Fiskars, Finland

Photo: Wardshus

After a few days in Helsinki, your mind started to wander. You weren’t bored. You weren’t antsy either. You were getting more and more curious, though. So you left the capital. You drove west along the coast. And you ended up in an old ironworks village. It looked quaint, historic, and a bit boring at first. Then you started peeling back the layers of Fiskars.

Fiskars⁠—and Fiskars Corporation, the oldest privately owned company in Finland⁠—was founded in the 17th century. First, tools were made out of wrought iron here. Then, when copper was found nearby, production shifted. Eventually, the company started making the orange-handled scissors for which they became famous.

Meanwhile, the village along the Fiskarsinjoki river has become a popular center for art and design. Fiskars Village is a museum that guides visitors through the history of the ironworking culture. A yearly art exhibition, featuring nearly 100 artists in the old granary, has made it a popular summer destination. A candle shop took over a barn. The former pharmacy is now full of antiques. A bookshop and a cafe sit under the clock tower. Plus Finland’s oldest hotel has been restored beyond its former glory.

Fiskars Wärdshus opened in 1836. It was a place where carriage drivers stopped for hearty meals. The historic wooden building still contains its locally-made black alder reception desk, open fireplace, and steel door handles. But it’s been updated with modern art, a lovely summer terrace, and seasonal dishes. While four simple, light-filled rooms offer a place to stay when you don’t want to drive back to Helsinki at the end of a great meal.

You certainly don’t want to. When you finish eating poached eggs with salty Västerbotten cheese, braised pike with fresh-from-the-garden peas, and yogurt topped with plump blueberries and almonds, the sun is just starting to set around 9 pm. So you switch from a German Riesling to a Provence rosé, listen to the just-out-of-sight water rushing down the river, and watch pink streaks fade in the sky. Summer is the perfect time to wander in Finland.

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