By Barb Howell | Photography by Shanna Wolf
Northwind Perennial Farm, or “the farm” as it’s fondly called by co-owner Colleen Garrigan, is a respite from the hustle and bustle that often envelopes us during the holidays. Its grounds and Christmas shop are a popular destination, reminiscent of yuletides past when decorating for the season meant gathering branches, greens and berries to fashion into that perfect wreath, swag or garland.
The Northwind Perennial Farm shop is located in an early 20th century dairy barn, which has been lovingly cared for, and is highlighted with a rich, warm patina that welcomes all who enter. On a winter day, the shop is cold and damp, unlike the days when dairy cows and horses brought life and warmth into the humble surroundings. Garrigan, however, is quick to add that the lack of heat doesn’t deter bundled up shoppers who come back year after year to discover its treasures.
Garrigan’s transformation of Northwind Perennial Farm from a warm-weather garden shop to a holiday shop, brimming with a mix of traditional decorations, is masterful. The barn is filled with holiday décor including unique ornaments of all sizes and shapes, candles, artwork, mirrors and other gift ideas. Everything is artistically displayed: some items are placed in the drawers of old pieces of furniture, arranged in cabinets and on shelves, tucked on the barn’s window ledges, or placed atop bunches of fresh greens.
Before entering the barn, though, baskets, urns and garden tables hold nature’s greens like boxwood, juniper, balsam, spruce, pine and winterberry. Wheelbarrows full of pinecones and birch limbs, plus bins of dogwood grace the entrance. Also in abundance is a selection of pre-made and decorated swags and wreaths available for purchase.
To ensure shoppers take time to browse outside, a fire slowly burns and warms the area adjacent to the barn. The fire’s smoke gently wafts through the air, mixing with the scent of freshly cut greens, and families often gather to roast marshmallows, while enjoying coffee and cookies.
“We truly enjoy extending our season and offering an old-fashioned shopping experience,” Garrigan says. “It has become a holiday tradition for a lot of families to come out and visit us at Christmastime, and it’s become our tradition as well.”