Our wedding anniversary made its annual appearance a few weeks ago. When we were married in 1972, May seemed like an ideal season on the cusp of spring and summer with great weather and beautiful flowers.
It turns out that later in life May is packed with concerts, school events, and a flurry of activity in the yard and around the house. An anniversary celebration can be pushed aside by all these competing interests.
This year our daughter was conducting her select Beaux Strings middle school orchestra on our big day – a must see event for parents of students and parents of teachers alike. Not wanting to choose, it was clear that combining the two events would make sense. One plus one equals three, if you know what I mean.
Even though it’s only an hour away, we decided to stay the night in West Hartford where we could attend the performance and have an anniversary getaway. The posh Delamar Hotel was ideal, sufficiently special to make the whole experience an occasion.
The Delamar is more than just a place to crash overnight. The eager staff at the entrance snatched the bags from our car and escorted us into the high ceilinged lobby. The impressively large space was beautifully done up in plush upholstered furniture and original art. The scale of it was such that the striking Crystal Edition Blüthner grand piano in the corner almost went unnoticed.
The hotel has a special relationship with the New Britain Museum of American Art that includes original works from the collection on display in the hotel. In addition, there is the hotel’s own art collection. The striking sculpture (or was it a bench) in front of reception made of gleaming quarters welded together in a curving free-form shape was just one eye-catching example.
Our five star room on the fifth floor was miles away from the roadside motels we’ve been known to frequent when visiting the grandchildren. Done up in muted tones of gray and tan, it was much more like a luxurious room in a private home than a hotel accommodation. Complete with elegant robes done up with the hotel logo, it’s the kind of room where they fill the ice bucket, anticipating your arrival. No schlepping down the hall here.
Our room included a small balcony where we enjoyed a pre-ordered platter of cheese and charcuterie while taking in the view over the treetops of West Hartford. The delicious appetizer fortified us for the school concert at seven – organized more around family schedules than time for a nice dinner out. Below us was the hotel’s inviting restaurant dining garden, emptied by the passing showers blowing across the gray sky.
The Delamar has courtesy Tesla to squire guests around town. Sadly, it was not available to drive us to the performance.
The concert, of course, was a triumph for students and teacher alike. The packed house of parents, grandparents, and siblings applauded the players for their hard won musical expertise.
The Delamar sits on the edge of Blue Back Square, an enclave of shops and restaurants covering a few blocks of West Hartford. In 1783 Noah Webster, West Hartford’s most enduring favorite son, published the first American “speller,” a dictionary of sorts known for its blue binding. It’s the namesake of the square. His legacy lives on both at the house museum in town and in the name of the square.
In search of the second half of our dinner, we strolled into the square and found Vinted, an inviting wine bar with an appealing menu. Pork belly tacos were great with a glass of highly recommended Cesca Vicent Priorat from Spain. Marsha opted for a bowl of fresh carrot and parsnip soup with a glass of Chalk Hill Sonoma chardonnay. At Vinted they use the Napa Technology wine dispensing system that keeps open bottles under argon gas to prevent spoilage. The system allows them to keep sixty-eight unique wines available by the glass.
We had hoped to visit New Britain the next day, rounding our our overnight with a visit the famous Museum of American Art taking advantage of the Delamar’s special relationship with the museum. Time pressure and the inevitable to-do list pushed that aside.
The Georgia O’Keefe exhibit is over, but the outstanding permanent collection of American art is a draw. With examples from the colonial era through nineteenth century landscapes and on to American impressionism and beyond, there’s lots to see. Next time for sure!