Brewster House Bed & Breakfast (Freeport, Maine Coast)

Category Archives: shopping

Three Wonderful Days in Freeport!

October 16, 2012 by Scott Gile

Recently several guests have stayed with us and visited Freeport for the first time. They have all had similar reactions. The first reaction is “Wow! We didn’t know there was so much Freeport shopping!” You see, not being from the northern New England area, they were unfamiliar with Freeport, and many had no idea that it was the home of L.L. Bean.

The second reaction, for all of them, was, “We had no idea there was so much to do within a short drive of Freeport! What a great location to base our stay, so we can take day trips to see lighthouses, visit lobster shacks, beaches, etc.” They had no idea what a perfect location Freeport is for sightseeing.

We’ve decided to make Freeport a little more accessible for our guests by setting up our Fall Freedom package, with 3 nights for the price of 2! This provides the ideal opportunity to see the rugged Maine coast, visit lighthouses (there are at least a dozen within about an hour and a half drive of us), hike along the water or in the hills in our state parks, and more. Or, if you prefer, take a hike through Freeport and visit the 5 L.L. Bean stores (four of them never close!) and over 150 other shops and restaurants, all within a few blocks of us!

With three days here, you can really cover a lot of ground. Here is our suggestion:

Day 1 (arrival)

  • Arrive by mid-afternoon and check-in at Brewster House
  • Spend the afternoon exploring Freeport outlets and shops
  • Have a wonderful meal at one of Freeport’s excellent restaurants

Day 2

  • Have a delicious gourmet breakfast at Brewster House
  • Go north to visit lighthouses, islands and beaches
  • Have lunch at an historic and authentic Maine diner
  • Spend the afternoon exploring coastal harbor towns
  • Dine along the way, or in Freeport
  • Shop a bit before the end of the day

Day 3

  • Another delicious breakfast at Brewster House
  • Shop a bit to make sure you haven’t missed anything
  • Drive to the south to see lighthouses
  • Explore Portland’s Old Port district
  • Explore Kennebunkport and/or Kittery and/or Ogunquit, etc.

Day 4 (departure)

  • One last delicious Brewster House breakfast
  • One last shopping trip before checking out.
  • Bid goodbye to your new friends, and promise to return soon!

When will we see you here?

Ruth & Scott
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine

Freeport’s Outlets and Shops – Something for Everyone!

May 1, 2012 by Scott Gile

Many people are aware that Freeport Maine is the home of outdoor retail giant L.L. Bean, and still others are aware that Freeport can be said to have been something of a town filled with shops and outlets. However, neither of these statements adequately conveys what a delightful and special place Freeport is. For those of us who live in Freeport, it is easy to forget that so many people (even throughout the New England region, let alone the rest of the USA or worldwide) have never heard of Freeport or L.L. Bean.

Because of that, instead of writing, as we often do, about things to do in or near Freeport other than shopping (including our recent article for the Maine Innkeepers Association blog), this time we wanted to provide more information on the five L.L. Bean stores, and the other shops and outlets in Freeport. 

Following Freeport’s time as a shipbuilding town, it became a shoe manufacturing town. Later, young Leon Leonwood Bean started a mail-order catalog featuring his Maine hunting shoe. That small family business has grown into a huge enterprise, with 5 stores in Freeport (four of which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – only the L.L. Bean Outlet closes at night and on Christmas Day). Eventually, Freeport reinvented itself as an outlet town (before America had outlet malls in almost every city). As outlet malls became more common, Freeport changed again, into an unusual mix of outlets and retail, with many local Maine-owned stores, interesting retail shops.

 In addition to the five L.L. Bean stores (the flagship store, the Hunting and Fishing Store, the Home Store, the Bike, Boat and Ski Store, and the L.L. Bean Outlet), Freeport is home to many other shops and restaurants. In fact, it feels a bit like living in a huge, outdoor, shopping mall. Many of the shops are members of Freeport USA, Freeport’s marketing organization, and therefore are included on the Freeport USA map. Many others, however, are not included on the map, yet do a thriving business in Freeport.

According to Freeport USA there are well over 140 shops and restaurants in Freeport. They range from L.L. Bean’s five stores to small shops like Isabella’s Sticky Buns. There are well-known clothing and shoe stores, like Talbots, Jones of New York, Banana Republic, Polo, and J. Crew, Clark, Bass, Nike and 9 West. There are specialty shops like Georgetown Pottery, Cuddledown, Freeport Knife & Kitchenware, The Mangy Moose, and Cool As A Moose. You’ll find fine jewelry, like R.D. Allen or Brown Goldsmiths, and crafts such as the Beadin Path. From the Pet Pantry to the Coach Factory Store, there is something in Freeport for every member of the household.

 Let’s not forget the many restaurant, specialty food and candy shops, and more. There’s Wilbur’s of Maine for local chocolate, When Pigs Fly bakery, and Wicked Whoopies for a whoopie pie. There is coffee and tea from Starbucks to Coffee By Design to Jacqueline’s Tea Room, serving a formal tea, as well as selling teas. Restaurants include Azure Cafe, Jameson Tavern, the Broad Arrow Tavern, the Maine Dining Room, the Mediterranean Grill, and more. You’ll find lighter fare at Corsican, or just stop in for a cup of chowder at the Freeport Chowder House or Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen and Topside Tavern.

These are just a few of the wonderful shops and restaurants you’ll find when you visit Freeport. Don’t just allow a couple of hours to walk through the shops. First time visitors often tell us they had no idea there was so much here! Plan at least a day, just to walk through all the stores.

 Ruth & Scott
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine

Where Do All the Guests Go After Breakfast?

July 21, 2011 by Scott Gile

Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine

Most people who visit our Freeport Maine Bed & Breakfast arrive planning to spend a bit of time shopping at the Freeport outlets and shops, or sightseeing along the Maine coast. However, as happens a few times each year, the other morning found a couple at breakfast who had no idea there was shopping in Freeport, had never heard of L.L. Bean, and didn’t know where all the other guests were going after breakfast!

Where are all the guests going?

Shopping

About 2 out of every 5 guests walking from Brewster House to the Freeport shops and outlets, which begin just about a block from our door. FreeportUSA says there are over 200 shops and restaurants in Freeport, but that number belies the charm of the historic buildings along Main Street.

In addition to L.L. Bean’s campus, which includes four of its stores (all four of these are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week), most of the shops and restaurants are located in historic buildings, dating to the late 1800’s. Even the McDonalds in Freeport is in a house that dates back before 1870. In the midst of all this is Freeport Village Station, which is a modern collection of shops and eateries, built to blend in with the historic buildings around it, and which included the L.L. Bean Outlet, which is the only L.L. Bean store that closes.

Sightseeing

Most of the rest of our guests leave quickly after breakfast to cover as much ground as possible, as they have planned sightseeing trips for the day that will take them to as many as eight lighthouses, at least three beaches, hiking in one of at least five state parks, or even all the way to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park (now that is really a full day of sightseeing!). Our lighthouse map can help you find your way to the Maine lighthouses.

Lobster

Red’s Eats, Wiscasset

Some of our guests just can’t get enough lobster while they’re in Maine (imagine that)!

In addition to Freeport’s own lobster shack on the South Freeport dock, Harraseeket Lunch & Lobster, they will drive south to Kennebunkport to try the Clam Shack (reknowned for its lobster rolls), or north to Wiscasset to sample the rolls at Red’s Eats. Still others will visit Five Islands Lobster Shack, or head for Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, followed by a side trip to Shaws Lobster in New Harbor, or Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse and Two Lights Lobster Shack. Of course, we have a map of Maine lobster shacks, too.

Whatever your interest (and tastes), nearly all our first-time visitors (and more than a few of our returning guests) find that there is more to do than they can possibly fit into just a couple of days. They leave anxious to plan their next visit to Freeport, Maine!

5 Reasons Your Valentines Gift is a Romantic Getaway in Maine

February 8, 2011 by Scott Gile

Are you searching for the perfect Valentine’s gift for someone special? We have the answer, and it is a romantic getaway in Maine!

Why would someone want to visit Maine for a romantic Valentine’s getaway? Let me count the ways!

1. Snuggle in your romantic fireplace room

There is nothing more romantic than snuggling up with your sweetheart in one of our lovely rooms, with a warm fire and watching the snow softly fall outside your window. Of course, we can’t guarantee the snow, but we do have fireplaces in three of our romantic queen rooms (all with private, en suite, baths, just waiting for you!

2. Enjoy a fabulous breakfast each morning

We are well-known for our wonderful breakfasts – and with good reason. Each morning you’ll enjoy a delightful new breakfast – even if you’ve stayed with us before, we rarely serve you something you’ve had previously. We alternate between a savory main dish one day (perhaps a quiche or baked eggs, or one of our newer treats) and a sweet dish the next (one of our many French toasts, baked or maybe a croissant French toast, or maybe we’ll experiment with something new).

Of course you’ll start with either a hot or cold fruit dish, and we serve freshly baked muffins or scones to accompany them. There are also a selection of fruit juices, as well as French press coffee or a variety of teas.

3. February shopping in Freeport is fantastic

If you thought the after-Christmas sales were over, you’ve never been to Freeport in February! With nearly 200 stores along Main Street (nearly all are within walking distance of Brewster House), there is almost everything you can imagine. These retailers know that people expect bargains after Christmas, but they are also cagey enough to hold their best prices for even later – when there aren’t so many shoppers around.

After Christmas the sales were as much as 40-60% off, but in February many stores have at least another 50% off those prices, as they clear their merchandise to get ready for the spring season.

You can stroll down the street after your breakfast at Brewster House, shop these bargains, and return, with enough time left in your day to see more of the area.

4. Maine is a Winter Wonderland

As this is written, we’re looking out the window at a new-fallen snow of about 1/2 inch, sitting lightly on the trees around us. A walk around the neighborhood will allow you to explore this enchanting fairyland for yourself.

If you’re more adventurous, you can snowshoe or cross-country ski at nearby Wolfe Neck State Park, or on the groomed trails of Pineland Farm. If you need equipment, of course L.L. Bean carries it all (you may even find it at a bargain in their outlet store in Freeport), or you can rent it at Pineland Farm.

Farther afield, there is downhill skiing a couple of hours away in the mountains, or you can visit several of our lighthouses – which take on a unique beauty in winter that so few people are ever fortunate enough to see.

5. It is easy to get to Maine

If you’re not already here, living the way life should be, getting to Maine is easy. Some folks worry about driving in February, but the ability of our road crews to clear the snow is nothing less than amazing. Snow is removed from our roads almost as quickly as it falls, so being snowed in or trapped just doesn’t happen (though that has something of a romantic element to it, as well!).

Here in Freeport, we’re only a two hour drive from Boston, or a bit less from Manchester, NH, and 5-6 hours from the greater New York area (depending on your location), so driving here for a couple of romantic nights away is very feasible. You can also fly to Portland (or, if you’re a bit farther away, Boston or Manchester may score a better airfare deal), then rent a car and you’ll be here in no time.

You can also take the train, as the Downeaster runs from Boston to Portland, ME several times daily, making the trip in just a bit over two hours. Work has begun to extend the train to Freeport and beyond, but for now you’ll want to rent a car at the station in Portland.

What are you waiting for? Take a look at our availability calendar to see when you can schedule your romantic getaway in Maine!

New: Gift Certificates Now Available from our Facebook Page

December 22, 2010 by Scott Gile

We’ve offered Brewster House Gift Certificates through our web site for several years, and each year (especially near the Christmas holidays) several people take advantage of them as gifts for their friends and family who love Brewster House, or to introduce them to Brewster House and Freeport, Maine.

We recently became aware of an application that we could add to our Facebook page that will allow Facebook friends to purchase our Gift Certificates directly from Facebook.

To use the Gift Certificate application, select the quantity you want (the base value is US $100.00, selecting multiples simply increases the value of your gift certificate, so if you enter “3” you will be purchasing a gift certificate with a value of $300), then proceed to check out. Your payment will be processed through PayPal’s secure checkout service, and we are notified of the purchase so we can send you your gift certificate.

Be sure to include your mailing address so we can send the certificate, and also please provide a valid email address, so we can reach you if there are any problems. These will be sent free to addresses in the US and Canada. Other areas will be by arrangement.

We wish this had been available earlier in the Christmas season, but better late than never!

Thirty Shopping Days ’til …

November 17, 2009 by Scott Gile

Brewster House at ChristmasFor most Americans the thirty days (or thereabouts) between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day are the days we are subjected to constant advertising for holiday gifts and the countdown of the number of shopping days until Christmas.

As an aside – for those too young to recall – we used to count shopping days instead of simply the number of days remaining because most stores were not open 7 days a week. Hence the number of shopping days was less than the number of days by an amount equal to the number of Sundays in that time frame.

Since those familiar with Freeport already know what a shopping Mecca it is, it will come as no surprise that there is a lot going on in town during those 30 days!

Shop, Dine & Stay
Throughout most of that time (Now through December 19, 2009) Brewster House Bed & Breakfast is offering its Shop, Dine & Stay package, with two nights double-occupancy in a queen room, an L.L. Bean gift card, a gift certificate at Azure Cafe, for only $499 (taxes included), and the ability to add a third night for only $100.

Moonlight Madness
In addition, Freeport’s Moonlight Madness event begins in the wee hours of Friday morning, November 27, with many stores open, special events, sales, etc. This is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, and only Freeport can do it all up with L.L. Bean’s stores, and other shops and restaurants.

Sparkle
A week later is Sparkle weekend in Freeport. An entire weekend of holiday fun for the whole family! The weekend begins with a parade of lights down beautiful Main St., decorated to look like a scene from a Christmas card. The celebration will include a tuba concert, jingle bell run, craft fair, hot cocoa stops, talking Christmas tree, Wally the Green Monster, and of course… SANTA!!!

Northern Lights Celebration
From November 20 through New Years Eve is L.L. Bean’s Northern Lights Celebration. It begins with the lighting of the giant Christmas tree, and includes book signings, demonstrations, ice carving and special events, leading up to a huge New Years celebration for the entire family.

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping
Freeport’s over 170 shops and restaurants will be open with values galore, throughout the holiday time, and with the new stores in Freeport Village Station adding to the mix, there is truly something for everyone on your Christmas shopping list.

Of course, if you’re not busy shopping for holiday gifts, and can wait… there are the after-Christmas sales. Like most places there are sales in Freeport after Christmas. However, after New Years there are even more, and then in late January and February, still more!! But that’s a closely guarded secret, so we better not say too much about that!

Looking for Antiques in the Freeport Area

November 3, 2009 by Scott Gile

antiquesAside from the beautiful coastline, lighthouses, and other Maine attractions, not to mention Freeport’s wonderful shopping, we are often asked about local antique dealers. While there are very few right in Freeport, there are a lot of antiques available along the Maine coast, as well as inland, within only a short drive of Brewster House.

We were talking about this with someone recently, and thought it would be nice to have a map of some of the areas where you can find antiques without driving for hours, and especially if you just want to explore, rather than attend an auction.

There are several areas where antiques are particularly plentiful. There are several along US-1 in the Bucksport-Searsport area on the way to Bar Harbor. However, we decided to focus on the areas within about an hour to an hour and a half drive from Freeport. That still is a big group, from Kittery to the Camden area, and inland to near Sebago Lake. We also included a number around the Augusta/Holowell/Gardiner areas.

There are many more than we have listed on the map below, as a quick internet search will reveal, but we have selected the ones we think people will find interesting, and tried to minimize the dealers who don’t have a shop or showroom, or who exhibit only in another location. We have not had time to visit more than a small percentage of these shops, so we hope you’ll find them worthwhile, but can’t vouch for all of them personally.

If you have comments on any of the dealers, or would like us to add another dealer to the map, please let us know in the comments!

Happy antiquing!


View Freeport, Maine Area Antiques in a larger map

After the Foliage in Freeport

October 27, 2009 by Scott Gile

While there is still good color in places (our back yard being a prime example), many of the trees have lost most of their leaves. As you drive US-1 or I-295 either north or south, there are still some pockets of trees with spectacular colors, many have faded and the leaf drop is significant (helped along, no doubt, by a wind and rain storm a few days ago).

So, now what?

Things don’t stand still in Freeport, Maine.

As we mentioned in a previous post, the State of Maine Tourism Office is kicking off a program called “Shop, Dine and Stay”, promoting various activities leading up to the holiday season. We have created a “Shop, Dine and Stay” special for that purpose. The program highlights the late-fall and early-winter activities and the pre-holiday shopping opportunities in Maine (and especially in Freeport!).

Shopping Opportunity is Knocking!

As thoughts turn to the holidays, the November weather provides nice opportunities for some low-key sightseeing along the nearby coast, as well as early Christmas shopping in Freeport’s nearly 200 shops and restaurants (including, of course, L.L. Bean’s 5 stores – four of which are open 24×7!).

Yesterday we took a walk through town, stopping in many of the shops, both those along Main street in the historic buildings, and also in the new (in 2009) Freeport Village Station. We found plenty of bargains already available.

Many shops are advertising sales from 25-50% off, and we saw some that were as much as 70% off! In addition, there were some one day only sales with markdowns as high as 50-75% off, and some buy one – get one (BOGO) (or even buy one, get two) sales.

All of this is just in time for the Freeport Girlfriends Getaway weekend, November 13-15.

A Thanksgiving Getaway?

Over the Thanksgiving holidays (November 26-29 in the United States) there are some great opportunities. As usual, the Maine Dining Room at the Harraseeket Inn is having its all-you-can-eat buffet Thanksgiving Dinner (reservations required). Also, a number of the Freeport merchants will participate in the Moonlight Madness event again this year, with doors opening at (or after) midnight, in the wee hours of Friday morning, November 27.

Do You Sparkle?

Thanksgiving weekend also kicks of the traditional Christmas shopping season and the lighting decorations and Christmas trees will all be out for Sparkle Weekend, December 4-6. Activities include a parade of lights down beautiful Main St., decorated to look like a scene from a Christmas card, a tuba concert, jingle bell run, craft fair, hot cocoa stops, talking Christmas tree, and of course… Santa!

Get ready for the holiday season! Come to Freeport, Maine and Shop, Dine and Stay!

After Autumn, then what?

October 1, 2009 by Scott Gile

Winter - Portland Head LighthouseOften guests express surprise when we tell them that we, like most B&B’s (at least in the southern half of Maine) are open year ’round.

The natural assumption is that our season from November through April is fueled by either skiing or shopping. In Freeport, of course, shopping is always available, with the five L.L. Bean stores (four of which are open 24-hours a day, 365 days each year), and over 160 other shops and restaurants, most located in historic buildings, and almost all within a few blocks walk.

Downhill skiing is a bit trickier, though there are plenty of places for cross-country or for snowshoeing in the area. Probably the nearest downhill ski area is in Camden, about 90 minutes up US-1, with real mountain ski slopes about 2 hrs away in the western part of Maine.

So what is there to do (in addition to the shopping) between November and April? Plenty!

November:

Freeport’s Girlfriend Getaway is November 13-15, with special lodging packages and activities. L.L. Bean’s Northern Lights celebration begins November 20, running through New Years’ Day. This includes the huge L.L. Bean Christmas Tree, carriage rides, and activities throughout Freeport.

Thanksgiving weekend (November 26-29) starts the “offical” Christmas shopping season with an all-you-can eat buffet at the Maine Dining Room in the Harraseeket Inn, Christmas decorations, and more. Moonlight Madness shopping begins at midnight on November 27.

December:

December starts with Sparkle Weekend in Freeport – always the first weekend in December, and filled with winter fun! There is a Christmas parade, with Santa arriving on a lobster boat, a talking Christmas tree, a tuba concert of seasonal favorites, the Freeport Community Players present “Radio IV”, a long-time favorite drama, and there are sales and other events to charm every visitor.

New Year’s Eve is traditionally a magical time at L.L. Bean in Freeport, with entertainment for the whole family, storytellers and music, and a midnight fireworks display.

And, of course, with all the magnificent shopping in Freeport, there is something for every budget and every taste in the stores and shops, both before Christmas, and with the after-Christmas sales.

January:

If you think you’ve seen good after-Christmas sales, wait until you visit Freeport in January (and even into February). We’ve seen unbelievable markdowns as merchants clear the way for the next season’s merchandise.

January, with its snows and often clear days, makes a wonderful time to visit some of your favorite lighthouses, and get those rare photos of them with a dusting of snow on the rocks around them.

February:

Like January, February brings sales to town, and of course, special opportunities for short breaks and getaways with Presidents’ Day weekend, Valentines Day, and more late-season sales.

The lighthouses and coastal scenes are still beautiful, with wind, water, waves and snow.

March:

In March the snow begins to melt and the first signs of Spring appear. It can still be a great time for seeing the new growth around the coastal areas and lighthouses, but it is also a good time for some early-season shopping.

April:

Like March, April can have some wonderful photo opportunities with new foliage and flowers appearing, melting snows, and beautiful, rugged, coastlines.

April is also the month for Flavors of Freeport, a wonderful food-inspired event, with all kinds of activities to enjoy.

So, yes, there is life after autumn in Freeport! Try one of our beautiful off-season months and enjoy off-season room rates, specials and activities!

Visit Maine Like A Mainer! Greater Portland and Casco Bay (Part 2 – Freeport)

June 30, 2009 by Scott Gile

Wolfe Neck State Park, Freeport Maine
Our series on Visiting Maine Like a Mainer turns now to the Freeport and environs area of the region known as Greater Portland and Casco Bay (previous posts have included the Maine Beaches, Greater Portland and Casco Bay (Portland area) and Downeast and Acadia).

Freeport is widely known as the home of retail giant L.L. Bean. In fact the well-known outlets and stores in Freeport are all around the L.L. Bean campus, with its flagship store, hunting and fishing store, bike and kayak store, and its outlet store. Oh, and the L.L. Bean home store is slated to open later in the year. Around it sit over 160 other stores and restaurants, providing something for everyone.

Not quite as well-known are the two beautiful state parks, Wolfe Neck State Park and Bradbury Mountain State Park. Both have excellent hiking trails. Wolfe Neck offers trails along the edge of Casco Bay, while Bradbury Mountain, as its name implies, takes you up above the neighboring communities for a view across the coastal areas.

Nearby, also, in addition to Portland and its shopping and fine dining, are the Portland Head Lighthouse and Cape Elizabeth’s Two Lights. To the north is Bowdoin College, Eagle Island, Bailey Island, Georgetown Island, Reid State Park, Popham Beach State Park, and the hideaway village of Five Islands. Maine’s Desert is also nearby.

Freeport‘s central location makes it ideal for adding to your shopping vacation with golf, and exploring all the Maine coast has to offer.

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