I’ve been obsessed with Yankee Candles for a long time. Anyone who knows me would probably say I have the most sensitive nose they have seen. It’s true: I need my environment to smell good. So whether it’s fall (Macintosh or Spiced Pumpkin), the holiday season (Christmas Cookies or Home for the Holidays), or summer (Blueberry or Lush Berries), I always have a Yankee Candle burning in my home (and yes, I have the car jar fresheners for my car- French Vanilla is my favorite).
I made a brief stop at the Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, Massachusetts years ago (I had a shortage of Macintosh and fall was approaching, if I remember correctly) but could not stay to explore the village. So, it went on my travel list, and this past week my family had the opportunity to visit.
The Massachusetts Yankee Candle Village (there is also a location in Williamsburg, Virginia) is located thirty minutes north of Springfield. The campus opened in 1982 with a 5,000 square foot building; now there’s over 90,000 square feet of fun to explore. The village welcomed over 500,000 visitors from over 50 countries in 2017, and many of them made a visit during the popular fall foliage and holiday season time.
Traveling with Kids:
Yankee Candle Village is one of the most welcoming places we have ever visited with our children. The first impression I witnessed was the response a staff member gave someone who had grabbed a candle jar from the topper (candle connoisseurs such as myself know this is a big no-no) and watched the candle immediately fall to the ground and shatter: “that’s okay- we can make more.” There was no scolding, no reprimanding, no reimbursement necessary. Every staff member who greeted or helped us, was upbeat, cheerful, and welcoming. I never felt concerned about being scolded for allowing my children to roam around the village.
- Strollers are allowed and there is handicap accessibility at each entrance to the Village.
- There are three banks of restrooms located near the Home Store, Candlemaking Museum, and Baravarian Village.
- Start at the main entrance with the Country Kitchen General Store and then travel to the Bavarian Village and follow the path through the Village. You can pick up a map at the main entrance.
- We were gifted the Golden Key, which allowed us complimentary candle making, wax hand molding, candy jars, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Each morning, a different employee is chosen to give the Golden Key to a family they believe is deserving. You can’t ask for it, you have to be selected, but keep a look out.
Why Children Will Love Yankee Candle Village:
The Bavarian Village (inspired by the original Yankee Candle owner's travels to Germany) will transport you to another world. The cobblestone floor, waterfalls, decorated trees, collection of nutcrackers, and dozen miniature shops filled with every ornament imaginable make for a breathtaking reaction. Watch for "snow” that falls every four minutes, and determine whether the fish that swim in the river are real.
Santa’s Workshop is probably what every child dreams of when he or she pictures a workshop run by Santa. There are toys for every age, and be sure to look up and check out the hanging packages that travel throughout the room. There’s also a clock with a countdown to Christmas Day. The best part: Santa is there almost day the Village is open. You can spend time checking in with him, and on the day we visited, he showed my children how to make a miniature pipe cleaner “arctic hare” (aka bunny).
The Candy Shop is another dream come true for kids. Dozen of candies, ready to be poured into medium sized candle jars. As with every spot in the Village, super helpful and patient staff are there to assist in filling the jars. ($12 fee per jar)
Wax Works is the spot to (literally) to roll up your sleeves and create your own keepsakes: you can make your own candle, dip your hand in wax and create a mold, or color a wax figurine, letter, or object. It takes about 20 minutes to make a candle or hand mold, so make sure you leave enough time. There are eight different scents for the candle and you can mix and match as much as you like. ($8-12 fee per wax mold and $12 fee per candle)
Why Candle Lovers Will Love Yankee Candle Village:
- The Candle Emporium displays over 300 scents in varying sizes for sale. Do keep an eye on children here, as many of the displays of tiered candles are within the reach of little hands.
- Personalized Candles take less than five minutes to create: snap a photo with your phone; airdrop it to the staff member; zoom, crop, and add text to the photo; hit print and stick it on the scented candle of your choice. ($28 fee for each large size candle)
- The Home Store is fill with every item produced by the Yankee Candle company, as well as other beautiful housewares and outdoor decor.
- The Candlemaking Museum offers 20 minute demonstrations three times a day (11:3,1:30, and 3:30pm) and displays early candle making tools.
Why Non-Candle Lovers Will Love Yankee Candle Village:
The Outdoor Courtyard is filled with dozens of picnic tables and lawn games (check out the corn hole sets- yes, shaped like candles- and giant tic tac toe and other board games). It is beautifully landscaped, with 15,000 bulbs planted each fall. The courtyard is the spot for weekend concerts and many other seasonal, family friendly events. You can catch Santa Claus flying in on a helicopter, the Easter Bunny arriving via firetruck, and horse drawn carriage rides and pumpkin painting in the fall. Be sure to check out the brick laden paths- every employee who celebrates a ten year anniversary with the company gets his or her name and anniversary date carved in a brick.
Man Town is a whole room dedicated to the world of sports and beer. There’s plenty of Red Sox and Patriots home and bar goods, apparel, and memorabilia. I did also spy a few New York themed items for the visitors from New York. There’s even a couple of bar tables and stools and a tv broadcasting the latest game.
The treats spread throughout the village: There’s a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop (about 20 flavors available), a fudge shop (about a dozen varieties) and a Popcornopolis (about 8 varieties of popcorn) all in a row. There is a large area with tables and chairs to snack and relax while you listen to the sounds of the “Candle Mountain Boys” in the The Market Theater. If you want a healthier option, or more substantial meal, check out the Au Bon Pain (located in a separate building directly behind the Candlemaking Museum portion of the village).
The Bavarian Village: Everyone will be mesmerized by the falling snow, the waterfalls, the storefronts, and the seemingly endless collection of ornaments.