A few days ago I listed some of the best places in the country to view the fall foliage. Naturally, Massachusetts was one of them. This time of year the popular northeastern state becomes a magnet for leaf peepers, pro-football fans, and… candle lovers.
Even if you don’t live anywhere near Massachusetts, I’m sure you are familiar with the Yankee Candle Company. They have locations in malls throughout the nation along with a website that ships products anywhere in the world. This time of year the company’s flagship store in Deerfield, Massachusetts is bustling with holiday shoppers. And it’s no wonder, considering the selection at the store is unparalleled. But more importantly because this particular location undergoes a transformation that makes it a travel destination even for people who have no interest in filling their homes with scented flickering lights.
It’s not everyday that you can get snowed on indoors. However, that’s exactly what tourists experience at the Yankee Candle flagship store. Christmas in September? Not quite… more like Christmas shopping in September. To get patrons in the mood for the chilly months ahead the store drops “snow” on customers who stroll through the building’s simulated darkened German forest.
From the fake snow to the very real electric train that comes barreling down the tracks near the store’s entrance, Yankee Candle execs pull out all the stops to lure potential buyers into a world where candles are a way of life. The flagship store features 12 rooms, each with its own theme. For example, once you make your way out of the fake forest, you can head over to the Bavarian Village, a room modeled after the market square of Rodenburg. From there you can stroll over to the King Arthur-esque courtyard, where you navigate over the waterfall-fed moat by crossing a faux drawbridge. Keep walking and you’re in Santa’s workshop (complete with Mr. Claus in all his red and white glory). Next, it’s off to a room that looks like a German woodland and another that has been transformed into a New England country store. That’s where you will find a massive 25-foot Christmas covered with twinkling lights. Each room is also well stocked with ornaments, toys, and of course, candles.
Not surprisingly, the candles are impossible to escape. Anyone who has walked past a Yankee Candle store in their local mall knows that you can smell the products long before you lay eyes on them. From tea lights to votives, jar candles to candle cans and every waxy creation in between.
And the smells… well, how do you describe a 90,000-square-foot area that boasts scents from home-baked cookies and cupcakes to cedar, spiced pumpkin, farmhouse apples and Sicilian oranges? More than 1.5 million visitors travel to the store located about 100 miles west of Boston and try to wrap their collective senses around the experience. Most say it’s hard to comprehend how the company is able to get a candle to give off the scent of suntan lotion, even after watching one of the shop’s many candle-making demonstrations and touring the building’s candle museum. Others simply don’t care how it’s done just as long as the fake snow keeps falling (it does so every four minutes) and they can leave with bags of “Canary Island Banana” and “Indonesian Ginger” scented candles.