We on the Shoreline don’t need to reminded how fortunate we are to live in an area where, within a short stroll or quick drive, there’s a body of sparkling water stretching out to the horizon. Sea-salt air is healing, they say, and at a time when the larger world is seemingly off its axis, that’s no small thing.
Simply put, we’re blessed — not just with the proximity of water, but with lovely beaches, granite quarries, and the well-manicured greens of our historic towns, as well as a veritable wealth of places to eat, shop and relax.
Sure, the big box stores may lurk on the outskirts of our quaint downtowns, enticing us with their ease and convenience, and the Internet ever beckons, with the promise of a shiny new something in tomorrow’s mail.
And yet the robust number of ballots — over 5,000 (!) in some 100 categories — shows once again your steadfast support of the little guys on Main Street who serve you your morning coffee or an otherworldly slice of pizza after work, style your hair, lead your afternoon workout in yoga or Pilates or boot camp, and dispense friendly advice on a home repair project or why a begonia is wilting.
And not just steadfast support. In some cases, your outright passion for your favorite businesses and services, broke past the Shoreline and Essex, Deep River and Chester into places as far-flung as Meriden. (We love this.)
This year, the 17th annual Best Of Readers’ Poll, we once again conducted our polling exclusively online. It produced both landslide winners as well as — dramatically — a record number of upsets.
In that regard no doubt our editor Susan Braden said it best.
“The ‘Best Of’ poll gives our readers a chance to show their love for their favorite businesses,” she said, adding that, for the first time, we’re expanding the winner’s circle to celebrate the top three in each category. “It’s also a great way for us to hear from our readers about what we might have been missing.”
It’s her hope that this issue will inspire you to take that drive up or down Route 1 to the next town or even two towns over. “You might just find a hidden gem.”
Let us know next year if you do.