Both nationally known retailers and New England-based stores and shopping centers were among the finalists for this New England Travel Readers' Choice Award.
The winner and runners-up for Best New England Shopping Spot are...
If you can't fathom how a grocery store could not only contend for but win the award for best shopping experience in New England, then you haven't been to a Stew Leonard's. Three of the company's four stores are located in Connecticut: in Danbury, Norwalk and Newington. And if you happen to be passing by, they're perfect places to pick up picnic supplies or even live Maine lobsters, which are sometimes as cheap as $3.99 per pound! Stew Leonard's shoppers know, though, that they need to budget plenty of time, particularly if they have kids in their cart. The stores are incredibly fun, with animatronic animals, seasonal events and delicious nibbles to sample throughout the store.
The Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, is the "Scenter of the Universe," and this national brand's New England origins are celebrated at its sprawling flagship store. Yankee Candle attracts millions of visitors each year. Here, shoppers not only find colorful candles of all shapes and sizes in more than 200 scents, they can make their own candles, view animated displays and catch snowflakes on their tongues every day.
3. L.L. Bean
The L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine, is remarkable in that it never, ever closes: There aren't even locks on the doors! Shoppers who only know L.L. Bean through the pages of its catalogs are in for a treat when they visit the century-old retailer's headquarters. L.L. Bean has additional New England retail locations, and outlet stores scattered across the region are popular with bargain hunters, too. With its famous 100% satisfaction guarantee, L.L. Bean has won loyal customers for generations.
For travelers in search of truly unique souvenirs, nothing beats poking around in the nooks and crannies of the Vermont Country Store. Shoppers who visit the original store in Weston, Vermont, or the Rockingham, Vermont, location--or even those who just browse through the retailer's catalog--are bound to find products they'd have sworn were extinct... that they haven't seen since childhood. Reviving forgotten favorites is one of the Vermont Country Store's specialties, and they also sell a vast array of New England-made gourmet food items, gifts, apparel and more.