The day was bright and sunny with a light breeze and temperatures approaching 50 degrees. There was no doubt that spring was in the air, and we all felt it. Our 79 passengers were on board early, so we got about a ten minute head-start; itineraries were passed out and everybody seemed excited. Our rest stop was at McDonald’s just above the circle in Greenfield at the junction of route 2 and Interstate 91. The extra ten minutes came in handy as it took a bit of time to service all of us for a quick breakfast.
We piled back onto the coach headed for Kringle Candle Company in Bernardston, MA, a place that had been on my wish list for some time. Upon arrival we discovered that a small gift of an air freshener and a 20% off coupon was given to each guest – and everybody vowed that the coupon would come in handy on this special shopping day. Not many places give us such discounts.
Kringle Candle Company was established in October 2011 with a 10,000 square-foot candle marketplace that not only showcases candles of all types in over 100 different scents, but doubles as a home show with gorgeous accessories for every room in the home. Across the street is their Country Barn with nearly 20,000 square feet of holiday charm on three levels including one of the most delightful old-fashioned toy shops ever. In this space, there is a splendid Christmas shop on the lower level, and you’ll find clothing, jewelry, a tea emporium, foodstuffs, olive oils, cookbooks, and much, much more. Everybody had a wonderful time shopping here.
Just next door is the Chocolate Cottage filled with cocoa-themed goodies from more than a dozen nations; the cottage has three rooms jammed to the rafters with edible merchandise. Most of us satisfied a sweet tooth or two and came back to the coach laden with candies and chocolate. Finally, there is the Farm Table Restaurant, an acclaimed eatery offering lunch daily and dinners from Wednesdays to Sundays. Unfortunately, the Farm Table Restaurant couldn’t hold a private group of our size, so after a few hours of shopping, we headed for the Greenfield Country Club for lunch.
I had selected Terrazza’s, a charming multi-dining room facility at the Greenfield Country Club. Physically, this restaurant is really beautiful with spacious light-filled dining rooms. Most of the spaces have cathedral ceilings with formally draped large windows overlooking the golf course. We were assigned to the ballroom which was set with ten round tables for eight. Spacing was good, so everybody had plenty of room to walk around. A full bar could be found in the next room. Our buffet was set up quickly and everybody had their fill of traditional Italian specialties. I particularly liked the ziti with meat sauce and green beans almandine. A huge antipasto was a work of art – quite beautifully presented. Food was good; and service was exceptional.
Our final stop was about 20 minutes away – the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in South Deerfield, MA. This spectacular greenhouse facility is the Lepidoptera source in Western Massachusetts. The facility features an 8,000 square-foot conservatory which is home to nearly 4,000 exotic and domestic butterflies in a tropical environment. Guides stepped on our coach and gave us a brief introduction to Magic Wings which focuses on butterfly-related education, recreation, entertainment, and gardening needs.
After about 10 minutes, our hands were stamped and we were set free in the conservatory area. The spacious rooms are filled with flowering plants, vines, and trees - and butterflies can be seen everywhere. The place is a mini eco-system and even has canaries, and other exotic birds flying free within the greenhouses. We were able to see over 50 different varieties of butterflies in colors as varied as the rainbow. And, if you stand very still, it’s exciting to watch them land on you and become the ultimate fashion accessory.
This trip is a great example of how much there is to do and see within a short distance from home. Our start time was 7:45 am; we spent the entire day enjoying ourselves; and we were still home early enough to drive home in daylight. I think our passengers will long remember this wonderful trip.