The longer we are in Helsinki, the more little treasures I find.
Just yesterday I was running my usual loop when I took slight detour to check some paths that I had never taken. They ended up leading me into little forested trails, seemingly miles away from the city center, though I was only 3 miles from home. With the fine weather we’ve been having, it has turned into my favorite running path!
A few weeks ago, just as spring was peaking out of the newly defrosted ground, my Finnish friend Laura and I decided to take an adventure! She had the car for the day and we were both looking for a little company- or in her case, company other than a set of babbling 1-year-olds. (Of course, as I was waiting at her near-by metro station, she was running around with two baby strollers looking frantically for her car. Can you believe, of all days, that it had been towed that morning?! Apparently street cleaners in Finland don’t just clean around your car- they tow it! Fortunately she found it just as we were about to give up and we made it to our destination before lunch!)
And that destination was Fiskars village, just a 1.5 hour drive north west of Helsinki. If you have ever heard of Fiskars tools and flatware -or ever used orange-handled scissors- this is the birth place of the brand. Starting in 1649 as a small iron work forge, the company persevered through Finland’s turbulent economic history, innovating both the design and production of tools for centuries. Their trademark orange handle on their scissors came about when residual orange plastic was left over from the production of a juicer.
From humble beginnings to a thriving world-recognized brand, Fiskars’ birthplace has remained a charming village that now hosts over 100 permanent artists and designers. These craftsmen and women of all trades sell their wares in the renovated buildings of the village throughout most of the year. The shops are scattered throughout the small main street, down the river lined path, up to an old barn and even into private residences.
Arriving just around noon, we popped into Restaurant Kuparipaja for a slow lunch. Their offered a short lunch menu -goat cheese burger or beef burger- but it was excellently prepared and included a salad bar and coffee, as most Finnish lunches do. There is another sit-down restaurant in the village, along with a cafe that serves lunch, a brewery and a few darling cafes and sweets shops. (Thomas was particularly pleased with this spot, as you can tell! He spent the lunch hour practicing his table-cloth trick- still doesn’t have it down and he nearly took our burgers with him a few times.)
After lunch, we took to wandering though the village, ducking into stores to check out their wares.
On the main street, aside from cafes, you will find a main store that also had a small display regarding the history of the area (no surprise, it is described in Finnish, Swedish, and English!) as well as many Fiskars brand goods. I may need to return before moving so I can stock up my kitchen and garden on handy tools! You will also find seasonal house ware products of Finland’s best known designers: Marimekko and Iittala.
Off the main road, if you start winding back by the river, you will find shops selling everything from home-made candle sticks in every color of the rainbow, glass and pottery, clothing, jewelry, lumber goods, and everything else in between. All beautifully crafted by the resident artists.
The village itself is enjoyable enough for a trip on a sunny afternoon. There is a park in the center with a child’s playground and hiking trails just behind the old warehouse buildings. The drive in was completely gorgeous, as we passed a number of lakes (it being Finland, and all) forests, hiking areas and farms. For the adventurers or picnic-ers, a day trip to Fiskars could easily last the day. Or, pop up for an afternoon and grab some unique souvenirs!
On this trip, I had these cool cats as my adventure buddies! Seriously, how adorable are these twins? They are a handful, but their momma has this double-trouble routine down!
It is also possible to take the train from Helsinki to Karjaa (on the express towards Turku). From there, you can take a bus or taxi the short 15 minutes into the village.
We had considered visiting in the winter but found that not all the shops were open. Their immensely helpful website lists the opening of each shop, as well as provides detailed directions and a brief history on the village. See the link below: