“I don’t like shopping. I don’t like candles. I really don’t like shopping for candles.” So proclaimed my grumpy husband upon exiting the Yankee Candle flagship store. I was on a “retail therapy” high, so I didn’t let it bother me.
Where we went, and who was coerced into going:
Earlier this month, we drove up to the world’s largest candle store to see the world’s largest candle. And, naturally, to part with some of our money. Matt needed the most coercion, especially since he would miss the Giants game, and would have to watch it later on the DVR.
WHY did you go there, exactly?
While in the Berkshires for a reunion, I picked up some travel brochures. The heavens parted, and a ray of sunlight shone down on the one for Yankee Candle. Though misty with joyful tears, my eyes focused on the words “world’s largest candle store,” and “world’s largest candle.” 90,000 square feet! 400,000 candles! 200 different scents!
We went an hour out of our way. I feared it wouldn’t deliver. I shouldn’t have. It was shopping paradise. I could have spent four or five hours there, easy. With this particular group of companions, my limit was two hours.
Okay, what was so cool about it?
Depends on who you ask. Matt enjoyed…his coffee from Mrs. Claus’ Bakery & Cafe. And the chance to sit for a minute while watching the animatronic Kringle Market Theatre band.
I appreciate the art of merchandise display, and this place knocks it out of the park. There are twelve departments within this store, and within each of these are smaller themed sections (e.g. “Glitter Gallery,” “Holly House,” “Balsam Boutique,” etc.)
My favorite department, Yankee Candle Home, included sections for home accents, jewelry, boutique clothing, and kitchen. I also loved the theatrical displays in the Bavarian Christmas Village and the adjoining Castle Courtyard, which has a waterfall running along two walls.
Next door, in the Black Forest of decorated Christmas trees, a miniature train runs on tracks hanging from the ceiling, while artificial snow falls from above every four minutes. Naturally, a crowd-pleasing effect!
The kids were smiling through the Yankee Candy section and the adjoining Toy department. I found fun stocking stuffers in both areas – The Girl is gonna LOVE the Hello Kitty hot chocolate mix! “Santa” was able to shop discreetly while she played on the big boat playspace.
The Toy section is designed like Santa’s workshop, with gift boxes circling the ceiling’s perimeter on tracks, and a desk where kids can write their letters to him. Of course, Mr. Kringle was in the house, but The Girl wouldn’t go anywhere near him. Neither of our kids have ever warmed to faux Santas.
The other kid-friendly and “hands-on” attractions are in the expansive Candle Emporium.
There are stations where you can (pay extra to) dip your candles, create your own jar candles with a selection of scents, or make a wax mold of your hand which is made into a candle. There’s also a wall display where you can test your “perscentality.”
It also in this section where you will find, standing in a rather undignified corner, the world’s largest candle! King Candle was created more than 20 years ago for this store. The candle is just about six feet tall, and the wick is taller still. It was made from 1,377 lbs of wax, so if it were lit, it would provide 7½ continuous years of candlelight!
While the prices within the majority of the store are full-on retail, there is a “Salescenter” worth seeking out near the cafe, which offers imperfect merchandise (missing lids, etc.) at reduced prices.
Make advance reservations to eat at Chandler’s, the on-site restaurant. We walked in on a busy day, and the wait was 45 minutes, so we found a Subway a half-mile away. Chandler’s has an award-winning children’s menu, with 15 selections just for kids.
How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):
Of course, I loved it like an 11, and the kids enjoyed it, too. But this score averages in the opinion of a typical husband. One who is still grousing about his experience there, several weeks later.
Hey you! Go BIG!:
25 Greenfield Road
South Deerfield, MA 01373