More than just a seasonal “Scenter of the Universe,” the Yankee Candle Village in western Massachusetts is full of year-round delights.
By Yankee Magazine
Mar 20 2020
Welcome to Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, Massachusetts!Photo Credit : Katherine Keenan
If you’re looking for a great place to celebrate the fall season (and gear up for the holidays, too), it’s hard to beat the famed Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. From wandering through the festive Bavarian Village to learning how candles were made throughout history — and even trying your hand at making one of your own — an aromatic world of fun awaits at this family-friendly destination, aptly nicknamed the “Scenter of the Universe.”
Do you know the history of Yankee Candle? It all started back in 1969, when 16-year-old Mike Kittredge in South Hadley, Massachusetts, realized he didn’t have the money to buy his mother a Christmas present. In an impressive display of Yankee ingenuity, he melted common household wax and a red crayon into an empty milk carton before adding some string for a wick.
A neighbor saw Mike’s project before he could give it to his mother, and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Mike sold the candle and used the profits to buy supplies to make two more (one for his mother and an extra to sell). After what was probably a lovely holiday, Kittredge opened up a shop out of his father’s garage. His products gained local popularity and his company blossomed.
In 1983 the company moved its headquarters to South Deerfield and opened what would become the Yankee Candle Village. Today, it’s exactly what its name suggests: a village. Between the Candle Emporium, General Store, Gift Boutique, Kitchen/Garden Shop, Bavarian Village, and Toy Shop, there’s plenty of browsing to be done here.
The New England Market offers confections for all kinds of cravings. Guests can browse the work of local artisans or relax by indoor fountains while enjoying performances by the animatronic Candle Mountain Boys. In the sprawling candle room lies Wax Works, where visitors can design and dip their own unique candles; the Candle Making Museum, meanwhile, tells how this craft evolved over the years.
Farther inside this sprawling complex lies the Bavarian Village, a year-round celebration of Christmas with the flavor of 14th-century Germany. The charming buildings and twinkling lights are enough to put anyone in the spirit, no matter the season. There’s an expansive collection of ornaments, as well as just about any other Christmas gift or decoration a shopper could want. Don’t miss the chance to step into a fairy tale at the Nutcracker Castle, where thrones await would-be royals (or tourists with cameras), and be sure to visit Father Christmas himself at Santa’s Workshop. When it’s time to meander away from the village, double-check that you brought your sweater — the Black Forest has a forecast of snow every four minutes!
No New England destination attraction would be complete without good grub. In the marketplace, for instance, you can load up on fresh gourmet popcorn at Popcornopolis, ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s, or pizza, wraps, salads, and soups at Hillside Pizza Café.
Still not convinced you should check out the Yankee Candle Village? We’re betting the dizzying selection of housewares, baking supplies, jewelry, and gifts will be the deciding factor.
The headline offering is, of course, the thousands of candles in all shapes and sizes, available in 200-plus aromas crafted by “scent engineers.”
All in all, the Yankee Candle Village is a perfect place to celebrate New England, get a head start on holiday shopping, and even do some shopping for yourself.
Have you ever visited the Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, Massachusetts?
This post was first published in 2015 with text and photos by Bethany Bourgault. It was updated in 2019 by Katherine Keenan.