A person would have little use for a wall calendar if they lived beneath the colorful canopy of hanging plants of Fran's Flowers. That’s because the selections of foliage, flowers, and produce changes as the seasons do. In fall, shelves brim with crisp apples from local orchards, winter brings poinsettias and balsam wreaths, and annuals arrive in Spring from local growers. Petals from the prismatic mélange of plants fill the outdoor gardening store with a vibrant spectrum of colors.
The seasonal blooms don't happen by themselves, though. Owner Fran and his family have gardening in their blood. Fran started the business with his father more than a quarter of a century ago when flowers only came in three shades of grey. His passion hasn't waned since. Along with his family, Fran happily chats with customers to help them pick out flowers or explain how to properly plant them in gardens. This attention to customer service, along with the immense handpicked selection of plants, earned the business the distinction as “a diamond in the rough” by Chronicle in 2009.
Baker Adie Sprague, who made a splash as a participant on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, showcases her meticulous dessert designs at Treat Cupcake Bar. She crafts at least a dozen flavors every day, including seasonal goodies such as candy apple—an apple cake smothered with cinnamon frosting. Adie also whips up separate batches for gluten-free and vegan patrons, such as chocolate cake crowned with mint cookies ‘n' cream frosting.
Rather than hog all the decorating fun for itself, Treat invites guests to make their very own creations at its namesake bar. There, you’ll find four varieties of both cake and frosting, plus more than 20 other toppings, such as Pop Rocks and chocolate-covered pretzels. To refine your decorating skills, sign up for one of Treat’s holiday-themed classes and learn to make seasonal shapes such as turkeys for Thanksgiving and smashed calculators for National Do Long Division by Hand Day.
Savio Lighting's showroom, stuffed with wares from more than 70 manufacturers, offers customers a smorgasbord of modern illumination options. A sleek pair of Nuvo Lighting Cipriani mini-pendant lights ($47.99 each) will shed light on lab tables, letting mad scientists stitch together Frankenstein monsters without squinting. Or you could line Grandma’s kitchen counter with a strip of InvisiLED tape lights ($9–$990.90), which come in five colors, to create a disco vibe that encourages linoleum-slide dance moves and repurposing old aprons into leisure suits. Savio Lighting offers free shipping on orders of $49 or more.
Mahoney's Garden Center beckons green-thumbs and novices alike to its sprawling facilities, which burst with a plethora of plants, blooms, and gardening accoutrements. Although merchandise varies by store, shoppers may score finds such as a knock-out rose shrub ($29.98), zinnia perennials ($4.98) or an 8-inch hanging ivy ($16.98), complete with a Rhodes Scholar application. The 6-inch hibiscus ($12.98) lends its vibrantly hued blooms to front porches or a modest giant's windowsill. Perch deserving bouquets in the 12-inch embossed teal ceramic planter ($44.99) or display 10- and 11-inch hanging baskets ($12.50) that double as hideaways for spare doghouse keys. Customers can also narrow their searches for outdoor patio furniture at the Winchester and Falmouth locations.