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Shopping in New England

The Best Christmas Shopping Destinations in New England

Holiday shopping spots that will get you in the Christmas spirit! 
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Legacy Place Dedham MA

Legacy Place, Dedham MA (Photo by Eric)

New England has a gift for great Christmas shopping destinations.

From the old-time country store to the modern shopping mall, we have found that the diversity of shopping in our six-state region annually yields some pretty impressive holiday gift buying results. Here are some of the best Christmas shopping destinations in New England from our perspective:

Country store The Vermont Country Store in Weston, Vt., wins hands-down with its incredible mix of classic and hard-to-find products. Clothing toys, health and beauty items (including old-time gems like "Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific!" shampoo), furnishings, hardware items, locally-made Vermont products, antiques, and food and candy saturate this rustic, oversized classic, authentic New England country store. You could literally spend a whole morning or afternoon here -- the experience is almost like touring a museum of timeless retail merchandise.   More on the Vermont Country Store

Urban downtown shopping One could argue that historic, charming Portsmouth, N.H. has more resemblance to a small town, but we feel that the high concentration of locally-owned specialty shops combined with a thriving restaurant and arts scene creates more of a city experience (and yes, technically, Portsmouth is a city). Whatever the case, Portsmouth offers a fantastic downtown shopping experience with its mix of boutiques and galleries, as well as clothing, toy, book, antique and jewelry stores in an attractive, walkable setting. Our favorites: Tree House Toys and the Stonewall Kitchen branch store. More on visiting Portsmouth

Burlington Vt., is also a wonderful destination for Christmas shopping, especially the four blocks of outdoor pedestrian shopping at the downtown Church Street Marketplace. The Marketplace is not your generic, garden variety modern outdoor shopping center. It's a real downtown district with historical buildings, unique locally-owned stores, street entertainers, and wide brick walkways perfect for strolling. This area is beautifully decorated during the Christmas season and there are more than 100 places to shop and dine -- quite impressive for a small city!

Small town downtown shopping Kennebunkport, Maine, features a colorful, interesting mix of locally-owned shops at picturesque, coastal Dock Square. I love the old and new buildings that house these stores, all spruced up with colorful, competing signage, as well as window displays. We like Saxony Imports for general gifts, the Candyman for sweets, the Best of Everything for jewelry, handbags and accessories, and Mountain Tops Resort Shops for clothing. Quaint Dock Square is almost like Bedford Falls (from the It's a Wonderful Life movie) by the sea. An added bonus are all the traditional Christmas events going on throughout the square during the Christmas Prelude during the first and second weekends of December. Throughout the holiday season, Dock Square is a sight to behold with its fabulous Christmas lighting and decorations. More on visiting Kennebunkport

Outlets  The Wrentham Village Premium Outlets on Route 1A in Wrentham, Mass., is overwhelmingly impressive with its 170+ stores in a nicely landscaped outdoor setting. Stores include Jones New York, Bloomingdale's Outlet, Brooks Brothers, Harry and David, Aeropostale, Burton Snowboards, Nike Factory Store, Disney Store Outlet, Carter's, Bass, Coach, Vera Bradley and Williams-Sonoma.
More on the Wrentham Premium Outlets

Modern open air shopping center Legacy Place in Dedham, Mass. has done a nice job bridging the look of a modern outdoor shopping center with a traditional downtown. Gap, New Balance, J Crew, Urban Outfitters, L.L. Bean, Justice, and Yankee Candle are just a few of the high quality, well-known stores at this moderately-sized open air shopping center. It's great, too, that Legacy Place has so many quality restaurants like Aquitaine, Met Bar and Grill, Legal C Bar (seafood), and the Yard House. Legacy Place also features the largest Whole Foods Market in New England, Showcase Cinema de Lux and King's for a high-end bowling alley experience. More on Legacy Place

Indoor Shopping Mall Providence Place offers three floors of indoor mall shopping in the heart of downtown Providence. In a day of age where intown shopping malls have moved out of the city and into the suburbs, it's nice to see places like Providence Place thriving -- and actually serving as an anchor to the city. They do a very nice job decorating during the Christmas season and we think you'll find every store to satisfy your Christmas shopping needs.  Stores include Macy's, J.C Penny and Nordstrom. More on Providence Place

General store Maybe it's because I've always received good customer service here -- and that I usually find what I need -- but the old school Benny's really delivers on its long-time premise as "Your Favorite Store Since 1924." It's kind of like a mix of the old Woolworth's stores and Walmart.  While not the size of those "everything-under-the-roof" superstores like Walmart or Target, Benny's packs an impressive amount of home goods, toys and games, bicycles, seasonal items and home improvement merchandise into a moderately-sized store. Although not exactly Christmas gifts, Benny's also features an impressive automotive and tires department! Benny's is generally located in the Rhode and south eastern Massachusetts area. More on Benny's

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