Western Mass. Offers Plenty of Thoughtful Gift-giving Options
It’s not always easy to find the perfect gift item for everyone on your list, but, thankfully, Western Mass. provides a plethora of options, from spa experiences to go-karts; from sporting events to concerts and museums; from art classes to a particularly unique landscaping service. Even better, all support local businesses and organizations and, in turn, boost the region’s economy. Happy holidays, and happy shopping!
Amherst Laser & Skin Care Center
264 North Pleasant St., Amherst
(413) 253-2214; amherstlaser.com
This state-of-the-art practice in downtown Amherst offers laser and aesthetic services ranging from facial and body rejuvenation to laser hair removal; from laser body sculpting to facials and peels, and much more. First-time consultations are complimentary. Promotions change on a regular basis, so check the website for prices and specials.
Black Birch Vineyard
155 Glendale Road, Southampton
(413) 527-0164; blackbirchvineyard.com
One of several wineries in Western Mass. that offer vineyard tours, Black Birch — whose owners call the vineyard “a family that moves wine and the nuanced process of creating it” — provides a number of gift-giving opportunities, from wine-tasting events to enrollment in a wine club that includes 12 seasonal bottles throughout the year at a 15% discount. Visit the website for more information on events and available wines.
Blue Heron Restaurant and Catering
112 North Main St.., Sunderland
(413) 665-2102; www.blueherondining.com
For a truly special night out, send someone to the center of Sunderland, to the historic, 150-year-old building that houses the Blue Heron, where Deborah Snow and Barbara White serve up an eclectic, seasonal menu based on fresh, local, sustainable ingredients. The food is a reflection of Snow’s grandmother’s teachings: “eat fresh and eat the season, and all of it with love.” Gift certificates aere available online.
Cap & Hitch of New England
2001 Riverdale St., West Springfield
(413) 73304178; capandhitch.com
Have a friend who loves his vehicle and is looking for ways to improve his ride? Whether you’re looking to upgrade a factory stereo, add Bluetooth hands-free integration, add an alarm system, or have a full stereo system installed, Cap & Hitch of New England has you covered. The store also offers heated seats, bike racks, snow plows, hitch accessories, tonneau covers, and much more.
Cathy Cross Fashion for Women
151 Main St., Northampton
(413) 585-9398; cathycrossfashion.com
Cathy Cross is a Northampton shop that offers fashion-forward designs as well as timeless classics, with options ranging from jeans to power-suiting, lots of dresses, casual and contemporary wear, and constantly rotating seasonal collections that focus on the current trends. Gift cards are available in any demonination, and can be purchased at the store or online.
One Columbus Center, Springfield
34 Court St. Springfield
(413) 788-7033; symphonyhall.com
There’s always plenty of variety at Springfield’s premiere entertainment venues, which features, this season, “Moondance – the Ultimate Van Morrison Tribute Concert,” “Sing Along with the Muppet Movie,” “Best of Boston Comedy Festival: Italian Comedians,” “Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience,” “Adam Trent: The Futurist,” and much, much more. Visit the website for a full calendar and to purchase gift cards.
Gateway City Arts
92 Race St., Holyoke
(413) 650-2670; gatewaycityarts.com
Conveniently located in the heart of Holyoke’s Arts and Innovation District, and host to a plethora of studios, galleries, and event spaces, Gateway City Arts a co-working space for artists and creatives in a variety of disciplines. Among its many programs, the center offers art classes for the casual creator and the professional artist. Check online for the latest offerings, and give someone the gift of inspiration.
The Goat Girls
(413) 461-6832; thegoatgirls.com
The Goat Girls is the Valley’s best and newest solution to invasive plants, like multiflora rose and bittersweet, and irritants like poison ivy and sumac. Goats are delivered to the property to be cleared for several days or weeks. Agile, hardy, yet lightfooted, they can get to hard-to-reach parts of your property and gently, yet quickly, clear unwanted brush. Gift certificates are available online.
801 Williams St., Longmeadow
(413) 567-0688; kiddlywinks.com
KiddlyWinks takes pride in its selection of award-winning and hard-to-find, unique toys for children of all ages. The focus is on children’s toys that inspire as well as entertain, including a wide selection of arts and crafts toys for kids of all ages, from preschool through teens. Check out the website for staff recommendations, lists of award-winning toys, and to place orders online. Free shipping on all orders over $100.
Millions of pets are lost each year, and microchips are helpful only if your pet is found and scanned. Even if found, fewer than 50% of pets with microchips are returned to their owners. With its innovative pet-tracking product, called Pip, PetSimpl raises the bar in terms of quality, comfort, and ease of use. Pip is smaller than other trackers and attaches comfortably to your pet’s collar. Order the product and a subscription plan online.
Pioneer Valley Balloons
130 Cross Path Road, Northampton
(413) 218-7823; pioneervalleyballoons.org
Pioneer Valley Balloons has been providing hot air balloon rides for people of all ages for more than 25 years — an experience guaranteed to create memories that will last a lifetime. Choose from a sunrise or sunset excursion on a balloon manned by owner and chief pilot Lisa Fusco. The cost is $250 for a group excursion, $700 for a private ride for two, and specials are occasionally available. Gift certificates may be purchased online.
Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting
10 West St., West Hatfield
(413) 446-7845; pioneervalleykarting.com
A 23,000-square-foot track offers an area where karts can reach speeds up to 40 mph. The 1,000-foot road course challenges the most experienced drivers through seven left turns and four rights. Every race is timed down to .001 of a second, and each driver will receive a time sheet after their race to compare. Kids 8 and older can ride as well as adults. Purchase special race packages and gift certificates online.
Refresh Whitening Spa
16 Gerrard Ave., East Longmeadow
(413) 732-6281; emadental.com
Emirzian, Mariano & Associates, a general, esthetic, and prosthodontics dental office, now offers a new concept in teeth whitening and dental hygiene delivery. With several whitening options available, the team helps each customer select the best method for them. Services include a 60-minute cleaning and whitening, 30- and 60-minute whitenings, and more. Gift certificates are available.
380 State Road, Great Barrington
(413) 528-2000; www.skibutternut.com
Skiing and snowboarding definitely make those New England winters more tolerable. This family-oriented ski area in Great Barrington provides 110 acres of skiing spread across 22 trails. If you are shopping for someone who loves the outdoors, a gift certificate to Ski Butternut may open the doors to a new passion. If they’re already hooked on skiing, a lift ticket will be most appreciated. Check out the website for prices and deals.
SkinCatering Massage & Skincare
1500 Main St., Upper Level, Springfield
(413) 282-8772; skincatering.com
Pamper someone special with a massage and facial combo, or, better yet, book a one-hour couples massage and enjoy a true spa experience together. SkinCatering offers a release from the hectic holidays, and after all the stress and strain, an extra-special, very personal gift is just what the doctor ordered. Gift certificates are available in any amount online or in person.
45 Falcons Way, Springfield
(413) 739-4625; falconsahl.com
A great deal for big-time hockey fans and folks who simply enjoy a fun night out with the family, Falcons games are reasonably priced entertainment in Springfield’s increasingly vibrant downtown. The AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, the Falcons play home games through April at the MassMutual Center. Purchase tickets at the box office or online.
1 Edwards St., Springfield
(413) 263-6800; springfieldmuseums.org
Explore “Cabinets of Curiosity” at the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, “Still of the Night: Nocturne Scenes by Currier & Ives” at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, “Firearms of Famous People” at the Wood Museum of Springfield History, planetarium lectures at the Springfield Science Museum — and those are just a tiny sampling of the current offerings at the Quadrangle. A Springfield Museums membership provides access to all of it, and is a great gift.
Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]