The Best Shops in Freeport Are Not the Outlets

Local shops abound in Maine's retail mecca.

Freeport Revisited
By Tina Fischer
Photographs by Ryan David Brown
[cs_drop_cap letter=”T” color=”#000000″ size=”5em” ]hough the shopping mecca has lost some national retail outlets in the age of Amazon, Freeport these days is home to nearly two dozen Mainer-owned shops, about half of which opened in the past 15 months, and their eclectic selection of merchandise, much of it made in Maine, is diversifying the shopping experience — all within strolling distance of the granddaddy of Maine retailers, L.L.Bean.

Test-tube spice rack at Skordo; Georgetown Pottery’s salt urchins; sweaters, scarves, and more at Bella Boutique; critter novelties at Mangy Moose; Volkswagen bus made from recycled oil drums at Abacus;.

Freeport Revisited1. Skordo

This recent addition to Main Street allows customers to sample from a dazzling array of exotic spices, salts, and flavorings, sip maple syrups, oils, and vinegars, and peruse inspiring cookbooks, some from Maine chefs. Unique spice blends (60!) are the Karonis family’s specialty, all crafted in their own Brunswick facility. Try the maple salmon rub. 32 Main St. 207-869-5780.

2. Bella Boutique

Fans of Colette Wold’s previous endeavor, Rapid River Clothing, are finding a similarly thoughtful collection of what she calls “everyday luxuries” — dresses and separates for work, weekend, and cocktail hour. Brands include Joseph Ribkoff, Velvet, Habitat, 360 Cashmere, and Margaret O’Leary. 34 Main St. 207-869-5712.

3. Abacus

It’s one of Freeport’s oldest shops, but this artisan gallery remains fresh and vibrant. Co-owner Dana Heacock’s color-drenched prints and calendars are perennial best sellers, but the store is also known for original jewelry, surprising sculpture, and quirky functional and decorative creations from hundreds of craftspeople working in Maine and beyond. 36 Main St. 207-865-6620.

4. Mangy Moose

Sure, the scarf-wearing moose plushy is kitschy, but c’mon, it’s cute too! As the name of the store implies, you’ll find lots of moose novelties here, as well as books, cards, pottery, games, and Christmas ornaments. There’s a smattering of taxidermy and vintage goods, the spoils of owner Susan Culkin’s love for auctions. 112 Main St. 800-606-6517.

5. Maine Woolens

With decades of textile manufacturing experience, Jo Bushold and her family are committed to weaving their blankets and throws in-state from renewable natural fibers sourced primarily from American growers. The products are sold online and through many retailers. This showroom offers factory-second cotton and woolen blankets. 124 Main St. 207-865-0755.

6. R.D. Allen Freeport Jewelers

R.D. Allen’s in-house jewelers specialize in creating Maine tourmaline necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets. You’ll also find pieces by other artists, who work with pearls, diamonds, smoky quartz, amethyst, aquamarine, and morganite. 13 Middle St. 207-865-1818.

7. Georgetown Pottery

All the fine porcelain ware that fills this airy, three-story gallery is made by hand just up the road, in the same studio where the brand originated in 1972. We love the salt urchins — salt and pepper shakers resembling beautifully patterned shellfish. 148 Main St. 207-865-0060.

Freeport makes merry with Sparkle Celebration, December 6–15. Festivities include a parade of lights, carriage rides, and a tuba Christmas concert.