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Welcome to West Hartford...and the 17th edition of The West Hartford Book.

As noted before, we used to think of each of our directories as being a bit like a fine wine — our efforts improving with age. But we recently decided that like all of our books, The West Hartford Book has become more like a favorite recipe that we tweak year after year to keep it as fresh, flavorful, and fulfilling as possible. And toward that end, our regular contributors continue to provide an exceptional quality of work. In fact, despite our increasingly impersonal world of texting, Facebooking, tweeting, Wikileaking, Instagramming, Snapchatting, globalization, mega-mergers, stock market bounces, hyper-tech, and chain ownership, we remain staunchly the opposite: A trusted, homegrown resource filled with useful local information and produced entirely by local people gifted at what they do.

The brilliant photography of Hartford’s Lanny Nagler never ceases to amaze as he catches incomparable detail, nuances of character, and subtle humor in every shot. And Artist Bill Dougal’s wonderful illustrations give places and scenes a touch of levity with a soft, sensitive stroke.

Our nuggets — those easy-to-digest snippets about local life and local businesses scattered here and there in small boxes — are written by Judy Henderson, whose ability to inform while amusing is unique. And Designer Annie Lane weaves it all together with such a creative eye that each edition is crisp, inviting, impeccably balanced, and easily accessible.

Behind the scenes, the publisher himself strives to promote each local advertiser’s business while enriching every reader’s experience by handling sales and promotional opportunities personally. And our administrative staff — all consummate professionals — keep everything moving, organized, and accurate.

Above all, while we are steadfast in our determination to deliver the big picture, we continue to embrace the small one, as well — making certain to include all of the special things that make people proud to call West Hartford home. That dual vision is what makes The West Hartford Book a “keeper.” You know, the kind of book you set aside for whenever you need to find something locally or for whenever you just want to see what’s going on in and around town while enjoying a cup of tea or a glass of wine. And while you can always find us when you need us in your bookcase or on your coffee table, you can also catch our digital edition on your smart phone at thewesthartfordbook.com.

And don’t forget that The West Hartford Book has siblings: The Valley Book, including all of the Farmington Valley towns; The Glastonbury Book, focusing on Glastonbury but including regional information, as well; and The Shoreline Book, which features Branford, Guilford, Madison, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, and Essex. All three are mailed free of charge to residents and businesses, realtors, hotels and tourism centers in those towns. And they, too, can be found online 24/7.

So, again — welcome! And our thanks for 17 years of interest and support. While we’re proud of every edition we’ve produced, we are especially pleased with this one. We hope that you agree and enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed creating it.