West Hartford is just about half-way between Boston and New York and it splits its character from it's larger "neighbors."  It has a cosmopolitan feel in terms of educated locals but plenty of New England charm and history as well. 

Historically, West Hartford is most noted as the home of Noah Webster, of dictionary fame.  There's a large statue of Noah Webster outside the public library and the Noah Webster House is maintained and open to the public (227 South Main Street, which also houses the West Hartford Historical Society).  Many other homes date back to colonial times, particularly those in the historically wealthy areas closer to the state capital, Hartford.  You'll want to know where you're going, though, as not all neighborhoods in Hartford are as safe as others.  On a more whimsical note, the Dr Pepper guy ("I'm a Pepper, She's a Pepper ... Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too!?") is also from West Hartford.

Area residents are more likely to visit West Hartford for either the Westfarms Mall (typical mall, albeit skewing a bit high end including Nordstroms, Gap, Crate & Barrel, etc.) or the boom of restaurants particularly in West Hartford Center.  Great for a night out and all withingn walking distance in a classic, sidewalk window shopping New England town center feel.

For visitors, West Hartford has a children's science center, lots of parks (pools, playgrounds, fields, etc.) and golf.  There are several major parks (Fernridge is closest to the center of town).  At least Buena Vista ( 56 Buena Vista Rd, West Hartford, 06107 - (860) 521-7359) and Rockledge Golf Course on South Main Street ((860) 521-6284) are open to the public.

Nearby towns include Farmington and Avon.  Of course, West Hartford is also convenient to Hartford where there is plenty of history and culture to explore.