Christmas shopping in New England? What’s on your list? Jewelry? Elegant clothing? Sporty clothing and sports goods? English imports? Crafts? Fine China? How’s your budget? Could you use factory outlet store discounts?
The place you want to shop, then, is Freeport, Maine, north on Interstate 95, just follow the sign that says, “All Points Maine.”
Freeport, Maine began its history as a port. Many beautiful homes were built as seafarers and merchants made their fortunes on merchandise ship in from all over the world. Now, the beautiful homes are inns and bed and breakfasts and the storefronts boast names like Polo Ralph Lauren and Lenox. Major designers and manufacturers have factory stores in Freeport where discounts are given on top-of-the-line goods and wares.
For rich and trendy, Burberry and Jones New York are the first places to shop.Burberryadds edge to fabulous fabrics and die-hard traditions while Jones New York takes casual into the 21st century (in petite sizes, also). Polo Ralph Lauren and J. Crew cover the spectrum for the New England elegant casual style with just the right combination of devil-may-care and polish. The Anne Kleinfactory store offers women’s classic casual with a kick of sass. Anne Klein clothes are usually available only through Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom’s. Then comes Brooks Brothers, the Golden Fleece, the quintessential name for highest quality clothing in the best materials and craftsmanship. Egyptian cotton, merino wool, natural shoulder blazer. Pure elegance since 1818.
For the sports-minded, two places in Freeport stand out: Patagonia and L.L. Bean. First, Patagonia. The Patagonia Outlet has everything for the serious international sport set for skiing, snowboarding, fly fishing, Nordic skiing, rock climbing and Alpine skiing. Everything includes insulation, base layers, packs and lifestyle wear. Serious sporting goods for serious sportspeople–men, women and children. Now,L.L. Bean. Founded in 1912, with the L.L. Bean hunting shoe as the premier product line, L.L. Bean is open 24-hours a day all year round, with no exceptions, ever. They don’t even close for blizzards. In a rustically elegant building, L.L. Bean employees demonstrate equipment and give lessons on usage. One of the most happily unique features of L.L. Bean’s is their satisfaction guarantee policy: You must be happy and satisfied with their goods for life or L.L. Bean’s will cheerfully replace the product for you.
Specialty shops abound in Freeport, Maine. Whether you want chocolate or tea, British scented soaps or fine china, rug hooking kits or leather you are sure to find it on Main Street in Freeport. For instance, you can sample Lundor chocolates at the Lindt Chocolate Shop, then buy Maine made vodka from Maine grown potatoes at Cold River Vodka, then step over to Jacqueline’s Tea Roomwhere she will seat you–if you have a reservation–in one of three charmingly appointed tea rooms where you can have your choice of over sixty teas, which you can accompany with foods both sweet and savory. Bridgham and Cook, Ltd., has a wide range of British import foods, tartans and toiletries. Fine china and other household items can be had at Tuesday Morning or Lenox.Tuesday Morning is a Dallas, Texas based national corporation that offers top-quality goods at 50% to 80% discounts. Splendid. Lenox, of course, is the name in fine china and crystal. Breath taking. Claire Murray sells rug hooking kits and counted cross-stitch for the needlework hobbyist and leather goods can be found in abundance at several stores including Coachand Wilson’s Leather factory stores.
Maine abounds in wood and Freeport is the showplace for some of that wood in the form of handcrafted furnishings.Chilton Furniture Store specializes in handcrafted cherry wood designs reflecting Maine’s Shaker heritage. An old New England family, James Chilton arrived on the Mayflower and his descendants, through Mary Chilton, began the first Chilton enterprise in Maine. Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers was begun in 1972 by Thomas Moser who gave up his professorship at Bates College to build handcrafted fine furniture according to the finest ancient traditions in an old Grange Hall in New Gloucester, Maine. Now, more than seventy-five cabinetmakers, both men and women, design and build exquisite, elegant furniture like the Aria side chairs and the Jefferson laptop desk.
Crowning touch to a New England winter’s day shopping trip to Freeport, Maine is that even in winter you can take a stroll around the grounds and garden of the historic Pettengill Farm. After dinning at one of Freeport’s fine eateries, like The Corsican orThe Broad Arrow Tavern at the Harraseeket Inn for organic fare or the Azure Cafe for Italian or Jameson Tavern (since 1779) for American, you can retire to your over-night accommodations at one of the bed and breakfasts, inns, hotel or motels and have pleasant dreams of sugar plums and rum cake in fresh pine scented air ofFreeport, Maine.