As Jessica Carroll explained to WFSB, her gardening center was never originally meant to be a business. It actually started out as a scenic storage space for a landscaping company she started with her brother. The two chose a pond-flanked plot of land in Marlborough as the storage grounds for their plants, and their well-tended blooms began to attract admirers, particularly in the summer. Soon after the siblings decided to help these visitors cool off, so they opened an ice-cream stand. These days, visitors to Jessica's Garden can take home their own plants, composts, and soil enhancers such as microscopic nematodes, rather than simply admiring the Carrolls’. Bass leap from the pond's waters, which are also used to nourish shrubs, flowers, or thirsty camels returning from desert jaunts. A rope swing and outdoor picnic tables make an ideal setting in which to enjoy the ice-cream stand's 21 flavors. As an added draw, the stand also serves lobster rolls in both the hot buttered and chilled mayonnaise and celery variety.
A greenhouse is a place for things to thrive?plants, flowers, miniature golf courses. Perhaps the last item in that group isn't as conventional as the first two, but at Trombetta's Farm, it's perfectly normal. The Marlboro location's 18-hole course snakes players across bridges, through tunnels, and past a trickling, hand-built waterfall, all beneath the sun-splashed roof of a greenhouse. Sticking with its green theme, Trombetta's Farm doubles as a garden center, showcasing vibrant annuals, perennial shrubs and trees, and herb and vegetable plants from local growers. Hanging baskets and gift plants also brighten the space. During visits, guests can even cool off by snacking on homemade ice cream, which Trombetta's has been crafting since 1978. The shop's diary specialists churn out 10 flavors of soft serve and several varieties of frozen yogurt.
Since 1982, The Veron Company has dispatched talented technicians to lawns and homes for professional maintenance and beautification projects. The team was assembled from a pool of experts with decades of experience in landscape design and lawn care. Summoning the power of Gamgee, the God of Outdoor Design, they magically transform outdoor areas into lush landscapes with services such as organic lawn maintenance, mulching, and irrigation. The team also handles seasonal projects such as snow removal, installation of ice-melting systems, and professional holiday lighting.
Peter's Classic Cleaners wields more than 45 years of experience to launder and dry-clean clothing and accessories using environmentally friendly old-fashioned processes free of harsh chemicals. The staff specialize in cleaning valuable items, including wedding gowns and leather, and can wash, dry, and fold quotidian attire ($1.99/lb.). Jackets ($8+) stand straighter, and pants ($5.50) release grass stains or hard-won telephone-pole splinters after a thorough degriming. Patrons can drop off blouses ($3+) and dresses ($10+) for laundering and shirts or polos to be hand pressed ($3.50+). Once clothes are freshened, clients are encouraged to wear them all at once before falling asleep on a just-cleaned king-size comforter ($25).
In addition to introducing customers to the intricacies of brewing beer and wine with instructional books and DVDs, Strange Brew can actually train customers in the fine art of making booze from scratch during its monthly in-store classes. During these small-group sessions, brewers divulge the necessary pieces of equipment, explore the core ingredients, discuss their roles in the brewing and fermentation processes, and lead a tasting of the final product. Even when they aren't applying this hands-on approach, the staff excel at helping customers ready their first batch, whether for a party or as a way to make taking a bath more fun. Starter kits for beer and wine include essential tools, such as fermenting and bottling buckets, siphon hoses, and hydrometers. To help customers fill these components with the requisite ingredients, a range of basic and specialized recipe kits feature pre-measured selections of hops and malts or juices and yeasts. Other kits are suited to more specialty brewing projects, such as mead or sake. For the more serious craft-brewers, Strange Brew also carries heavy-duty stainless-steel instruments by Blichmann.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of ?hard-to-find tools,? and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone?s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.