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Two hours north of Boston and just north of Portland lies the very charming town of Freeport, Maine—population 8,000—most famous as the birthplace of L.L.Bean and for the New England-friendly outlet shopping (think Brooks Brothers, Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo, Bass, and Cole Haan) that's popped up around it. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Freeport is situated on Casco Bay, rife with all sorts of outdoorsy activity, and home to a tourist curiosity called the Desert of Maine.
After living within L.L.Bean's flagship space for years, L.L.Bean Home finally got a place of its own last September. And, it's nothing to scoff at—just across the Bean's massive Freeport campus, the vaulted, two level space is all weathered clapboard, tin ceilings, and sunlight. The perfect almost-rustic, so New England backdrop for the Bean's outdoorsy, Maine-inspired home collections.
Perhaps you were unaware L.L.Bean even offered home goods. If that's the case picture that catalog-perfect lake house (naturally, it's in Maine) and it's painted Adirondack chairs, Americana-colored quilts, wooden decoys and figurines of egrets and loons and chickadees, wooden footstools upholstered in lobster-printed canvas, and wicker bits with awning-striped cushions. It's all there—along with hand-painted mirrors, denim armchairs, reproduction alarm clocks, bedding bedecked in nautical motifs (and conversation hearts), hammocks, specialty cookware, quirky-utilitarian ceramics, and whale-printed beach towels. It's all extremely cute and preppy and relatively affordable; and if it all seems over the top then just consider it tongue-in-cheek.
The Bean-branded wares are rounded out with a collection of sourced oddities and one-offs. Some are antiques like a vaguely Oriental and brass carved chest; others are hand-crafted like a massive four poster bed carved from native red oak. At just under $1,000 to over $16,000 respectively, it's the one-offs that will really set you back. But, any perfectly appointed New England homestead needs that something special. And, if said homestead isn't in New England, they'll ship it—as we heard the warm and cheerful ladies on duty proclaim to just about everyone in the store.
· L.L.Bean [Official Site]
· L.L.Bean: A Monster Flagship that Must be Seen to Be Believed [Racked]
· All Maine Coverage [Racked]