D & D Market: Shop Smart

If you’re looking for an exceptional Italian deli in Hartford, this place fits the bill. Vito D’Aprile opened D & D Market all the way back in 1932. Through three generations of family, the market has continued to accomplish that task to the present day.

The butcher shop here is one of the best in town, with skilled carvers using impeccable knife skills – no automatic machines. House-made sausages are a specialty here, robust and overflowing with flavor. Their selection of Italian cheeses is also out of this world. If you don’t feel like cooking, the deli makes delightful sandwiches. The sausage and peppers might be the best in Hartford, and the thinly-sliced prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil grinder is also well-regarded.

D & D Market
276 Franklin Avenue
Hartford, CT 06114
(860) 296-3261
www.danddmarket.com
www.yelp.com/biz/d-and-d-market-hartford

Stop and Smell the Roses at Elizabeth Park in Hartford

Elizabeth Park is a historical West Hartford gem with over 100 impressive acres of stunning gardens, wide open green space, serene walking paths, and a variety of recreational facilities.

From tennis courts and softball fields, to basketball and lawn bowling, you’ll find everything you need for a great day outdoors. Take a stroll over the stone bridges over the Laurel Pond, or enjoy a picnic or a fabulous brunch outside at the famous Pond House café. Visit the beautiful Perennial or Tulip Garden, escape the heat in the shade garden, or take a walk through the Overlook, East Lawn, and the Horticultural Garden. Don’t miss the central Rose Garden, which has been the focal point of Elizabeth Park for over 100 years.

There are no admission fees, so Elizabeth Park is the perfect place for your next family outing or special date. Visit the website to learn more about all that Elizabeth Park has to offer the West Hartford community.

Elizabeth Park
1561 Asylum Ave
West Hartford, CT 06117
(860) 231-9443
www.elizabethparkct.org/index.html

Spiritus Wine Store: A Hartford Wine Shop

The world of wine is more diverse than ever before, with excellent vintages coming not just from Europe but California, South America and even Australia. If you want an exceptional guide to the best bottles in town, head down to Spiritus on Asylum Street. This awesome Hartford wine store has a serious selection of bottles sourced from all over, and they’re happy to educate new wine aficonados. There are some incredible values on offer here as well, so don’t feel like you have to drain your bank account to get a good bottle. If you’re looking for something specific that they don’t have in stock, they’ll be happy to order it for you. Their customer service is absolutely spectacular, with one of the most organized inventory systems ever seen in a wine store. They also carry a selection of hard ciders and other spirits.

Spiritus Wine Store
220 Asylum Street
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 247-5431
www.wineaccess.com/store/spiritus/index.html
www.yelp.com/biz/spiritus-wines-hartford

Modern Pastry: Hartford Treats

The mark of a truly great bakery is consistency, and Hartford locals have nothing but good things to say about Modern Pastry. This full-service baking shop puts their best into everything that comes out of the oven, from simple cookies to over-the-top wedding cakes. Everything is made from scratch to a rigorous standard of quality, and you might become a fan after just one visit.

The cannolis here have perfectly crisp pastry shells filled with creamy filling. The almond cookies are said to be well worth trying. Other popular choices include the cakes, which are dense, flavorful and truly tasty. Try the red velvet cake, which is a popular choice among regular visitors. Modern Pastry also serves a variety of frozen desserts, with locals raving about the chocolate ice.

Visit Modern Pastry's website to learn more about this Hartford bakery!

Modern Pastry
422 Franklin Avenue
Hartford, CT 06114
(860) 296-3647
www.modernpastryshop.com/
www.yelp.com/biz/modern-pastry-hartford

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art: One of the Oldest U.S. Museums of Its Kind

Self-described as the oldest continuously operated public art museum in the entire country, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art has been open since 1842 (though it didn't go public until 1844). Founded by art lover Daniel Wadsworth, it was one of the first museums that boasted a wide array of different works. Salvador Dali, Caravaggio, and Frederic Church all debuted at this museum before their works showed up anywhere else in the U.S.

Over the years, the collection at Wadsworth Atheneum has grown to encompass a whopping 50,000 pieces from 5,000 years' worth of art. Check out the Baroque and Surrealist paintings or the ancient Greek and Roman works. Spend ample time scouring the Hudson River School landscapes, as many Yelp reviewers say that this collection is their favorite. From a collection of American colonial furniture from Wallace Nutting to African American masterpieces, you can see just about anything at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
600 Main St.
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 278-2670
thewadsworth.org
www.yelp.com/biz/wadsworth-atheneum-museum-of-art-hartford

Keney Park: 684 Acres to Explore in Hartford

Keney Park doesn't technically belong all to Hartford. Of its 694 acres, only 584 of them are located within Hartford's boundaries—the other 110 overflow into neighboring Windsor. But that doesn't keep Hartford locals from flocking to the park in droves. After all, it's the biggest park in the entire city, so you can almost feel like you've actually escaped the bustling metropolis.

There's plenty to do within park limits, too. Play a round of golf on the in-park course or check out the tennis courts or cricket fields. Bring your little ones to splash around at the spray pools or go for a dip in one of two large public pools. You can also take a jog along the fitness trail and do some strength exercises along your running route, let kids run around at the Playscape, or play a round of tennis with friends at one of eight tennis courts. The park also boasts a nature trail and a pond house.

Keney Park
471 Tower Avenue
Hartford, CT 06112
(860) 757-4940
hartford.gov/parks/202-keney-park
www.yelp.com/biz/keney-park-hartford

Modern Pastry: Classic Treats in Hartford, Connecticut

The sign might say “Modern Pastry,” but many of the products within are classics. This Hartford bakery has become a popular local spot where visitors can find baked treats ranging from every day treats like cannoli to chic specialty cakes perfect for special occasions.

Visit and you'll discover treats like Modern Pastry's Vanilla Pyramid (a sponge cake with vanilla cream filling and toasted almonds), Italiam Rum Cake, tiramisu, and cheesecake, along with an array of cookies and cakes. The shop offers coffee, too, so you can enjoy whatever you order with a cappuccino or another espresso drink. Modern Pastry also offers full decorated cakes like Black Forest and Lemon Mousse Cake. The shop can also create custom wedding cakes, and was praised on a 2013 "best of" list by wedding website The Knot.

Want to learn more about this Hartford bakery? Visit Modern Pastry's website!

Modern Pastry
422 Franklin Avenue
Hartford, CT 06114
(860) 296-3647
www.modernpastryshop.com/
www.yelp.com/biz/modern-pastry-hartford

Visit the Mark Twain House and Museum

It’s hard to think of an author more inextricably American than Mark Twain. Born Samuel Clemens, Twain wrought tales of rural life in the growing United States, including classics like Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Twain’s life was just as interesting as his work, and a great way to learn more about him is a visit to Hartford’s Mark Twain House and Museum. Opened in 2008, the museum is located in the house Mark Twain called home from 1874 to 1891 and has been restored to match the period Twain occupied it. The house has many interesting features throughout, and the tour guides here are extremely knowledgeable and are full of interesting facts and trivia about Twain’s life and work. Interestingly enough, author Harriet Beecher Stowe lived next door and you can take a tour of her home as well.

Visit the museum’s website to find out about special exhibits, its collection of artifacts, and links to additional information on the author’s life and work.

Mark Twain House and Museum
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT 06105
(860) 247-0998
www.marktwainhouse.org
www.yelp.com/biz/mark-twain-house-and-museum-hartford

The Bushnell: Live Entertainment in Hartford

The Bushnell is one of Connecticut’s best performing arts center, offering everything from musicals and operas to holiday shows and arts-in-education events. Dress in your Sunday best (the Bushnell recommends business casual) and head over to this top-notch theater for a diverse selection of live entertainment options.

On stage here you'll see performances by artists like songwriter Jason Mraz, comedian John Hodgman, celebrity chef Alton Brown, and violinist Itzhak Perlman. Theater enthusiasts can look forward to touring productions. Kids are welcome at the Bushnell, which offers children’s productions all year round. For a bite to eat before or after the show, stop by the Bushnell Cafe, which offers light fare ranging from a turkey BLT to a Tuscan salad.

Check The Bushnell's online schedule for this season’s calendar and ticket prices.

The Bushnell
166 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 987-6000
www.bushnell.org
www.yelp.com/biz/the-bushnell-hartford

Enjoy Live Performances or Peace and Quiet at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza

Mortensen Riverfront Plaza first opened to Hartford residents in 1999, and in the short time since, it's completely changed the landscape of downtown Hartford—both literally and metaphorically. The beautifully arranged and maintained park overlooks downtown and serves as the focal point of the entire Riverfront Park System.

Mortensen Riverfront Plaza has also refreshed the cultural landscape of the city thanks to the stage that sits right at the river's edge. It acts as a venue for live performances throughout the year and welcomes up to 2,500 audience members at a time. Nearby, the docks play host to the annual Dragon Boat Festival, a Hartford tradition, as well as boats that take the public out on tours of Hartford.

Of course, you can bypass the performances and festivals and simply go for a run around Mortensen Riverfront Plaza as well. It's home to lighted trails and many pieces of public art to see along the way. Residents also come to the park to go fishing.

Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
300 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford, CT 06103
http://www.riverfront.org/parks/mortensen-riverfront-plaza
http://www.yelp.com/biz/mortensen-riverfront-plaza-hartford

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