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Whether you are an art lover, antique collector, outdoor enthusiast, night animal, or picky foodie, Central Massachusetts tops the destination list with energy and diversity. Take a road trip to find one-of-a-kind art, craft, and vintage gems in Central MA.
Starting from Worcester, the first stop is Worcester Wares, an independent art/craft store that sells everything about, designed, and made in Worcester.
The idea of this store originated from an “I ❤ Worcester” pin the founder of Worcester Wares, Jessica Walsh, once bought. Since then, questions about that pin started to flood in: “Where did you buy this?” and “Can I get one too?” Not until then did she realize the inspiration of her art creation actually comes from people’s affection for Worcester. So she started to make her own “Everything Worcester” crafts to express, satiate and pass on Worcester love. Her creations have since made their way to all corners of the world. In this store, you’ll understand sometimes it’s the simplest item that conveys the most. Stop by this inspiration of love and find the piece of art your heart belongs to.
Worcester Wares, photo source: worcesterwares.com
Within walking distance of Worcester Wares, you’ll reach the next stop, Crompton Collective, a boutique marketplace located in the historic canal district of Worcester.
As the creative hub for 92 talented artists, it’s also home to the lovers of vintage treasures, unique handcrafts, artist-picked antiques, mod furniture and distinctive home decor. Here you can find the Haberdash vintage truck – an upcycled 1950s camper showcasing a surprising collection of vintage clothing. Maybe you’ll get to speak with Haberdash vintage owner and designer, Amy Lynn Chase, to learn about her art philosophy and vacation tips in Worcester. Another “quirky” gift shop you would never want to miss in Crompton Collective is Seed to Stem, whose owners are talented interpreters of beauty and art from nature.
Haberdash Vintage, photo source: facebook.com/HaberdashVintage
After a short trip, you’ll arrive at a family-owned-and-run shop, Grafton Country Store, located in the idyllic Grafton Common historic district.
The store presents a fine collection of gifts in a cozy shopping setting (with the smell of coffee and home-made baked goods wafting in the background). The Dauphinais family is devoted to providing the best shopping experience and keeping the history of this country store alive. Since the construction of this building in 1806, it has always sustained the needs of both the local community and travelers stopping by.
Grafton Country Store, photo source: graftoncountrystore.net
After enjoying the idyllic beauty of the New England colonial district in Grafton, head south to Vaillancourt Chalkware in Sutton.
This family-owned chalkware store founded in 1984 specializes in the production and decoration of Christmas and other holiday chalk figures. Every piece of work shows their passion for history, Christmas, antiques and art. Aside from the delicate chalkwares, the store and its founders, Gary and Judi, also have a story about history and tradition to share.
Vaillancourt Folk Art, photo source: valfa.com
Heading to the west, you’ll knock on the door of a furniture & gift shop hidden in an old hay barn in west Brookfield, The Purple Onion.
Totally relaxed and immersed in this country store, you’ll gain a taste of traditional homemade crafts and decor from the farm. The store owners, Elaine and George, love the “creative and colorful side of country.” They continue to amaze people with new finds and customized crafts. Discover more about the store and West Brookfield from Elaine when you visit the store.
The Purple Onion, photo source: facebook.com/thepurpleoniongifts
Missing that city vibe? Let’s head back to Worcester for our final stop at The Fire Works Pottery Studio.
Enclosed in a large, brick, historic factory building, the studio would be hard to notice without the small sign hanging outside. After 10 years’ collective efforts, the from-scratch pottery studio is now a creative space for both artisans and pottery lovers to discuss, create and discover handmade ceramics. Attending a ceramic 101 session or exchanging insights with pottery artists is a unique finishing touch to this awe-inspiring road trip.
Fireworks Pottery Studio, photo source: thefireworksinc.net/TFWwordpress