On more than 100 acres of land, Amherst Nurseries grows a vast forest of trees and shrubs, helping to make customers' green thumbs even greener. The retail store boasts a friendly staff that helps customers select the right plants for their yards. Maples, ashes, honey locusts, and other shade trees provide homes for birds' nests and dolls' treehouses ($330 for a 15- to 20-ft. tree), and the colorful foliage of plums, cherries, crab apples, and other flowering trees gives yards an instant makeover in preparation for tree prom season ($260 for a 10- to 15-ft. tree). On the farm, Amherst's tree tenders minimize pesticide use and partner with UMass researchers to test new soil-conservation technologies. Each seedling is raised on sunlight, fresh air, and occasional discipline, growing into a sturdy young tree that showcases a one-year guarantee and an excellent moral compass.
Armed with hundreds of different fabrics and leathers, Fly By Night’s upholstery experts drape custom designs onto a vast selection of American-made furniture. Courtesy of brands such as Lee, Norwalk, and American Leather, sofa designs range from the British elegance of the Notting Hill sofa ($989.95+) to the sleek napping surface of the Dorset apartment sofa ($959.95+). Chairs are available in either fabric or leather, from the gleaming red Myers chair ($699.95+) to the cushy Theo rocker recliner ($669.95+). Although delivery is not included in today's deal, Fly By Night also delivers five days a week throughout western Massachusetts with moving practices inspired by Sisyphus, who was forced to carry a heavy sofa up a hill while resisting the urge to sit in it.
With more than 26 years of acquired knitting knowledge, the professional yarn darners at Northampton Wools teach novice knitters how to fasten fibers famously. Shorn-sheep sewers can begin by browsing Northampton's bounty of natural knitting necessities. Once digits are dressed with the proper tools, they can follow the lead of noted knitter Linda Daniels and her staff of six, who together introduce basic techniques in the three-hour workshop. During this one-day course, students learn to cast on, knit, purl, and taunt cats. More well-versed weavers might want to partake in a six-week knitting course (meeting once a week for two hours), in which students are organized according to their stitching skill set and sense of gravity.
Imex Furniture supplies everything needed to furnish a home, from furniture basics to stylish accents. The company's specialists set up home-living scenes with armchairs, sofas, beds, and tables by makers such as Vaughan-Bassett and Restonic, making it easy to see how each piece will fit into the home. Shoppers can also personalize living spaces with mirrors, lamps, and artwork made by having high-definition photography printed onto canvas using the giclée technique.
In 2007, manager David Stauffer transformed a century-old building into a charming dry-goods store. Honoring the antique architecture, he still sends grains sailing down the building's antique wooden chute, which unloads shipments into pickup trucks and the gullets of bears that are tired of stealing picnic baskets. Additionally, the shop continues to stock its signature birdseed blend, lawn fertilizer, garden and pet supplies, hay, and other outdoor essentials.
With more than 386 locations dotting North America, JCPenney Optical's ubiquity is matched only by its extensive selection of contact lenses and designer frames that includes brands such as Armani Exchange, Liz Claiborne, and Nicole Miller. Despite this wide reach, all lenses are cut at the same optical laboratory, ensuring a consistency of quality and a pretty good idea of where to look if your glasses run away from home. Each location has an independent state-licensed doctor of optometry, who can perform vision exams and help clients determine which type of vision correction will work best.