The hubby and I had a wonderful time this weekend. We went on the Country Roads Christmas Tour for the second year in a row. Last year was our first time and we had so much fun we had the dates for this year marked on the calendar months in advance. 17 stores took part this year.
The idea is to go to each of the 17 stores, visit, relax, maybe do a little shopping, and get a card stamped at each place. Each store has some kind of little treats and drinks set out to welcome visitors and they’re all decked out in their holiday finery.
This year we had snow in the morning and it snowed most of the day. It was colder than last year as well, although Sunday it warmed up nicely and most of the snow was gone by late afternoon. I liked the snow though. It really added to the ambiance of the entire event.
I decided to take pictures of the places we went to share out trip. Unfortunately I only have pictures of the first day, in which we hit 12 shops. The last 5 I have no photos for due to technical difficulties. ((Ok, if you need to go there.. it was due to operator error. Happy? lol ))
I may not get these in the right order, but it doesn’t matter. 🙂
We started out at Red Apple Farm. We love going here and its a favorite stop on many of the bus tours during the holidays and leaf-peeping tours. They do their own baking, cider making, and fudge making. All of which are terrible for your waistline but SOOO good in your belly. We just had to start there and get some homemade cider donuts to fortify us for our days adventure. —>
Down to Earth Nursery is a fun place to go. First thing you notice is how good it smells. It’s a small store, but packed with lovely items made with all kinds of pine trees, berries and various greenery. <—
Whiting Farm is adorable. It’s a small cabin with all the personality of a large house. Inside its packed to the loft with rustic and primitive items. They have a great selection of the “grunge” candles, also known as grubbies. They look much better than they sound and yet the name suits them perfectly. lol. It was warm and cozy and you can’t help but feel welcome. —>
King Phillip Restaurant is a staple in the area. They run a lot of specials during the year and there are always cars in the lot. We haven’t eaten there yet, but I’ve heard all good things about the food. Its on our “todo” list still. 🙂 <—
Krafter’s Krossing is one of those lovely surprises you find when you’re just out riding around on a nice day. That’s how we found it and we loved the discovery. The shop is entrancing. There isn’t a spare bit of space that doesn’t have something adorable, beautiful or vintage sitting on it, hanging from it, or propped against other wonderful items. Its also much larger than it looks from the outside. From vintage jewelry to handcrafted furniture, from retro kitchen gadgets to primitive crafts, they have it all. If you go there, be prepared to spend some time finding all the little wonders tucked in every corner. —>
<– Nouveaux Riches is one of the coolest little shops you’ll go into. The store is filled with truly vintage items of every kind. From kitchen gadgets you’ll remember from your grandmother or mother’s kitchen, to wedding gowns and clothing from years gone by, to advertising and brand art. There are even items for the newer at heart folks looking for odd little gadgets and doodads from not so long ago. If the main floor doesn’t keep you busy enough looking around, they have even more downstairs. This store is definitely worth finding. If you’re like me, you’ll find all the “antiques” from my mom that I use every day in my kitchen today. lol.
Country Folk Gift Shop has beautiful folk art items. The store is part of Templeton Furniture, a family run furniture store. The furniture is gorgeous and the store has a welcoming feeling. Go through the main showroom and you’ll be in the gift shop. They have really nice handmade rustic furniture that I wanted to just load in my van, set up in front of my woodstove and sit and knit in. —>
<— Heather Croft Quilt Shack is a treasure trove of all things material. The store is packed full with bolts of material in any color and pattern you can think of. They also carry wools of all sorts. The main store is where all the materials and supplies and cutting happens and they also have another small gift shop of already completed items. Ever want to learn to make rag rugs or braided rugs? They give lessons! Need small pieces of material for your quilts? They have tons of them! I also was lucky enough to get the last of one of their treats and it was soooo good I asked if there was a recipe for it. The owner found some paper and proceeded to write it down for me. I was thrilled. I’ll be posting that recipe on the site shortly. I know you’ll all love it. The hubby and I sure did.
Country Mischief. Ok, I’m going to tell you right now. Make this a day trip! There are two locations. One is also a restaurant which I’ve been wanting to try since forever. ( We’ve tried twice but they were closed. Note to everyone…always call ahead to be sure they’re open! lol. Still, it IS on our todo list. We’ve heard nothing but good things about the food. BUT…that said…the real reason to visit is to look around. The building with the restaurant has 18 (I believe this is the correct count) rooms packed to the gills with every kind of antiques, quirky item, doodad and handcrafted items that you could possible ever want. I’m not exaggerating either. If you love to rummage around rooms of goodies, this is the place for you. After you wander around, go have lunch and then head down the road a short ways and you find….wait for it….location number 2! This building, the one shown in the picture, doesn’t share its space with a restaurant and if you thought the 18 rooms of the other building had a lot to look at, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I totally recommend this place as a day trip all its own, including lunch. You’re sure to find something you can’t imagine how you lived without. —>
Whatever you do, save room in your stomach for the visit to The Kitchen Garden. This is a Scandinavian bakery in the heart of New England. As soon as you enter your nose will want to run away from your face and just live in this bakery. Unless you are allergic to almonds, you WILL want to try their Scandinavian Almond Cake. It’s incredible. Truly. The store also has all kinds of fun items to look through including, be still my heart, knitting books! Yes, I love knitting and scandinavian knitting is really beautiful. Just don’t leave without some treats. And if you are really lucky, look for a fella who looks like he might be up to mischief and ask him to do a magic trick for you. 🙂 <—
If you want a lot of pop from a little space, head on over to Country Antiques. Primitives and handmade items live in perfect harmony with the country decorations. Lights were twinkling all around us and you are always made to feel welcome. An elf, in full elfish regalia, had a smile for everyone and added a touch of whimsy to a fun visit. This was our last stop on Saturday and the temperature was dropping fast, making the roads start to be slippery, but it was a great place to end the days travels. Bolstered by a cup of thick and rich eggnog, and lots of ideas on what I could do in my own house, we headed home. This little shop is a real gem in a small package. —>
Now, unfortunately this is where my photos leave off, but I’m not going to leave out the rest of our tour because of that. So I hope they will forgive me for being a photo noob. 🙂
There are two alpaca farms on the tour. First one we hit was Colonial Hill Alpaca Farm and B&B. This is a fun place to visit. The animals are usually out where you can see them and one look at their adorable faces will make you wish you had a couple yourself. The shop is a knitter/crocheter’s dream shop. They have yarns in the natural colors of the animal they came from as well as hand dyed yarn that will get your creative juices flowing just looking at them. And if you want premade items, there are absolutely gorgeous hats, gloves, socks, jackets, shawls and purses galore. They also have alpaca finger puppets which it has become a little tradition for us to get whenever we go there. We couldn’t let our visit go by without adding to my little collection.
The second farm is Popple Camp Alpacas. They don’t have a shop per se, but they do a lot of the local fairs and craft shows. They have beautiful yarns and gloves, hats and socks that will keep you roasty. toasty warm in the coldest weather. Their herd of pretties are also there to be seen at the farm itself. Whats also fun is that when you buy the yarn or knitted/crocheted item, the owner can tell you the name of the alpaca the fur came from just from the colors. I think that’s pretty cool.
Hartman’s Herb Farm and B&B is a delight to the senses when you enter the shop. Herbs hang in bunches from the wooden beams overhead, mortar and pestles stand ready to make custom mixes and bags of fresh herbs wait to be bought and taken to your own kitchen. It’s fun and fascinating to see all the herbs there are and how they look when they were on the plant and also after harvesting. If you’re looking for something special or greater amounts you can call and talk to the owner about getting what you need. And all this started from a small pot of herbs that were found on the property and started in a little pot. Good lesson for us all there, eh?
White Picket Studio was new to the tour this year. This husband and wife artistic team has opened a small gallery of their paintings. I wanted to bring home half the store. The wife works mostly in watercolor while her husband does mostly acrylics. The shop is located on their farm and their horses watch you drive up the driveway. The paintings are truly gorgeous. Most are of life on a farm and the country life. Her husband does quite a few of old pickup trucks half taken over by the flora and fauna and I loved looking at those. The paintings of the horses, though, are truly wonderful. It’s not just a picture of a horse, they capture the moment and heart of the horses as well. They may be new to the tour, but if you’re looking for local artwork for your country home, you will want to see these before looking anywhere else.
Down the street from Popple Alpaca Farm is Petersham Leathers. You enter the workshop of the business and all around you are pattern pieces, old sewing machines and the smell of leather. If you’re like me, the smell of leather is a welcoming aroma. We also like going there because not only do they have treats and cider and eggnog, but they have warming “additives” for them. <wink wink> I also had my first taste of Tabouleh there today and I liked it! I’ll be looking for that next shopping trip. 🙂 Through a door is the showroom of finished items. It smells even better in there and you have to almost forcibly keep yourself from running your hands over the soft, supple leather purses, bags, belts, wallets, etc. The leathers are lovely colors and the items beautifully crafted. The owner, Sylvia, also does custom leather work. Before you go looking for that something special and unique in a big store, go here and talk to the owner and buy something custom made for that special someone.
A tour of this area is not complete without a stop at Smith’s Country Cheese, Inc. This is another favorite stop for the bus tours that come through the region. There are all kinds of samples to try and if you’re a cheese lover like the hubby and I, you won’t be able to leave without buying your favorites. This year they had homemade macaroni and cheese made with their sharp cheddar and smoked gouda cheeses. Let me tell you….it was awesome! We came home with smoked gouda, cheddar and the recipe for that mac and cheese. lol. They also have a full gift shop of fun and unique items. I got a small statue from there last December and wanted to go back and get another but never got around to it. I went back this year and they had more by that artist! I got another one and those two are going to be featured on my next blog banner. 😉 Your kids will also love this store and a lot of the toys and knick knacks for kids are a throwback to when they really made toys to last. From primitives, to “educational” toys, to collectibles and all kinds of kitchen gadgets, this store has it all.
I know this post was long, but I just had to let you know what we did all weekend. The sweetie and I had a wonderful time together. It’s a fun and relaxed event that does more to put us in the spirit of Christmas than all the flashy ads and commercials could ever do. We smiled all weekend, snuggled at night and talked about the places we saw and the things we ate during the day. These are the things that you really remember. The things you do with those you love, when everyone just has a good time.
For more information on this event, go to http://countryroadschristmas.com/ . Plan to make this a part of your Christmas season next year. I highly recommend it.