The Best Places to Shop in New England
Where locals reveal the best
places to shop for your New England vacations, including country
stores, antiques, books, mom and pop stores, outlet shopping and malls.
Includes shopping ideas for the six New England states: Connecticut,
Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont
Brown and Hopkins Country Store,
by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 3/13/17. All photos by Eric unless
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New England is often thought of as a place for enjoying the
ocean, the mountains, a lobster dinner and small charming towns with
village greens, but shopping has become an integral part of the
region's matrix. The country and general stores and locally-owned
downtown shops still play a big role in the fabric of New England
shopping. Cities like Boston, Mass., Portland, Maine and Providence,
R.I., offer all the cosmopolitan shopping that we have come to know in
world-class cities, while suburban shopping malls like the Emerald
Square in North Attleboro, Mass., bring indoor shopping to the next
level with modern, clean surroundings with updated and fully stocked
Whatever your retail cup of tea, New England's shopping scene is as
diverse as its wonderful topography. Near the mountains, beaches,
country roads, suburbia and the cities resides a shopping experience
that ranges from the familiar to the unique. In a nutshell, there's
shopping for every taste, every generation and every need in New
Classic New England Country Stores
and Old Time Stores
The Vermont Country Store,
The classic Mom and Pop country stores that have made New England
famous in the retail world like the Vermont Country Store,
of Weston, Vt., help make New England a truly one-of-a-kind place to
shop. This famous but still true-to-form country store sells clothing,
candles, kitchen gadgets, furniture, Vermont maple syrup, old-fashioned
New England fudge and sharp Vermont cheddar cheese and so many
hard-to-find items from yesteryear in an authentic, large, creaky
country store setting. Brookfield Orchards
in tiny North Brookfield, Mass., is a rural hidden gem located in
the middle of nowhere and offers a treasure of candles, antiques,
collectibles, candies, jams, maple products, a book area, crafts, maps,
toys, Vermont Cheddar Cheese and hundreds of more items. And here, you
can enjoy a famous and delicious apple dumpling during this quaint
shopping experience! Putnam, Conn.,
is known as the center of antique shopping in New England with 17 shops
totalling 50,000 sq. ft. of merchandise The most comprehensive
place to antique shop in Putnam is the Antiques Marketplace, at 109
Main St. (860- 928-0442), with four floors of over 350 booths,
showcasing more than 50,000 pieces of antiques spanning three
centuries! Brown and Hopkins Country Store in
Chepachet, R.I., is a living piece of retail history, being, possibly,
the oldest continuously running country store in the United
States -- dating back to 1809. It's a great country store with penny
candy, locally produced maple syrup, Vermont cheddar cheese, candles,
braided rugs, hand made country decor, art prints and historical
prints. Zeb's General Store at 2675 South Main St. in North Conway,
N.H., is the ultimate country store with its "organized clutter" of
more than 5,000 inventory items. It's wildly popular, but has
maintained its old-time, authentic country store feel with candy,
crackers, jams and jellies, pickles, maple syrup and furnishings. It's
a real trip down memory lane!
For more information on country stores, log onto the Best Country Stores in New England page
City Shopping with a Sense of History
Charm, history and
preservation meet shopping, New England style
left: Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market photo, Boston, Mass.
Faneuil Hall in Boston, Mass.
(also known as Quincy Market), consists of the original 1742 building
and two other restored buildings that house nearly 100 retail shops,
restaurants, bakeries and ice cream stops. With its old brick look and
outdoor dining opportunities, Faneuil Hall feels like the "hub" of
Boston travel to many visitors.
The revitalized Port Exchange in
features a mix of wonderfully restored 19th century architecture. With
lots of bricks (sidewalks, buildings) Port Exchange offers
locally-owned, unique stores (one store sells only moose merchandise),
well-known but high quality regional places like Stonewall Kitchen and
a good variety of restaurants and cafes. Add some skilled street
musicians (with the exception of a few), making the gas lamp-lit Port
Exchange a New England destination you'll want to return to again and
The historic Church Street
Marketplace in Burlington, Vt., serves as
the anchor to its downtown. With more than 100 places to shop and dine
(including outdoor cafes), brick-paved walkways, fountains, historical
architecture lending substance and character, and street musicians and
other creative types adding a layer of personality and entertainment,
this downtown district is surely one of New England's best.
Church Street Marketplace, Burlington
Vt. Photo credit: By Beyond My
Ken (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA
Wikimedia Commonsch Vermont.
The Mill Falls Marketplace in the
heart of beautiful downtown Meredith, N.H., is a wonderfully
revitalized former linen mill featuring 11 shops and eight
dining options in a rustic, charming traditional New England setting. A
resort, brick walkways, flower gardens, a 40-foot waterfall, and views
of Lake Winnipesaukee make this New Hampshire destination one of the
most appealing in all of New England.
Mills Falls Marketplace, Meredith,
Outlet Stores in New England
No shortage of outlet
stores in New England -- every state has a noteworthy outlet store
Wrentham Premium Outlets,
Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets, Clinton, Conn.
- Seventy outlet stores, including Banana Republic, Barneys New York
Outlet, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, Dooney &
Bourke, J.Crew, Kenneth Cole, Michael Kors, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren and
Saks Fifth Avenue.
Factory Outlets, Westbrook, Conn.
- More than 65 outlet stores are right off Interstate 95, including
Timberland, Factory Store, Rockport, Reebok, Nine West, and Hollister.
-Freeport, the home of the original L.L. Bean (still thriving and
greatly expanded), now has more than 200 stores. The outlets
essentially comprise the downtown, making it a shopper's paradise.
Kittery Premium Outlets, Kittery, Maine--
One of the oldest outlet shopping complexes in New England is also one
of the best. More than 65 stores, and with close proximity to all the
southern Maine coast has to offer, including beaches and seafood
dining. Stores include Aeropostale, Izod, Adidas, Jones New York, Nike
Factory Store, Bose and Yankee Candle. One of the most impressive
outlets after all these years!
Outlets, Lee, Mass.
-- Near the New York State border, this outlet shopping center in the
Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts (and right off Route 90) features
more than 65 outlet stores, including Cole Haan, Michael Kors, Nike
Factory Store, and Under Armour. Not the highest profile outlet
complex, but a darn good one in an area starved for shopping
Wrentham Village Premium Outlets,
Without a doubt, the most impressive -- and extensive -- shopping
outlet center in New England with more than 170 outlet stores. Very
well-designed with a nice layout and landscaping, the Wrentham Village
Premium Outlets include Banana Republic, Barneys New York, Burberry,
Coach, Elie Tahari, Hugo Boss, J.Crew, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Nike,
Polo Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Salvatore Ferragamo and
Outdoor Village, North Conway, N.H. -
Located in the beautiful White Mountains town of North Conway,
Settlers' Green Outlet Village features over 60 stores, including
Brooks Brothers, Carter's, Harry and David, Lindt, Stonewall Kitchen,
Talbots and Zales Jewelry.
Outlets, Tilton, N.H. -
A solid outlet shopping ceter featuring around 50 stores, located in
the Lakes Region (not too far from beautiful Meredith and
Wolfeboro). Stores include Coach Factory, Liz Claiborne Skechers,
PacSun, Rue21 and OshKosh B'gosh.
Designer Outlets, Manchester, Vt. -
Manchester Village is one of New England's prettiest towns. Enjoy the
classic Vermont feel here first and shop second. Manchester Designer
Outlets doesn't have the high number of stores that others do, but seem
to have all right places to shop, including Ann Taylor, Crabtree and
Evelyn, J. Crew, Kenneth Cole, and Yankee Candle.
Outdoor Shopping and
Entertainment Complexes around Boston
Making a return to the open
air shopping destinations we grew up with -- but with a very modern,
Pictured left - Patriot Place
Shopping and Entertainment Complex,
Foxboro, Mass. (photo by Eric H.)
Dedham, Mass. (950
Providence Highway, Route 1) -- Looking like a mix of a modern outdoor
shopping complex and a downtown business district, Legacy Place
features a smart layout -- network of sidewalks, ambiant lighting,
excellent landscaping, plenty of parking and well-defined cross walks.
The largest Whole Foods Market in New England anchors this impressive
work of modern retail construction that also includes P.F. Chang's
Chinese Bistro, L.L. Bean, Anthropologie, Yankee Candle, Showcase
Cinema de Lux, Clarks, Met Bar & Grill, Shake Shack, Amazon Books,
Henry Bear's Park, Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio, King's 26,000 sq.
ft. bowling alley and
entertainment complex (amazing!), and J.P. Licks ice cream.
(Route 1) -- Located at Gillette Stadium -- home of the New England
Patriots -- the Patriot Place shopping and entertainment provides an
extremely appealing and attractive outdoor presence. There's an
upscale movie theater (Cinema de Lux), several restaurants (Skipjack's,
Davio's, Tavolino, Red Robin, CBS Scene, etc.), The Hall at
Patriot Place (celebrating Patriots and New England football history),
a great variety of shops (Bass Pro Shops, Victoria's Secret, Christmas
Tree Shop, Reebok, Patriots Pro Shop, etc.), the Renaissance Boston
Hotel and Spa, and Brigham and Women’s /Mass General Health Care
(92-98 Derby St.) features a very pleasant open air environment with
beautiful landscaping, walkways and 78 retailers including Whole Foods
Market, Ann Taylor, Apple Store, J. Crew, J. Jill, Joseph A.
Bank, Williams Sonoma and Yankee Candle.
Crossing, Mansfield, Mass. (School
St.), is a sprawling, outdoor 400,000 square ft. shopping complex with
a pond, wrought-iron benches and, or course, top-of-the-line stores
including L.L. Bean, Coldwater Creek, Kohl's, Chico's, Ann Taylor Loft,
Best Buy, and Michael's (arts and
crafts). For dining, there's Bertucci's, T.G.I. Friday's and Papa
Gino's. Mansfield Crossing is definitely a work in progress and not as
attractive as Patriot Place or Legacy Place, but there's currently
enough attractions --especially L.L. Bean -- to make for a very good
Mashpee, Mass. (Cape Cod, pictured left) (Steeple St.) offers an
appealing mixed use downtown district that features about 80 percent
local shops and 20 percent national chain stores. That's a refreshing
chance of pace of the average shopping mall that houses around 90
percent national chains. Add intersecting streets with parrallel
parking and well integrated apartment rentals and you have a downtown
district that looks traditional but with a touch of sleek 21st century
Mashpee Commons will remind you of some New England traditional
downtowns -- a little bit of Falmouth, a touch of Hyannis and a
sampling of, perhaps, Melrose, Mass., East Greenwich, R.I., and Nashua,
N.H. The difference is that its birth dates back to the late 1980s
rather than one or two centuries ago. While this newly-manufactured
district might turn some off due to its corporate-inspired visions,
keep this in mind: all downtowns had to start from somewhere and it was
the businesspeople that fueled the growth. That is no different than
Mashpee Commons' creation -- and that many local residents are employed
here. It's really the best of both worlds: a destination with a respect
to the past and with an eye on the future as growth continues. And it
sure beats what was here before: a strip of open land and a strip mall.
As a result, Mashpee Commons has quickly become a Cape Cod
destinations, but, most importantly, a place Mashpee residents can
proudly call their own downtown.
Shopping Malls in New England
These new generation indoor
retail architectural masterpieces with loads of shops aren't your
grandma's shopping malls!
Pictured to the left - Natick Mall,
I remember when the Burlington Mall
in Burlington, Mass., was just a farm field with cows. How times
have changed. Over the past 30 years, indoor shoppings malls have
become a retail staple of New England shopping. Many indoor shopping
malls feature well over 100 stores on two or more levels, including the
aforementioned Burlington Mall (185 shops at Mall Rd.) and...
Place, Boston, Mass. (100 Huntington Ave. App. 75 stores). Anchor
stores: Neiman Marcus, Barney's New York
Mall, Natick, Mass. (Route 9. App. 200 stores) Anchor stores:
Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sears, Macy's, JC Penney, Lord and Taylor
Shore Plaza, Braintree, Mass. (250 Granite St. App. 180 stores).
Anchor stores: Lord and Taylor, Macy's, Nordstrom,
Mall, Peabody, Mass.,
Peabody, Mass. (RT-128 N and RT-114 E. App.120 stores). Anchor stores:
Nordstrom, Macy’s, Macy's Men' s & Home Store, JCPenney, Sears
Square Mall, North Attleboro, Mass. (Route 1 South. App.155
stores). Anchor stores: Macy's, JCPenney, Sears, Macy's Home Store and
Macy's Men's Store
Cod Mall, Hyannis, Mass.
(Cape Cod). 769 Iyannough Rd. Anchor stores: Macy's Apparel,
Macy's Men/Home and Sears, Best Buy, Marshalls and Barnes & Noble
The Mall of New Hampshire,
Manchester, N.H. (1500
South Willow St.). Anchor stores: Macy's, JC Penney, Sears and Best Buy
Lane Mall, Nashua, N.H. (Daniel Webster Highway. App. 130 shops).
Anchor stores: Sears, JC Penney, Macy's, Target
Place, Providence, R.I. (One Providence Place. App. 170 stores).
Anchor stores: JCPenney, Nordstrom, Macy's
Farmington, Conn. (213 Westfarms Mall #204A. App. 160 shops).
Anchor stores: Macy's, Nordstrom, Lord and Taylor, JCPenney
Mall, Portland, Maine (364 Maine Mall Rd., South Portland. App.
140 stores). Anchor stores: Sears, JC Penney, Macy's, Best Buy
Town Ceter Mall, Burlington, Vt. (48 Church St.). Anchor stores:
Macy's, Old Navy
Feature Articles on Shoping in
Littleton, N.H., features the longest candy counter in the world!
Park Street Books, Medfield, Mass.: the largest kids
bookstore in New England
The Goldenrod in York Beach, Maine: A beloved summer
the best supermarket chains in Massachusetts
Wilson's Department Store in Greenfield, Mass: one of
the last family-run department stores in the USA
Great apple cider, rustic shopping experience at Cold
Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury, Vt.
Chic 2 Charity in Stoughton, Mass., brings discount
clothes shopping to new level
Affordable antique shopping at Jeremiah's in Putnam,
the historic Country Store in Petersham, Massachusetts
an authentic country store doing in a suburb like Mansfield, Mass.?
in Norwood: bagel shop, old-time soda and candy store under one roof
Great country stores, not too far from Boston
Yankee Candle Village, Deerfield, Mass.
Joan's Beach and Gift, York Beach, Maine
Best New England hidden travel secrets: the Montague
Bookmill in Montague, Mass.
The best independently-owned bookstores in
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