Worcester, Massachusetts. Generally not on the top of my list of places I want to go (to be honest). It’s usually the city I am zooming through on my way to get somewhere else. It appears to be just houses on top of houses. I never thought of it as overly interesting or appealing. However, my own preconceived Worcester ideas were recently corrected on two separate trips to the city.
On one of my trips there, a lovely local friend showed me a few of her favorite spots in Worcester. The first was a interesting plant and curiosity shop called Seed to Stem. It is chock full of little succulents, fossils, gems, ferns, and other tropical looking plants. The shop feels like you are stepping into a giant cabinet of curiosities, it’s really awesome. Walking around there was literally a breath of fresh air; because of the abundance of plants in there, it just felt like the cleanest air you could possibly breathe.
Cool shop, right?! The building which houses Seed to Stem is also home to some other really funky and unique shops and cafes (even a barber shop). We poked around the Crompton Collective, a mixed dealer antiques/vintage shop which also displays work from local artists and makers. All of this goodness can be found at 138 Green Street in Worcester. It’s definitely worth checking out! To top off our day, we got lunch at a great little Middle Eastern restaurant called Bahnan’s Bakery, which can be found at 344 Pleasant Street in Worcester. I enjoyed some fresh falafel with yogurt sauce and a yummy cabbage salad. I got some grape leaves stuffed with rice and sausage to go, and they were delicious as well.
A couple of months later, I made a second trip to Worcester to attend the Worcester Art Museums’ Flora in Winter. Local florists are assigned a piece of artwork from the Museum’s collection and create elaborate floral arrangements based on the piece. The floral works of art are scattered throughout the entire museum, paired with the piece of artwork that inspired them. It’s fun to go through a museum as it is, but when there are gorgeous and creative flower arrangements around just about every corner, it makes for an extra special museum day. (Seed to Stem even had an arrangement on display for Flora in Winter, third picture below).
I had never gone to the Worcester Museum of Art before, and I enjoyed it. It isn’t huge or sprawling like the Boston Museum of Fine Art, which was nice, because I didn’t feel like I was wandering in continuous circles missing things (as I often feel whenever I’m at the MFA in Boston). It is easy to see why Flora in Winter is WMA’s most popular and biggest fundraising event. The flower arrangements really made the Museum shine. I don’t think I would go back there, unless it was during their Flora in Winter display. It was just so interesting how the different florists interpreted their assigned artwork. There were also just big and colorful arrangements placed throughout the halls between the galleries, making the whole atmosphere of the Museum more inviting. There is no date yet for the Flora in Winter display for 2018, but I hope you and I can make it there for it.Worcester, you surprised me. It just goes to show me, yet again, the importance of keeping an open mind; and to never be guided by my own assumptions.