Since opening in October 2010, the Kringle Candle Company in Bernardston has swiftly become one of Massachusetts’ best-known shopping destinations. Established by Michael Kittredge III (the son of Yankee Candle founder Mike Kittredge), the main candle shop is filled with candles offering a nifty twist on tradition: no matter which of 100 different fragrances a customer sniffs, the wax is all white.
“White wax makes our candles décor-neutral, so they fit perfectly into any color scheme,” offers the young candle entrepreneur. “Plus, without dye, they yield far more light and burn much cleaner. Customers like that a lot.”
Kittredge is eager to lead visitors through the 10,000 square foot main candle store. Upon entering, one discovers an antique Queen Atlantic combination gas/wood stove. “That is THE stove,” he adds proudly. “It’s the one my dad used when poured his earliest candles in his cellar in 1969. He advised me to make my first candles on it, and I’m glad I did. The sense of heritage is important to me, and seeing it here helps let our customers know they can trust our family’s commitment to superior quality.”
Candles in great variety crowd the store, along with a huge selection of candle accessories and home décor items.
Right across the street from the candle store is an even bigger surprise: the 20,000 square foot Kringle Christmas Barn, which opened in October 2011. With three floors of holiday décor (including the lavish Papa Kringle’s Toy Shoppe, a wonderland for the young), the rambling post-and-beam Barn has infused the Kringle experience with a cheerful year round holiday flavor.
“Our original candle store included a Christmas shop, but with such growing demand for that category, it seemed best for our holiday merchandise to have a bigger place all its own,” adds Kittredge.
Adjacent to the Christmas Barn is the Chocolate Cottage, filled with sweets from around the world. The Cottage has the distinction of being built in 1753, and having been moved twice before reaching its current location as part of the Kringle campus.
The cozy and walkable group of buildings is visually centered around the award-winning Farm Table restaurant, which opened in November 2011. Designed around the burgeoning farm-to-table and “slow food” movement, the menu emphasizes fresh local, organic and ethically-produced items whenever seasonally available. In addition, an extensive and growing array of gluten free options have received acclaim from many visitors.
To oversee the operation, the Kittredge family recruited Executive Chef Brent Menke from the world of international yacht charters. His familiarity with world cuisine and local food sourcing has yielded a menu lauded for originality and appeal. The Farm Table was named “Best New Restaurant” for 2012 by the Valley Advocate “Best of the Valley” Reader’s Poll, a high honor for an eatery open barely 100 days at the time of balloting. The restaurant serves lunch Tuesday through Sunday with dinners available Thursday through Sunday.
For those seeking new sights, sounds, scents and tastes, Kringle Candle is truly a discovery worth seeking out. The complex is located on Route 5, minutes from I-91 at Exit 28B in Bernardston, Massachusetts, just south of the Vermont state line.
Kringle Candle is open daily, 10am-6m. To learn more, visit www.kringlecandle.com, www.kringlefarmtable.com, or find them both on Facebook at Facebook.com/KringleCandle and Facebook.com/TheFarmTable, and also on Twitter @KringleCandle.