Vermont's Top Outlet Centers
If the search is for discounted name brands, Manchester Designer Outlets in Manchester Center is your destination for deals at Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Armani, Brooks Brothers, Polo Ralph Lauren, Crabtree & Evelyn and more. Near Burlington, Van Heusen, PUMA, Lane Bryant, Osh Kosh B'Gosh, L'eggs Hanes Bali Playtex and more outlets can be found at the Essex Shoppes. The Outlet Center in Brattleboro--home to Carter's, Dress Barn, Bass and a few more--is smaller and looks more like a traditional outlet than a designer shopping center.
Outlets Off the Beaten Path
Vermont villages and back roads showcase a green blend of scenery, local flavor, bargains and factory deals on specific goods and wares—if one knows where to look.
Quilters will be delighted while needle nosing inside Wilmington's oldest structure: Norton House. Dating back to 1760, the building was pulled by oxen to its present location in the Mount Snow Valley in the 1830s. Today, it houses over 3,000 fabrics and quilting accessories with a favorable clearance section and sales attic.
Just off Interstate 91 in Putney, Basketville is the oldest basket company in the country with Vermont roots dating back to 1842, making it a bargain hunter's long-established favorite for woven wares (from baskets to wicker furniture) in the Northeast.
Further up 91 in picturesque and collegiate Norwich, 50-pound bulk bags of flour can be purchased alongside a rotating baking sales area at King Arthur Flour Baker's Store. Though not an outlet, it is the only place to purchase such high bulk flour amounts from America's oldest family-owned flour company: King Arthur's been in business since 1790.
Head to the hills north of Vermont's capital, Montpelier, for Jennifer Boyer's stoneware pottery, which is both artful and functional (lead-free and dishwasher- and microwave-safe). Thistle Hill Pottery can be found at several Vermont shops, but the discounts and seconds are at Jennifer's studio. Call ahead for hours.
On the western corridor, closer to Lake Champlain, last season's gardening supplies and tchotchkes can be rummaged through at Gardener's Supply Outlet Center in Williston. Middlebury is home to Vermont Soap Company, where the discounted factory outlet mingles its aromas with a soap museum, offering visitors a truly cleansing experience.
More industrialized Barre--the Granite Capitol of the World--is in the midst of a downtown revitalization project, and a bargain hunter in search of tools or in need of sharpening services will be pleased to uncover the Tool Warehouse Outlet. For those seeking something on the softer side, a dollhouse factory outlet can be found across town at Real Good Toys.
Traveling closer to the Northeast Kingdom, a stop for hip fashions at unbelievable prices is in Johnson, where the Forget Me-Not Shop offers discounted name brands. The sheer fact that a pair of stylish and fitting jeans can be purchased for $10 makes this one of my favorites.
Army surplus attire, gear and supplies never go out of style, but they can be harder to find these days. The large selection and deep discounts at Caplan's Army Store in St. Johnsbury will not disappoint.
And finally, past the glorious glacial lake known to those who venture deeper into Vermont's rural landscape as Lake Willoughby, a road leads to Brownington and the Evansville Trading Post. Minnetonka moccasins, Johnson Woolen Mills outerwear, boots galore (work, muck, rubber, winter), housewares, Native American jewelry, camping, fishing and hunting gear abound—all at bargain prices. The old-fashioned feel and traditional Vermont culture are priceless, and yep! It's a big game weigh-in station.
From one end of the discount shopping spectrum to the other, Vermont's a perfect place to save a penny. Discover more destinations for bargain-hunting in this New England Outlet Shopping Guide.