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Known for years as a discount destination, Freeport, Maine turns up the charm and rolls out the red carpet.

Leon Leonwood Bean took an idea for keeping feet dry and started an empire, all in the quite calm of Freeport, Maine. But this seaside outlet haven is more than just a shopper’s delight. Thanks to recent upgrades and great eats, Freeport is the perfect getaway. 


Arrive in time for lunch and enjoy a fresh, homemade meal from Petrillo’s Italian Cafe. Sample their selection of fresh soups and handmade bread or relax in the outdoor seating area with a drink from the bar. 15 Depot St., 207-865-6055. The Broad Arrow Tavern, located inside the Harraseeket Inn, offers a comfortable setting with dining available next to a live wood-burning fireplace. Fill up on some Steamed Maine Clams followed by The Real Maine Meal with plenty of lobster. 162 Main St., 207-865-9377, Choose a bottle from the extensive wine list at the Azure Cafe in Freeport’s historic North End. The menu here encompasses local fare as well as unique Italian dishes that will leave you full and happy. 123 Main St., 207-865-1237, Jameson Tavern may be Maine’s birthplace, but it’s the food that matters. Head to the Tap Room for pub grub or opt for the Dining Room, where blueberry BBQ pork tenderloin and bacon-wrapped filet mignon await. 115 Main St., 207-865-4196,


The L.L. Bean flagship store, which originated here in 1911, still packs them in. Be sure to check out the indoor trout pond and the home department for some unique furnishings. 95 Main St., 207-373-2700, Also tour the upgraded shopping area in front of Nike and Bass. Take a break from shopping at the the Cold River Vodka distillery. Watch as one of Maine’s agricultural favorites, potatoes, are converted into the smooth traditional spirit. 437 US Rte. 1, 207-865-4828, Need a little adventure? The guides and instructors at Lincoln Canoe and Kayak will not only show you some hidden secrets in Casco Bay, but they’ll also teach you how to ride the surf. 8 Varney Rd., 207-865-0455,


Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens at the Harraseeket Inn, ideal during a springtime escape. Relax with an in-room massage or gather with friends in one of the 23 Jacuzzis. Pet-friendly rooms and children’s rates are also available. 162 Main St., 207-865-9377, Located just 250 yards from L.L. Bean, the Applewood Inn is the perfect spot for shoppers. All rooms have private baths, some with Jacuzzis and some that are pet-friendly. A 26-seat dining room table ensures plenty of lively conversation with other guests. 8 Holbrook St., 207-865-9705, -Andrew Christoffels