looking Forward

The society is also looking to evolve, including updating its presentation of history to provide a more accurate representation of race.

“It’s really something we want to be forward-facing with going forward forever,” Rydel said. All of this is happening while the Noah Webster House undergoes some major renovations, most notably a roof replacement. The historical society received a $415,000 grant last year from the state Bond Commission to pay for the project. Rydel said one of the things the historical society liked about Mainville was his experience working with contractors on projects in the past. “He has a lot of hats he can wear,” Rydel said.

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Financially Savvy at Six Figures Provided by Robert Laraia, RFC, Founding Partner Northstar Wealth Partners

enough liquid money to cover three to six months of expenses. This reserve may help you manage through a job loss or an injury or illness that requires time to heal.

eaching six figures is no easy feat. If you’re one of the hard-working few who have made it to this milestone, give yourself a pat on the back and celebrate. It can be tempting to feel like now that you've made it to the top of this mountain your financial worries are over. But before you go reaching for a bottle of champagne or calling a Ferrari dealer, consider this: the majority of Americans living paycheck to paycheck are from higher income households. In fact, out of 9 million Americans surveyed, 8 million of those are in higher income brackets.1 Now it's more important than ever to take an active role in managing your money. Don't equate earning six-figures with the ability to spend six-figures. Fortunately, there are several strategies that may help:

Don't Forget About Taxes


Steps to Take

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for maximizing your new six-figure income. Every person is different, and some suggestions may mean more to you than others. But there are tried-and-true methods that can help point you in the right direction when it comes to your financial health.

Review Your Budget

Now that you are making six figures, you may be tempted to never look at your budget again. Resist this temptation and go back over your budget to make sure your spending is based on your overall approach. Feel free to adjust your line items to match any new priorities without going overboard. Careful preparation may help you know how much you can consider spending on that splurge item that you found online. Your renewed budget should be designed to follow your other new goals, knowing that your day-to-day matters are on firm footing.2

Target Unproductive Debt

Not all debt is bad, as much of it helps you both financially and in terms of your quality of life. But certain types of debt, like credit cards and personal loans, may be something you want to manage better. Set a goal for your unproductive debt, which may put you in a better overall financial position. Each penny you save can go toward other goals, such as vacations, travel or even retirement.

Build Your Emergency Fund

Life is full of the unexpected. Prepare by setting aside



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Now that you’ve entered a new income bracket, your tax obligations may have changed. Take time to review your tax situation in an effort to avoid year-end surprises. This article is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice, so be sure to consult a tax, accounting, or human resource professional before modifying your taxwithholding strategy.

Don’t Forget Your Retirement Plans

If you haven’t started planning for retirement, your new income level may allow you to start setting aside money using a company-sponsored retirement plan. Initially, a financial professional may be able to provide guidance concerning the role a retirement plan can play in your overall financial strategy.

Move Forward Confidently

Restructuring your budget, managing debt, creating an emergency fund, and beginning to consider retirement may help ensure a more comfortable financial future. Even at a six-figure income, proactive preparations can help position you such that your money will eventually work for you.

Robert Laraia may be reached at 888-886-7737 or rlaraia@nstarwp.com www.nstarwp.com

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial a registered investment advisor, Member FINRA SIPC 1. Pymnts.com, January 2023 2. Forbes.com, March 29, 2022 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, LLC, 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 2023FMG Suite.

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Outdoor Living!

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Vol. 12, No. 3, 2022 west hartford magazine

A D I S C U S S I O N W I T H A L E X P R U D’H O M M E Alex Prud’homme is the grandnephew of Julia Child. Together with Julia Child, he collaborated on the book My Life in France (2006). The book became a number one New York Times best-seller, and inspired half of the movie Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child. Alex is now the author of DINNER WITH THE PRESIDENT, as he studies the tastes of twenty-six of America’s most influential presidents—what they ate, why they ate it, how their meals were prepared and by whom, what it tells about the state of the nation, and the ways in which their administrations’ food policies affected people around the world.

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Adventure in

G By Lisa Martin

oing to Africa in August was a great idea since it is the end of winter, the weather was cool and comfortable, and there were fewer leaves on the trees, making it easier to observe the Big 5 – lion, leopard, African Buffalo, Black Rhinoceros, and African Bush Elephant! I had the opportunity to travel with Exoticca, a value-based travel corporation. I wanted to see their properties, activities, and service firsthand. They have three categories of service, and I experienced the highest tier, the Luxury level. The trip started in Johannesburg, South Africa where we gathered at a Sandton hotel in the financial district. The first full day of our journey started off by bus through Mpumalanga where we stopped for lunch - a tasty trout-filled pancake in one of South Africa’s top fishing areas along the Panorama Route. Our focus for the day was to view the Three Rondavels and Blyde River Canyon, one of the world’s largest. The Canyon was 22


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beautiful – after a quick stop we made our way to our Luxury tented accommodations for the next few days. The lodge was lovely, the food was great, and I especially loved the bread puddings they served every night. In the morning, we drove 45 minutes to get to Kruger, and started our game drive. It took two days to see all of the Big 5. I should say Big 4.5; I feel fortunate to have seen a white rhino and its baby since in the whole park there are only 200 rhinos, and only 50 of those are black rhinos. The park is about the size of Delaware, and we focused on the “Southern Circle” while we learned about the park and animals from our guide Abrie who grew up in the area. I didn’t think it would be that much different to see the animals in their own habitat, but it was thrilling. One of the first animals we saw was a leopard climbing up a tree, fighting to keep his antelope from two hyenas. Back at the lodge, we enjoyed a Boma Dinner, an outside grill affair that is traditional in many parts of Africa. We celebrated with Amarula, the local liquor made from marula fruits, the only cream liquor that is not made with brandy or whiskey, since it is

made from the fermented fruit of the tree. It tasted very much like Baileys with a mild spicey taste. After our time near Kruger, we headed by bus to Johannesburg, but first drove through Pretoria, the capitol of the country. We then headed to the airport to fly to Cape Town. In Cape Town I stayed in a Luxury Apartment with a kitchen and large patio looking over the city and the sea. We saw the sights on a hop-on hop-off bus – everyone went where they wanted. I took the cable car up to Table Mountain, visited the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and drove around the ocean cliffs of the area, others visited the local winery. After a picturesque day, we continued and had dinner overlooking the beach and waves, and enjoyed fried phyllo wrapped goat cheese appetizers and local fish - delicious. We visited two Stellenbosch wineries and in the first, Fairview, I tried my first Pinotage. To me it was a slightly lighter

and fruitier Malbec, and I will be buying some soon as it is sold here in the US! We had a cheese pairing with their cheeses that were lovely. After, we drove to Lanzerac Winery where we had a lunch wine tasting with our choice of meals. I savored a charcuterie board with cheese, biltong, and duck pate. The last day of this adventure planned by Exoticca was a trip to see the Cape Peninsula. The highlights were passing through Noordhoek to see the local ostriches, visiting the Cape of Good Hope with its magnificent views, and to top it off, a visit to see the Penguin Colony. There is a boardwalk along the beach, and people quietly observe the penguins while the penguins sun themselves or swim. A very sweet ending to this trip. In my next article I will share my experiences in Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and the differences of a day safari at Chobe National Park in Botswana versus Kruger.

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Enjoy Autumn


By Karla A. Dalley

in the garden

very year, it seems that retailers—and by these, I mean the grocery stores, coffee shops, and even some plant sellers—try to get us into the autumn mood earlier and earlier. Halloween candy comes out in late July. Pumpkin Spice everything appears by mid-August. And mums and other fall flowers are on display right around then as well. If your garden is in need of a little refreshing (and after all the abundant rainfall, this year’s garden might be in need of at least a little brightening), perhaps the autumn palette of flowers is welcome. The bright yellows, cheerful oranges and rich russets and maroons are a lovely complement to the soon to be changing fall foliage. By simply changing out a few plants in your borders or containers, you can have colors appropriate to the season. Of course, if you like to decorate for fall—and the fall/Halloween decorating season has become almost as large as the December holiday one— garden centers are happy to oblige with everything you need: pumpkins, ornamental cabbages, kale, peppers, grasses, decorative corn and cornstalks. There are scarecrows in scary or whimsical varieties to accompany hay bales and cornstalks—and I have just touched on a few ideas. Check out the amazing things that are on offer now. Also consider doing some fall tasks that will bring benefits now—and perhaps in the spring and beyond! First, make the most of the cooler autumn weather by evaluating the garden. Are your plantings –trees, shrubs and perennials--looking their best or does something need to be replaced? As I am sure I have mentioned every single autumn that I have written this column, fall is the best time to plant! The soil is still warm enough for the plants to settle in. Since many of our garden centers have plants on sale, you can get plants at a discount. Enjoy shopping for those places where you need a bit of refreshing! Renew your containers and don’t be afraid to plant perennials and even small trees in containers. Just be sure that the containers you are using are frost hardy if you plan to leave them in place for the



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winter. (Also make sure that they are out of the way of your snow throwers or plows as well!) I have had arborvitae overwinter in containers for decades—even last winter when we got down below zero. But my containers are large, and frost proof, and I keep them watered when they are not frozen. Heuchera (coral bells in common terms) are great for autumn color that will last right into winter in outdoor, frost-proof containers as well. Heuchera’s palette of gold, maroon, purple and dusky green was made for this time of year. It will even transition nicely to next season’s decorating if you remember to tuck your greens into those containers before the soil freezes. As for maintenance, once your perennials have died back, you have two choices. You can leave them right in the garden until spring or you can cut them back. There are a few exceptions: first, you always want to cut back and discard diseased foliage and never let that overwinter. Next, don’t cut back the following until spring: evergreen or semi-evergreen foliage (like the aforementioned coral bells and plants like creeping phlox, and dianthus); perennials with woody stems like lavender, Russian sage, and butterfly bush; perennials with winter interest or seeds for the birds like sedum, coneflowers, ornamental grasses and hellebores. Make sure to water any newly planted plants until the ground freezes. They will need more water than your existing trees and shrubs. Once the ground freezes, you might want to mulch the new plants in so that they do not “heave” out of the ground during the freezing and thawing cycle. This doesn’t have to be done with bark mulch, although it can be. You can layer leaves or pine boughs around them as well. Finally, remember to make notes about what worked especially well this year, what didn’t work so well, and what you want to remember! Gardening is one of the best places to learn, and hope always springs eternal in the garden. But a “gardener’s wish list” or a simple list of “what I learned” at the end of every season can prove invaluable over time. Make these notes and keep them in your phone where you’ll have them next year at the garden center. Let’s enjoy all that our beautiful autumn has to offer. Enjoy the fall foliage, and make next year’s garden even better!

Join us for the APK 5K RUCK + RUN! You choose... In-Person: November 4th at 10am - 12pm at the Guilford Fairgrounds! OR

Virtual: From Saturday October 28th - Sunday November 5th run, walk and ruck with us, on your time, your pace, and in your location!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER! Proceeds from this year's event will be used to provide support for the APK Charities Direct Assistance Program. This program is designed to provide direct financial and other support services to service members and their families, who are in need of emergency or hardship assistance.

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Boqueria: elevated tapas bar

The Spanish restaurant is now open at 46 South Main Street in Blue Back Square By Ronni Newton


nspiring by the cuisine of Barcelona, Boqueria offers their own interpretation of classic tapas dishes, with menu highlights, according to the announcement, to include: “pan con tomate (iconic Catalan dish of grilled stirato bread rubbed with tomato, garlic and olive oil), pulpo a la plancha (grilled octopus with fennel, smoked pimentón and Picual olive oil mashed potatoes), and gambas al ajillo (plump shrimp cooked in chili-laced olive oil loaded with garlic and a shot of brandy for deep flavor and a hint of sweetness).” Of course paella will also be a cornerstone of the menu, and Boqueria’s signature paella de mariscos is described as “saffronlaced bomba rice, a generous topping of fresh seafood (including squid, head-on shrimp, clams mussels, and more), and salsa verde, with a perfect layer of socarrat – the savory, sticky grains of rice at the bottom to be scraped up with a spoon.” No Spanish meal is complete without churros, and Boqueria’s dessert menu features the cinnamon sugar sprinkled treats with rich hot chocolate dipping sauce, dulce de leche, or nutella. 26


Vol. 13, No. 2, 2023 west hartford magazine

A selection of signature and creative craft cocktails highlights the drink menu, along with sangria and a robust selection of Spanish wines by the glass and bottle. Chef Jonathan Navarro leads the kitchen, and Julian Garcia will serve as general manager. The menu will be updated seasonally, and will highlight fresh, seasonal ingredients. Boqueria founder and CEO Yann de Rochefort worked in partnership with Mancini Duffy Architecture on the design of the expansive interior and exterior space, which totals 6,900 square feet yet also affords smaller and more intimate nooks for guests. There are also private dining spaces, including a 38-seat event area and a 24-seat dining room separated by glass doors, and which can also be closed off with a motorized, textured curtain. The space, which most recently housed Greek restaurant Balos and prior to that was Besito, has been completely renovated. The entrance to the contemporary space features a marble bar, rounded wood elements, and black and metal accents. The floor is polished concrete, and the custom light lighting adds a “refined, contemporary twist to the industrial material palette.”

The open kitchen is framed by a backlit, fluted glass gantry. “We have been planning a location in Connecticut for years and found a great spot in Blue Back Square,” de Rochefort said in a statement. “We’ve been visiting West Hartford for the last year and have been impressed with the local culinary scene. It’s exciting to be a part of. We’re grateful to all our neighbors who have already made us feel like part of the local community.” Boqueria’s first location opened in 2006. in New York City, and with the opening of West Hartford there are 10 locations including four in New York City, two in Washington, DC, one in Nashville, one in Chicago, and a recently-opened location in Boston. Additional restaurants are planned for Philadelphia and Atlanta in 2024. Hours will be: Monday-Thursday: 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. (kitchen closes at 10 p.m.) Friday: 11:30 a.m.-midnight (bar menu available 11 p.m.-midnight) Saturday: 11 a.m.-midnight (bar menu available 11 p.m.-midnight) Sunday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Lunch will be served weekdays from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and weekend brunch will be served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The bar menu will be available for happy hour, weekdays from 3-6pm, as well as of late night Friday and Saturday from 11 p.m. until midnight Reservations will be accepted through Resy and OpenTable and seating will be available as of 5 p.m. on Oct. 16. Boqueria is located at 46 South Main Street, West Hartford, CT, and can be reached at 860-222-9922. For more information visit the website, or follow on Instagram @ boqueria.

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota.

Paella is one of the cornerstones of the menu at any Spanish restaurant.

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Fall Activities: What to Wear


By Matthew Banever our friends decide on doing some Fall activities this weekend, the weather is that signature crisp cool New England day, what to wear? The shacket, a cross between a shirt and a jacket, is the perfect layering piece for autumn. Typically made from a lightweight material like denim, flannel, or wool, it's not too bulky or hot, but still provides enough warmth for those crisp fall days and there's one to suit every taste. Here are a few of the reasons why a shacket is essential for autumn:

Versatility Shackets can be dressed up or down, making them ideal for a variety of

occasions. You can wear a shacket over a tank top and jeans for a casual look, or layer it over a sweater and dress pants for a more polished ensemble. Shackets are also great for travel, as they can be easily packed and worn for different activities.

Layering Shackets are the perfect layering piece for autumn. They can be worn

over a t-shirt or tank top on warmer days, or over a sweater or hoodie on colder days. This makes them a versatile piece that can be adapted to any weather condition.

Style Shackets are stylish and on-trend. They come in a variety of colors,

patterns, and styles, so there's one to suit every taste. You can find shackets in everything from classic denim to trendy plaid. Here are a few tips for styling a shacket in autumn: For a casual look: Pair your shacket with jeans, a t-shirt or tank top, and sneakers or boots. You can also add a scarf or hat to accessorize your outfit. For a more polished look: Pair your shacket with dress pants, a sweater, and heels or loafers. You can also add a statement necklace or earrings to complete your look. For a layered look: Wear your shacket over a t-shirt or tank top, and then layer over a sweater or hoodie. You can also add a scarf or hat to keep warm. No matter how you style it, a shacket is a must-have for autumn. It's a versatile, stylish, and layering piece that can be worn for a variety of occasions.



Vol. 12, NO. 2, 2022 west hartford magazine

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I Vol. 12, No. 1, 2022 west hartford magazine

Vol. 12, No. 3, 2022

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What’s for Dinner?


By Jacob Z. Studenroth

acob owns The Wise Old Dog in West Hartford and out in Litchfield County in the hamlet of East Morris. More recently, Jacob has consulted on the concept, menu, and wine list at the newly opened Le Mazet, Restaurant + Rôtisserie + Bar Amèricain located at 975 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford Center. What to eat? What to drink? What’s it like outside? What’s the forecast tonight? What’s my mood? Our ever-changing seasons in New England and seasons around the globe have us asking in our respective local markets, ultimately, what’s for dinner?! I seek comfort and comfort food…deep flavors and aromas that fill up the whole house. I do not, however, ordinarily have time for a proper braise or other lovely lockmyself-away-from-the-busy-world favorites. Roasting a chicken is my best bet whether for a dinner party or a Tuesday evening. My friends in France agree and so does their wine. My favorite fall red, and something that Allie and I diligently “stock” at our house this time of year is Beaujolais. Beaujolais, like countless wines from Continental Europe is named after its origin, in this case the region of Beaujolais in Southern Burgundy. By law the wine is 100% Gamay (one of the 30


Vol. 12, NO. 2, 2022 west hartford magazine

naturally lighter bodied grapes in the Noble Grape spectrum). This typically juicy red varietal can certainly reflect a vast range of house styles and winemaking traditions, but, nearly across the board, aromas and flavors will reveal bright red fruits, fresh herbs, raspberry seed, red currant, cranberry, and pomegranate. I particularly like to get in front of that dinner hour temperature transition when the warm late afternoon sun gives way to a crisp night: I’ll begin the chicken dinner with my Beaujolais lightly chilled and let it come up to room temp sitting casually on the table (that is, if we don’t finish the bottle immediately!). When shopping for Beaujolais, remember that like many things, there are a few rules that can help you navigate style and quality and price: • I often will turn the bottle over, first, to take a closer and important look at the back label. Beaujolais, particularly good ones, are the pride of an importer. Someone traveled over to France and tasted lots of bottles before settling in and concluding that the one in your hand in your favorite local shop on a given night was, indeed, the bottle he/she/they wanted to import to America. Favorite importers include: France + Western, Grand Cru Selections, Louis/Dressner, Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Skurnik Wines, and similarly situated boutique outfits.

Beaujolais, like countless wines from Continental Europe is named after its origin, in this case the region of Beaujolais in Southern Burgundy. • Next, I want a producer that a staff member is excited about. I like stories and stories support my understanding of quality and, ultimately, enhance my enjoyment. Recently, the topic came up three times in one day over two different tasting appointments that the importer was excited about the young winemaker’s careful work and organic farming. Ask after what specifically is going on at the farm where the wine is grown and made. No discussion of the farm? Don’t buy the wine! • Lastly, I’ll list a few Beaujolais that I’ve loved recently. Please note that some of them will carry, only, the name of the specific village within the Beaujolais region so don’t get confused! (For reference, those region names, from North to South are: St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly.) • Smith-Chapel ‘Lantignie’ Beaujolais Villages, 2021, $28. (newcomer + culinary) • Clos de la Roilette Fleurie, 2022, $24. (benchmark producer) • Georges Descombes Beaujolais, 2020, $25. (classic country wine) • Jean-Paul Brun "L'Ancien" Terres Dorées Beaujolais, 2021, $20. (delicate + juicy + delicious)

A Roasted Chicken

the basis of all things good and all good things: a roast chicken. enjoy the uniquely delicious flavors herein and then, use this easy and proven roasting method with your own dynamite traditions… NOTE: THIS CHICKEN IS BEST MARINATED AT LEAST 12, OR UP TO 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE OF COOKING


Finely CHOP two preserved lemons (peel only; discard the super-salty flesh) COMBINE softened butter, chopped preserved lemon, salt, and pepper. SET aside. REMOVE backbone from chicken by cutting along either edge of spine with kitchen shears. DISCARD backbone (or save for soup!) and FLIP chicken over so breast is facing up. APPLY firm pressure across breastbone to flatten chicken (it’ll *snap*). RUB fingers carefully between skin and breast meat, separating them to create a pocket for marinade. Separate skin from meat all the way down breast and thigh to drumstick. DIVIDE butter-lemon mixture into thirds. Use 2/3 beneath the skin of the chicken, pressing and smoothing lemon

mixture to ensure it reaches all parts of the meat, including the drumstick. Spread remaining 1/3 of the lemon mixture to coat the outside skin of the chicken. SPRINKLE the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. PLACE chicken breast side up, uncovered, in fridge for at least 12, or up to 24 hours.


REMOVE chicken from fridge. Temper for two hours. PREHEAT the oven to 500°. PLACE a cast iron pan on stovetop over medium heat. ADD duck fat when pan begins to smoke and SWIRL to coat the bottom of the pan. ADD the potatoes and TOSS to coat in the hot fat. SEASON the potatoes with Ras El Hanout (a spice blend you can find in the market) and TOSS to coat. REMOVE the pan from the heat when spices “bloom,” filling the kitchen with scent. ARRANGE the tempered, marinated chicken over the top of the potatoes, laying it flat. PLACE the pan with chicken and potatoes into 500° oven. COOK for 10 minutes per pound, beginning to check for doneness in the breast 10 minutes before total estimated cook time. (For a 4lb roaster, anticipate 40 minutes of cook time, check at 30 minutes; if chicken begins to brown too quickly, loosely cover with foil.) REMOVE pan from oven when thermometer reads 154° at breast. REMOVE chicken immediately to rest on cutting board, uncovered. TOSS potatoes in accumulated juices and return to oven while chicken rests 15 minutes. CARVE the chicken, taking care to preserve the skin and RETURN pieces to hot pan over the potatoes. SERVE with simple mixed greens salad.




“On the Scene” Podcast! Listen to Greater West Hartford’s first

BUSINESS TO BUSINESS PODCAST, “On the Scene” made possible by NBT Bank! Click here to listen! On the Scene is hosted by local people of interest and guests include leaders of industry who have incredible stories to share. Video and Photography by Nild Sansone and Todd Fairchild. presents... “On the Scene” Podcast! 32


Vol. 13, No. 3, 2023 west hartford magazine

Guess who is back in town??

2020 Media has brought back

WeHa Wheels!

Contact Tom for sponsorship details. Owners, managers and developers of commercial, residential and retail properties in central Connecticut for over 50 years. We specialize in all sizes of office space and offer a wide range of living options including luxury apartments and townhouses.

Special Thanks to

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for being our first sponsor... join us! 4

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Thank you for making the WeHa Dog Walk a Barking Success!

YOU helped to raise thousands of dollars for our non-profit beneficiaries: APK Charities, The Bridge/Children’s Charity Ball, West Hartford Art League, Shelters by Jesus, MacCallum Family Fund for Animal Welfare, West Hartford Community Interactive, Anja Rosenberg Kosher Food Pantry, Ron Foley Foundation, Hartford Healthcare Therapy Dog Program, Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation & the West Hartford Dog Park Coalition

Thank you to our incredibly talented local artists!

Samuel Ferri, Linda Bilodeau, Michelle Hawran, Emma Huntungton, Kelly Kelly, Joanna Cistulli, Brian Wziontko, Christine MacClintic, Sarah May, Amy Cassaza & Shane Hickey

Thank you to our generous sponsors!



Vol. 12, No. 3, 2022 west hartford magazine

will pick up 68, 69,70 and 71 (71 came out today august 10 better if i can grab 72 73 at the end



Transition from fall to winter with Virtual Styling on Facebook Live EVERY Wednesday 7pm! BBarbara & Karen have been styling fabulous women on Facebook Live every Wednesday at 7pm for over a year. Grab your favorite BFF, glass of wine and settle in... it’s fun! THE BK & CO. DIFFERENCE From clothing and accessory consultation to perfect selection, BK & Co. helps define your own extraordinary style. Developing intimate, personal relationships with their “client-friends” is what motivates them to understand and cater to your needs thoroughly and meticulously. Their stylists are dedicated to helping women (and men shopping for women) find beautiful clothing that fits and flatters. They ensure that you look as fabulous as you feel, so you are always your very best!

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Vol. 13, No. 3, 2023

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Be on the lookout for our new column...


New England

Our first featured destination in New England Weekends (NEW!) will be

The Innstead Mountain Getaway

in Pike, New Hampshire. The Innstead Mountain Getaway sits atop 2,000 pristine acres at the western boundary of the White Mountain National Forest. The Innstead provides an authentic experience for guests who seek the comforts of an inn with a genuine connection to this rustic natural landscape. You will fall in love with the luxurious, modern all-season cabins and the extensive trail network. The Innstead hosts Bill and Siobhan are passionate adventurers, travelers, foodies, and all-around life enthusiasts who delight in showing people a good time. 36


Vol. 13, No. 3, 2023 west hartford magazine

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DOT #23845 DOT #C47 ICC #127052 Vol. 13, No. 3, 2023

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Thank you to all of our nk you to all of our sponsors who support us Thank you to all of our Thank you to all of our Thank you to all of our sors who support us ank you to all ofto our Thank you all of our sponsors who support us throughout the year sponsors who support us sponsors who support us oughout the year nsors who support us sponsors who support throughout the year us

throughout the year throughout the year roughout the yearthe year throughout Our business supporters

Our business supporters business supporters Our business supporters OurOur business supporters Our business supporters Our business supporters Todd Fairchild Todd Fairchild ShutterBug ShutterBug Photography Photography Todd Fairchild ShutterBug Photography Todd Fairchild

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Vol. 13, No. 3, 2023

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