West Hartford was named one of the country’s best cities for raising a family and one of the best cities of the decade. See all it offers with the family and explore this small Connecticut town, five miles west of Hartford.
Stay in the relatively new DELAMAR West Hartford, a luxury hotel situated adjacent to the popular Blue Black Square, a development with plenteous boutique shopping, restaurants, bars and a movie theater. The small property, with more than 100 guestrooms and suites, all built to LEED Gold standards, boasts elegant accommodations and world-class service.
Families should opt for a corner suite or executive suite, or adjacent terrace king guestrooms. Terrace king guestrooms are all located on the hotel’s second floor and feature spacious terraces overlooking the lawn and garden; they’re outfitted with outdoor furnishings, perfect for extended families with space to socialize in a more private setting. Corner and executive suites likewise offer social spaces in the form of ample living areas. Both options come with expansive bathrooms.
Appealing guest amenities include Bvlgari toiletries, complimentary valet parking and use of the house car within a five-mile radius, complimentary breakfast, WiFi and twice daily housekeeping.
An on-site spa offers a variety of treatments in a small, intimate atmosphere. On-site dining is provided by Artisan, a restaurant, tavern and garden with an upscale menu reflecting the local culinary heritage and ingredients found throughout New England.
Families will definitely want to check out The Children’s Museum. Founded in 1927, this museum is the oldest and largest for kids in Connecticut, and fifth-oldest children’s museum in the country. The museum provides hands-on science and nature-related activities for all ages and also encompasses a planetarium, nature center and wildlife sanctuary. One of the historic must-see exhibits in the museum? Conny, a life-sized replica of the Connecticut state animal, the sperm whale.
Another educational stop to add to your itinerary is the nearby Mark Twain House & Museum, home to Samuel Clemens, 1874–1891.The American High Gothic home offers guided tours, including living history tours. The experience is spread out across three buildings, including a museum center and carriage house.
If you visit West Hartford on a day with agreeable weather, visit the Elizabeth Park Conservancy. The park sits on more than 100 acres and is on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the park’s most famous spots is its rose garden, the oldest municipal rose garden in the United States, with approximately 15,000 rose bushes and 800 rose varieties.
If your family travel brings you to the greater New York City region, opt for a taste of nostalgia (or the grown-ups and fun and imagination for the kids at American Dream’s Nickelodeon Universe. Since I don’t have children, I recruited my best friend and her 6-year-old twins, Declan and Delaney, to help me check out the Nickelodeon-themed theme park and all the ways it brings to life favorite characters from cartoons both past and present, like Rugrats!, which I watched as a child, and Spongebob Square Pants, which is more Declan’s speed.
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