Slow Down for Shopping

  • Visit North Central

Like many things, shopping has a different pace in Johnny Appleseed Country. Forget the rush, the temptation to run in, grab a gift, and run off to the next store. Out here in the country, the pace is a bit slower, the stores are homey, and you’re likely to be invited to sample some freshly-baked goodies while you browse.

If you want to enjoy country shopping at its finest, be sure to tour the area on the first weekend of December, when “Country Roads Christmas” is in full swing. For two days, the northwest corner of Johnny’s backyard is a holiday delight, as 17 local businesses — from antique shops to alpaca farmers and wilderness outfitters — roll out the country welcome mat.

To learn more about this special event,

The Adventure Never Stops

But you don’t have to wait for the holidays to appreciate shopping in Johnny Appleseed Country!

Whether you’re looking to furnish a house, find artwork to adorn your living room, or acquire a hand-crafted sterling serving piece for your next family meal, this is the place to look! Or think about fresh from the farm Gouda cheese, hand-crafted chocolates, or a Finnish coffee bread.

Chairs … and More!

Known as the “Chair City,” Gardner has a long-standing reputation as the furniture capital of New England. Visitors travel from far and wide to explore the expansive furniture stores and outlets in the city and surrounding towns. From traditional to contemporary, there’s something to suit every taste.

And at Chair City Wayside Furniture in South Gardner, you can still watch chair seats being crafted the old-fashioned way — one at a time. Gardner is home to the “big chair” on Elm Street, too, offering a perfect background for a photo of your trip.

While traveling the main streets and backroads of the area, you’re bound to discover treasures of all kinds. Stop by Steeple Antiques in East Templeton or Cider Mill Arts & Antiques in Sterling, a 100-year-old renovated mill filled with quaint shops and artists’ studios. Visit Country Mischief on beautiful Templeton Common, featuring 20 rooms jam-packed with country and primitive treasures — and a cozy restaurant.

Townsend is a treasure-hunter’s haven, with small antiques shops and the rambling Harbor Village Mall, with 80 dealers under one friendly roof.

Ready to shop till you drop? There’s simply no better place to satisfy your shopping appetite than along the Johnny Appleseed Trail.

photo courtesy of Norm Eggert