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West Hartford Center: Dressed for the Holidays

Windows of West Hartford Center businesses are festively decorated for the holiday season. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Deb Cohen of The Front Door Project takes a stroll through the festively-decorated West Hartford Center.

Windows of West Hartford Center businesses are festively decorated for the holiday season. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Windows of West Hartford Center businesses are festively decorated for the holiday season. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

By Deb Cohen

“City sidewalk, busy sidewalks

Dressed in holiday style.

In the air there’s

A feeling of Christmas.”

Christmas in Connecticut felt like anything but this year. Yards are springtime muddy instead of frozen and crunchy and the temperatures make wearing those new winter boots, sweaters and scarves next to impossible.

Sledding? Ice skating? Horse drawn open sleigh? No way! Think toasting marshmallows over the fire pit in short sleeves, shooting hoops in the driveway and opening the windows while roasting the turkey.

Smoking jacket, anyone? Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Smoking jacket, anyone? Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Oversized wreaths with lights and ornaments area a common but beautiful sight. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Oversized wreaths with lights and ornaments area a common but beautiful sight. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

A constant refrain was “It just doesn’t feel like Christmas!” and some struggled to get into that elusive “Christmas spirit.” However, living here in West Hartford, one sure way to get that feeling of Christmas was to stroll through West Hartford Center at night and take in the holiday storefronts.

It’s not New York City to be sure, but the lights, greenery and decorations on display bring a festive feel to the downtown area and remind me of the lyrics from that holiday standard, “Silver Bells.”

The filigreed windows give an open and welcoming feel to A'Vert. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The filigreed windows give an open and welcoming feel to A’Vert. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

New England wintertime prep style. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

New England wintertime prep style. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

I’m grateful for those restaurants and merchants that continue to decorate for the holidays every year. It feels a bit old-fashioned, in a very good way.

The restaurants in particular are decked out with lush wreaths, trees and other types of greenery twinkling with lights. The patrons and warm glow from inside entice you to join them.

The local Irish pub draws the younger crowd in droves. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The local Irish pub draws the younger crowd in droves. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

That may or may not be my husband and two pups in front of Bricco. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

That may or may not be my husband and two pups in front of Bricco. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Although parking issues and high rents are consistent hot topics relative to West Hartford Center, as a 20-year West Hartford resident I still feel fortunate to live within walking distance of a bustling town center.

Coffee shops, the movies, a bookstore, a hardware store, countless restaurants, the post office, Town Hall, the library … the list goes on. We are lucky to live so close to a spot that residents from elsewhere visit and are envious of.

Glistening lights and greenery at Arugula. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Glistening lights and greenery at Arugula. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The BK&Co. storefront is a personal favorite. Picture perfect! Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The BK&Co. storefront is a personal favorite. Picture perfect! Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Simple pleasures like looking at the lights, the pine smell of a fresh-cut tree and choosing a new ornament to add to my growing collection are just a few things that helped me to feel “Christmas-y” this year.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day passed quickly as they always do, with my favorite times being those unexpected things that just seem to happen. Pick-up sticks was the game of the day, and a Christmas coloring book contest entertained young and old alike.

A row of Christmas trees welcomes guests to Grant's. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

A row of Christmas trees welcomes guests to Grant’s. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The light shines from within at LCR. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

The light shines from within at LCR. Photo credit: Deb Cohen

Despite the unseasonable weather this holiday season, the businesses in West Hartford Center “dressed in holiday style” for all of us to enjoy, snow or no.

Which window is your favorite? Do you have a different holiday spot, in Connecticut or beyond, that you love to stroll? Please comment below!

Enjoy this post? You might also like Winter Walk in West Hartford or Afternoon Date in Hartford’s West End.

Deb Cohen of West Hartford started The Front Door Project in the summer of 2014 as a way to motivate herself to get outside, exercise and pay more attention to her surroundings. She began photographing homes with a primary focus on the front door, which is a welcoming focal point. Social media provided the means to share the photographs and a ready audience to follow along, and her new-found interest soon led to exploring other local area towns in my free time. The “project” has led to deeper interests in architecture, local history and historic preservation and came at a time in Deb’s life when she needed some inspiration. Please join Deb as she continues to share her everyday travels and explorations of other towns and places! You can find her other posts at www.thefrontdoorproject.com.

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2 Comments

    • Hi Peter! This wasn’t supposed to be a news story. It’s a first-person piece about strolling through the Center during the holidays and absorbing the holiday spirit of the decorations. There are certainly more windows and storefronts that have decorations, but Deb took photos of the ones that she particularly liked.

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