With diverse shops, woodsy retreats, and community warmth aplenty, Freeport just might be the perfect holiday getaway.
F reeport has a national reputation as a shopping-outlet town, but that description falls woefully short. Sure, you can browse big-name stores like Coach and Ralph Lauren, but what really makes visiting Freeport a pleasure is its compact village comprised of one-of-a-kind boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and inns — not to mention legendary outfitter L.L.Bean.
This blend of small-town coziness and city-size shopping is especially appreciated during the holidays, when Freeport holds its Sparkle! Celebration, one of Maine’s premier winter festivals. It seems like the whole town participates in the opening-night parade — kids on unicycles with lights twinkling in the spokes, the middle-school band with lights twinkling on the instruments, and neighborhood floats with lights twinkling everywhere. There are horse-drawn wagon rides, roving carolers, a tuba concert — even a talking Christmas tree. The festivities take place the first weekend in December, and the good cheer lasts through the New Year.
Freeport is, in other words, very much a hometown community despite seeing 3.5 million visitors a year. And it’s not all hustle and bustle. Just minutes from the village are several forested preserves, ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. So you can get fitted for new gear in the morning and put it to use that very afternoon.
Thos. Moser Showroom
Fine art meets fine furniture in the Thos. Moser Showroom. An exhibit of works by 20 artists opens in December. Pictured: Philip Barter’s Breaking Wave and Moser’s Eastward Bench. 149 Main St. 207-865-4519.
Rustic Arrow’s eclectic offerings include clothing and crafts by women designers, essential-oil candles, and air plants. 116 Main St. 207-869-5726.
The Harraseeket Inn
Afternoon tea in Harraseeket Inn’s parlor is the best remedy for shoppers’ feet. 162 Main St. 207-865-9377.
Freeport was once known as “Shoetown.” Hoof it to Harrington House museum to find out why. 45 Main St. 207-865-3170.
Colors of the coast find their way into Georgetown Pottery’s dinnerware, vases, and platters. 148 Main St. 207-865-0060.
Find super bargains on factory-second cotton and woolen blankets (free remnants too!) at Maine Woolens. 124 Main St. 207-865-0755.
Best known for its Shaker furniture, Chilton is now wowing with Scandinavian-inspired designs, like this Hygge table in ambrosia maple. 184 Lower Main St. 207-865-4308.
Coastal Maine Popcorn
You won’t want to string this popcorn: white chocolate and cranberry from Coastal Maine Popcorn Co. 114 Main St. 207-869-5627.