It’s easy to shop until you drop in Freeport’s 200-plus outlet stores, but shopping is not the only reason to visit this town notching the coastline just north of Portland. With a number of outdoor recreation and nature areas in and around town, hikers, bikers, and families with restless feet can find plenty of ways to get out and steep themselves in spring. And as an added bonus, this year marks with 100th anniversary of L.L. Bean so the legendary retailers is celebrating with a slew of activities and events.
Only a few minutes walk from L.L. Bean but a world away, the Harraseeket Inn (162 Main St., 800-342-6423, www.harraseeketinn.com, $150-$270 through June 23) pampers guests with classic New England inn hospitality, daily breakfast buffet, afternoon tea, an indoor pool, and two restaurants; some rooms accommodate pets ($25). Two fine B&Bs, each providing contemporary comforts in a private setting and a full breakfast, bookend Freeport’s downtown core: White Cedar Inn (178 Main St., 800-853-1269, www.whitecedar inn.com, $158-$208; family suite $316-$346) and James Place Inn (11 Holbrook St., 800-964-9086, jamesplaceinn.com, $165-195). The family-run Casco Bay Inn (107 Route 1, 800-570-4970, www.cascobay
inn.com, $85-$105 through June 21 including continental breakfast) has spacious motel-style rooms. Those seeking a little retro charm should check out Maine Idyll (1411 Route 1, 207-865-4201, www.maine
idyll.com, $58-$125), a tidy colony of vintage 1930s tourist cottages. It would be hard to find a more peaceful escape from the shopping madness than Recompence Shore Campground (134 Burnett Road, 207-865-9307, www.freeport
camping.com, sites from $26, cabins from $115), part of the 626-acre waterfront nonprofit Wolfe’s Neck Farm Foundation.
Freeport draws visitors from around the globe, and it offers an impressively eclectic array of mostly casual dining options. Turkish and Mediterranean specialties, including gyros, kebabs, and spanakopita, are plated at Mediterranean Grill (10 School St., 207-865-1688, www.mediterraneangrill.biz, $16-$30). Savor Sicilian-stylecioppino and other Italian favorites at Azure Italian Cafe (123 Main St., 207-865-1237, www.azurecafe.com, $13-32). Harraseeket Inn houses two restaurants, both specializing in local and organic fare: the casual Broad Arrow Tavern ($10-$30) and the fancier Maine Dining Room ($23-$31). Pop into Buck’s Naked BBQ Steakhouse (568 Route 1, 207-865-0600, www.bucksnaked-bbq.com, $8-$30) for soul-satisfying ribs. Order beer and burgers or other pub grub classics at Gritty McDuff’s Brewpub (187 Lower Main St., 207-865-4321, www.grittys.com, $9-15). Prefer wine or martinis? Conundrum (117 US Route 1, 207-865-0303, $8-27) is a wine bar with a menu that addresses all appetites; find it at the Big Indian.
DURING THE DAY
Shopaholics easily can spend a full day browsing, bargain hunting, and buying in Freeport’s outlets and specialty shops. Walk-in clinics ($20) for archery, sporting clays, kayaking, and fly-casting, along with free sports clinics and group mountain and road bike rides, are just some of the activities available at L.L. Bean (main store: 95 Main St., 877-755-2326, www.llbean.com). Walk the trails and be sure to bring binoculars for a close-up view of the Googin’s Island osprey nest at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park (426 Wolfe’s Neck Road, 207-865-4465, www.parksandlands.com, $4.50). More trails lace Mast Landing Audubon Sanctuary (Upper Mast Landing Road, 207-781-2330, free). Walk or bike the easy 0.4-mile round-trip trail to a 485-foot peak at Bradbury Mountain State Park (528 Hallowell Road, Pownal, 207-688-4712, www.parksand
lands.com, $4.50). The nature trails and demonstration barn and gardens at Wolfe’s Neck Farm (10 Burnett Road, 207-865-4469, www.wolfesneck
farm.org) are a great place to introduce kids to nature; Saturday, May 19, is the farm’s Spring Festival ($5 or $20 per family), with demonstrations, hayrides, music, games, and the opportunity to view newborn lambs. See the effects of erosion on a narrated 30-minute coach tour of the Desert of Maine (95 Desert Road, 207-865-6962, www.desertofmaine.com, $10.50; $8.75 special in May). Don running shoes and join the Nike Run Club (207-865-0194), which departs from Nike Store in Freeport Village Station on Sundays at 2 p.m. Call to confirm.
Freeport Factory Stage (5 Depot St., 207-865-5505, www.freeportfactory.com) stages original as well as popular dramas and comedies. On weekends, Azure Cafe has jazz. Buck’s Naked BBQ has live music on Friday and a Joe’s Juke Joint Dance Party on Saturday.Hilary Nangle can be reached at www.MaineTravelMaven