Michael Kittredge started making scented candles as a teenager, in the late 1960s, in his family’s South Hadley, Mass., garage. A gift for his mother, his first candle was created by melting down crayons. Friends and neighbors soon started buying his odoriferous garage-made wares and within a few years he opened the first Yankee Candle Shop, also in South Hadley. The sweet-smelling candles sold like hot cakes and Yankee Candle Company eventually grew into a gigantic purveyor of candles sold in malls across America.
The wax and wick entrepreneur became wildly rich in 1998 when he sold 90-percent of the company to a New York private equity outfit for half a billion bucks. (Yankee Candle has been sold and folded into larger companies several times since then; it is now owned by Newell Brands.) Kittredge used his fortune to travel the world, support philanthropic organizations and to live large. He jetted around in a private plane, floated about on a 200-foot yacht, and once ordered a $20,000 bottle of wine that he generously shared with his guests and the kitchen staff. He also created a vast compound in Leverett, Mass., just north of Amherst, about 95 west of Boston.
In 1984, years before he sold Yankee Candle, Kittredge began to amass the various parcels that came to comprise the 100-plus-acre spread and over time, he fashioned a private and fantastical idyll in tranquil western Massachusetts for family, friends, co-workers and colleagues. His son, Michael “Mick” Kittredge III described it to the Wall Street Journal as “like having Disneyland in the backyard.” Mick, 32, and his father founded Kringle Candle Company together in 2009.
The candle tycoon passed in 2019, at just 67, and a 60-acre portion his beloved compound has now come for sale at $23 million with Johnny Hatem Jr. of The Sarkis Team at Douglas Elliman. (A separate parcel with an apple orchard and another 10-acre parcel with a large home and guest house are being sold separately.)
Both a comfortable, if humongous family home and a singular private resort, marketing materials for one-of-a-kind compound aptly compare it to a country club. In all there are eight structures that comprise a staggering 120,000 square feet of living and leisure space: the main residence, two guesthouses, two giant car barns, a clubhouse, a pool cabana and 55,000-square-foot building with an indoor pool and arcade.
In all there are 16 bedrooms across the property, which also offers an indoor water park, a bowling alley, a recording studio, indoor tennis and basketball courts, and a nine-hole golf course!