Time for a Sweet Treat

  • Visit North Central

Valentine’s Day brings little sugary hearts, Easter rolls out squishy Peeps, and Halloween features candy corn.

But you don’t need a holiday to enjoy some sweet treats — especially when you’re in North Central Massachusetts! There are goodies galore for any day of the week, any season of the year.

A day spent exploring the highways and byways of the region just doesn’t feel right without a quick — or a lingering — stop for something sweet to tingle your tastebuds.

After all, if you love fine chocolate, a visit to Priscilla Candies in downtown Gardner is an absolute must. This little corner of heaven is packed with trays of chocolate-dipped buttercreams, chewy cashew cranberry turtles, and oh, that famous French roll! The choices seem endless in this shop that has been in business for 85 years — 40 of them in the same family. After a brief Covid-related shutdown of the retail shop last year — during which mail-order and curbside pickup shopping grew — this downtown landmark destination re-opened and welcomes chocoholics any time of the year.

Need a snack break? Of course this region has an array of familiar coffee and donut shops. But when you want that special, one-of-a-kind touch, head to any of the family-run shops that will make you feel at home as soon as you walk in the door.

KitchenGarden-1The Kitchen Garden in Templeton is known for its Finnish coffee bread, Scandinavian almond cake and Korvapuusti (Finnish Cinnamon Rolls) — but there’s so much more to enjoy in this cozy shop. Consider this abbreviated list: orange poppy seed bread, honey whole wheat bread, and Finnish rye; apple, triple berry, and blueberry pies; raspberry chocolate chip muffins; molasses, ginger snap and oatmeal cranberry walnut cookies. You’ll want to order some of each to take home with you at the end of the day.

Want to enjoy apple products straight from the orchard? How about a trip to Red Apple Farm in Phillipston for some piping hot apple cider donuts? (And maybe a jug of cider to wash them down?) Or some caramel or kettle corn to munch on in the car?

This is apple country, so you’re bound to find all kinds of treats featuring that tasty fruit — like the scrumptious handmade apple pies at Lanni Orchard in Lunenburg, where you’ll also find other fresh-from-the-garden fruits, from strawberries and blueberries to peaches, spotlighted in season.

And on a warm day, what could be better than a chilly scoop of ice cream? Kimball Farm in Lancaster features more than 50 flavors of homemade goodness — so plan some time to peruse the list as you try to decide which to try!

In nearby Sterling,
Rota Spring Farm starts its ice cream right at the source — raising its own cows to begin the process. It’s not surprising that they say there’s a “herd of flavor in every scoop!”

And don’t forget the almost-too-pretty-too-eat milk shakes, served in frosty mugs, at Shake and Dogs in Leominster.


Time to take a break? Take your pick of  local flavors as you tour North Central Massachusetts!   §



Priscilla Candy Shop

4 Main St., Gardner



The Kitchen Garden

268 Baldwinville Rd., Templeton



Red Apple Farm

455 Highland Ave., Phillipston



Kimball Farm

Route 70, Lancaser



Rota Spring Farm

117 Chace Hill Road, Sterling



Shake and Dogs

655 N. Main St., Leominster