After a morning in Boston, head out to the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Let your day begin at Yankee Candle Flagship Store, located off I-91 in South Deerfield. The store has over two million visitors a year, and offers more than 200 scents to choose from. Tour the Candlemaking Museum, let the kids make jar candles and wax sculptures of their hands in the Wax Works section, wander through the enchanting Bavarian Christmas Village and Nutcracker Castle, and peruse the goodies in Mrs. Claus’ Bakery and Café, Popcornopolis or Yankee Candy. Top off your shopping with a delicious lunch at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Flagship, awarded “New England’s Most Fulfilling Dining Experience” by The New York Post.
Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens, located just down the road from Yankee Candle, is a year-round tropical paradise. Home to 4,000 free-flying exotic butterflies that flit about the 8,000 square foot indoor conservatory, Magic Wings also features a charming gift shop and the playfully-themed Monarchs Restaurant.
A quick ride southward brings visitors to downtown Northampton, a college town revered for its artsy sensibilities, charming architecture and pedestrian-friendly streets. Stroll Main Street to explore used book stores, gift shops and small cafes that offer innovative and delicious fare.
Drive south to Springfield. Upon arrival, visit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Hall features countless exhibits, memorabilia and interactive areas. Become a sportscaster in the media wing, shoot hoops on the full-size regulation basketball court or play one-on-one in virtual basketball.
Just a few blocks down from the Armory are the Springfield Museums and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. Explore two museums devoted to art, one to science and one to history, then soak up the sun outside in the grassy quadrangle, where you’ll enjoy the whimsical bronze statues of the famous children’s book author and some of his more memorable characters.
Before returning to Boston, enjoy a leisurely dinner at one of the many delightful restaurants to be found in the Pioneer Valley. Agawam’s The Federal Restaurant presents contemporary American dishes, many made with fresh herbs and vegetables in season. The Delaney House in Holyoke is prized as one of the region’s finest restaurants where guests may enjoy a meal in one of its private-themed rooms, or perhaps the more informal atmosphere found in Delaney’s Grill or The Mick. Casually elegant dining is on the menu at Lattitude in West Springfield, where all dishes are prepared fresh using only local ingredients. Downtown Springfield offers many dining options as well, including 350 Grill, famed for its contemporary cuisine as much as its luxurious interior and upscale deco setting, Adolfo’s Ristorante, which boasts a selection of traditional Italian dishes with creative house specialties that incorporate imported Italian products, and Nadim’s Downtown Mediterranean Grille which serves traditional and flavorful Middle Eastern cuisine.