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we from Australia, replies the other new arrival, a bit sheepishly.I almost feel like stepping in: this outdoorsy store that was started in Freeport. They make this, you know, this famous boot? obviously done my homework. For it is my imminent destiny to visit Freeport. I don remember exactly who dreamed up this mission for me. I know there was a lot of chortling and one vaguely insulting appraisal: don really look like the consumeristic sort, Frances. assignment is to spend a day shopping in Freeport, Maine: outlet mecca and summer home to many a Maritimer credit cards. My goal is to survive.For me, shopping is akin to visiting the bathroom something I must occasionally do, but don particularly relish. First of all, nothing fits my orangutan arms and hobbit feet. Second, I just don like a lot of things.Plus, I cheap. A good 80 per cent of my wardrobe comes from Value Village. When I see a price tag with a figure in the double digits (excluding anything after the decimal point), the way portion of my brain immediately fires up.Still, Freeport is known for its outlets, which I assume means bargains. So I look up Canadian duty exemptions on the off chance that Maritimes hating Ikea happens to have a store nearby. (It doesn The closest one to Freeport is in Stoughton, Mass., about 2 1/2 hours away. The brutes.)I prepare a list of things I could legitimately say I need:List in hand, I hit the streets of Freeport. This coastal town, 31/2 hours from the New Brunswick border, is home to about 8,000 people, roughly the population of Bridgewater. It is the most beautiful shopping mall I ever seen.Main Street is the picture of a perfect all American town. Lined with historic buildings, clapboard houses, old timey lampposts and flowering trees, it no wonder that millions of shoppers flock here every summer.Banana Republic, for instance, is in a 21/2 storey red brick building with a double chimney, and the inside is all wainscoting and crown moulding, with a palette straight out of Martha.Perhaps no building exemplifies Freeport graceful esthetic more than the McDonald No plastic neon golden arches here. They not allowed.Among the town many ordinances which include one on pinball, one on mercury thermometers, one banning polystyrene foam and one called Controlling Nudity in Business (controlling it is encouraged) is a 13 page sign bylaw that prohibits internally illuminated signs. (Other rules dictate that no sign except barber poles may have visibly moving parts, and all of the following are banned: blinking, moving or glaring illumination, banners, pennants, ribbons, streamers and spinners. flags are permitted but are subject to six subclauses, including one limiting design to the standard red, white and blue colouring.)The Freeport McDonald is in a traditional New England ell and barn style house and is recognizable as a McDonald only by a barely noticeable sign above the front doorway and a small, tasteful wooden sign in the garden.When the company attempted to set up shop here about 30 years ago, it met with well organized opposition by a group that called itself Freeport Mac Attack. Residents were worried that a fast food joint would rob Freeport of its small town a moral issue, the chairman of the planning board reportedly said at the time. McDonald ever came in, a part of Freeport that matters to people will never be the same. wonder what the shoppers of 30 years ago would think of Freeport today. There are couples walking arm in arm, already happily toting paper shopping bags loaded with purchases. It time to get this shopping expedition underway.At the British themed store Bridgham Cook, I admire the Marmite aprons and ponder how difficult it would be to scrub clean a teapot shaped like Big Ben.Next, I hit up the Mangy Moose. Among the clothing, antiques and knick knacks are a $3,000 mounted moose head, a stuffed raccoon complete with business meaning claws and a half eaten cob of corn for $295, and an obviously less prized skunk for a mere $95. Over the course of the day, I will realize that Freeport single handedly keeps the taxidermy profession alive. The stores here have more stuffed wildlife specimens than the whole of the Museum of Natural History at home.A few doors down, I encounter Cool As A Moose.two moose themed stores? I ask the clerk.welcome to Maine! she says. lighthouses, lobster and blueberries. That about it. That what Maine known for. remember my list and move on. At the Jockey store, the sales clerk politely explains at length how at Jockey, cup size is determined not by inches, but by volumetrics. This sounds impressively scientific, but I realize I don want to know my bra size in inches or millilitres, thank you very much. All the stripes and polka dots and solids and florals have lost any appeal they once had.I must have a vacant look on my face as I momentarily lose myself in the incredible pillowy softness of a fuzzy hoodie at North Face. It reminds me of the abominable snowman.At the Coach store, a woman is trying on a handbag. I didn know this was something people did. She turns, looking in the mirror. if it going to look different from the back! I catch myself thinking as I scowl internally. Apparently I now both bored and cranky.As company lore has it, Leon Leonwood Bean started the business after returning home with cold, wet feet from a hunting trip in 1911. He commissioned a cobbler to stitch leather uppers to a rubber boot, printed up some flyers and mailed them to registered hunters. Although Bean had to refund 90 of the first 100 purchases when the leather and rubber separated, he persevered and slowly built an the locals call it, is a source of pride for many residents who revere the quality of the store products and praise the company contributions to the town. But some residents don get the fuss.
marco polo airport to venice shopper's Guide to Freeport