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Photo: Erin Little

Where to Shop in Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME

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Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine are two small coastal cities right on the border of the two northeastern states. Small enough to see in a day but cool enough to stay a whole weekend (or even a week), the area is rich with colonial history, fun bars and restaurants, and maritime charm.

But while Portsmouth and Kittery are great places to visit, they aren't quite tourist towns in the same way some other coastal New England locales are (this isn't Cape Cod). That means the shopping in both towns provides a lot of variety — and almost none of is of the bumper sticker and sweatshirt gift shop type.

Instead, in Portsmouth, you'll find independent boutiques along quaint brick streets. Kittery has all the chain outlets the bargain shopper in you could desire, plus a tiny (but growing!) downtown area with a couple of must-visit indie shops.

Plus, the area is the perfect jumping-off point for a trip antiquing up Route 1 toward Portland, where you can basically throw a rock and hit a huge antique store filled with reasonably-priced, one-of-a-kind treasures. (There are too many places to even list, and you really can't go wrong exploring them.)

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Old As Adam

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This tiny vintage menswear shop is only open on the weekends, but definitely stop by if you’re there on a Saturday or Sunday. You’ll find old-school New England pieces like vintage collegiate sweaters or tweed jackets with suede elbow patches, all in good condition and put on great display. As a bonus, it’s on Ceres Street right by the harbor, where you can also get an ice cream at Annabelle’s next door or some fried clams at Ferry Landing across the street, if you want to do some food touring while you’re at it.
Photo: Erin Little
A homewares store with some clothing and accessories, Goods has a slightly nautical theme — you’ll find carryall bags made out of recycled sails, storm lanterns, and door mats made from lobster line, as well as plenty of blue and white stripes.
Photo: Erin Little

Bliss Boutiques

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Bliss is the best women's boutique in Portsmouth, hands down. It's a great place to stop for designer jeans and simple dresses as well as super soft sweaters — of which there are many at the moment — and cute jackets. The shops also stocks luxe undies and other accessories, too. Stop by Macro Polo next door for something totally different: toys, gag gifts, and silly souvenirs. (Sounds dumb, but it's honestly kind of fun.)

Photo: Erin Little

Saulte New England

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With locations in Boston and Portsmouth, menswear shop Saulte is definitely worth a stop. The brand stocks preppy-ish basics like high-quality oxfords, super soft sweatshirts, and Raleigh Denim jeans, plus smart accessories and extras like embossed wallets and New England field guides.

Photo: Erin Little

Wear House

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There's not a ton of great vintage shopping in the area, but there is great consignment and secondhand shopping. Hit up Wear House as well as Second Time Around just up the block (19 Congress St) for mint condition women's clothes with some designer pieces in the mix, including a pretty great selection of bags and other accessories.

Photo: Erin Little

Bull Moose Music

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A local buy-sell music chain only found in Maine and New Hampshire, Bull Moose is where the locals go to trade in CDs and used vinyl for new or used records, DVDs, and more. Even if you’re not in the market for any new music, it’s a pretty chill place to kill an afternoon.
Photo: Erin Little

Summer Sessions

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This may come as a surprise, but New Hampshire’s 18 miles of chilly coast actually have a strong surf culture. Summer Sessions, run by a pair of local brothers, operates surf lessons in Rye as well as two shops — one on Jenness Beach and one in downtown Portsmouth — where you can find boards and wetsuits as well as some pretty decent clothing for men and women, like Red Wing boots and furry cropped coats.
Photo: Erin Little
This adorable shop has pretty much single-handedly boosted the area’s style cred without at all feeling out of place. Folk carries of-the-moment women’s clothing brands like Lacausa and Ace & Jig that you’d still want to wear traipsing through the woods or on a rocky coast. It’s also a great place to shop for gifts; in addition to the women’s apparel and accessories, the shop carries ceramics, baby clothes, books, and other small giftable items. There’s not much to the downtown area, but check out the record shop and coffee shop next door.
Photo: Erin Little

Lil's Vinyl Vault

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Lil's, an adorable café and coffee shop, opened up this vintage record shop in the space directly next door to the café. Grab a coffee and a homemade pastry before you browse the records, which run a pretty wide range.
Photo: Erin Little

Tayla Mac

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Just down the street from Folk is Tayla Mac, which operates as sort of the inverse of Folk — it's more of a gift shop that carries some clothes. The ceramics here are a real highlight, as are the made-in-Maine home goods by Erin Flett and Maine Woolens. If you're really in the mood to shop for home goods, have the friendly shopkeepers point you in the direction of Amy Dutton Home around the corner.

Photo: Erin Little

Kittery Trading Post

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Portsmouth (and the rest of New Hampshire) may have no sales tax, but the Kittery outlets are where locals shop for discounted clothes from brands like Gap, J. Crew, Barbour, Lululemon, Levi's, Aldo, Express, and many more. If you're not in the mood for checking out deals at the chains, the only shop worth going out of your way for is the Kittery Trading Post. This huge sports and outdoor emporium is quintessential Maine: You can shop everything from flannels to winter boots, coats, sleds, canoes, skis, and much more.

Photo: Erin Little

Hidden Treasures Antiques

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Once you cross the border into Maine, there's an antique store about every 500 feet (especially along Route 1). If you're into digging, you really can't go wrong — each place has its own vibe and you never know what you're going to find, from furniture to vintage clothes to knick-knacks and toys, all at pretty reasonable prices. The multi-vendor antique malls, like Hidden Treasures on the way up to York, are particularly fun to browse because you get many different options in one big shop.
Photo: Erin Little

Old As Adam

Photo: Erin Little
This tiny vintage menswear shop is only open on the weekends, but definitely stop by if you’re there on a Saturday or Sunday. You’ll find old-school New England pieces like vintage collegiate sweaters or tweed jackets with suede elbow patches, all in good condition and put on great display. As a bonus, it’s on Ceres Street right by the harbor, where you can also get an ice cream at Annabelle’s next door or some fried clams at Ferry Landing across the street, if you want to do some food touring while you’re at it.
Photo: Erin Little

Goods

Photo: Erin Little
A homewares store with some clothing and accessories, Goods has a slightly nautical theme — you’ll find carryall bags made out of recycled sails, storm lanterns, and door mats made from lobster line, as well as plenty of blue and white stripes.
Photo: Erin Little

Bliss Boutiques

Photo: Erin Little

Bliss is the best women's boutique in Portsmouth, hands down. It's a great place to stop for designer jeans and simple dresses as well as super soft sweaters — of which there are many at the moment — and cute jackets. The shops also stocks luxe undies and other accessories, too. Stop by Macro Polo next door for something totally different: toys, gag gifts, and silly souvenirs. (Sounds dumb, but it's honestly kind of fun.)

Photo: Erin Little

Saulte New England

Photo: Erin Little

With locations in Boston and Portsmouth, menswear shop Saulte is definitely worth a stop. The brand stocks preppy-ish basics like high-quality oxfords, super soft sweatshirts, and Raleigh Denim jeans, plus smart accessories and extras like embossed wallets and New England field guides.

Photo: Erin Little

Wear House

Photo: Erin Little

There's not a ton of great vintage shopping in the area, but there is great consignment and secondhand shopping. Hit up Wear House as well as Second Time Around just up the block (19 Congress St) for mint condition women's clothes with some designer pieces in the mix, including a pretty great selection of bags and other accessories.

Photo: Erin Little

Bull Moose Music

Photo: Erin Little
A local buy-sell music chain only found in Maine and New Hampshire, Bull Moose is where the locals go to trade in CDs and used vinyl for new or used records, DVDs, and more. Even if you’re not in the market for any new music, it’s a pretty chill place to kill an afternoon.
Photo: Erin Little

Summer Sessions

Photo: Erin Little
This may come as a surprise, but New Hampshire’s 18 miles of chilly coast actually have a strong surf culture. Summer Sessions, run by a pair of local brothers, operates surf lessons in Rye as well as two shops — one on Jenness Beach and one in downtown Portsmouth — where you can find boards and wetsuits as well as some pretty decent clothing for men and women, like Red Wing boots and furry cropped coats.
Photo: Erin Little

Folk

Photo: Erin Little
This adorable shop has pretty much single-handedly boosted the area’s style cred without at all feeling out of place. Folk carries of-the-moment women’s clothing brands like Lacausa and Ace & Jig that you’d still want to wear traipsing through the woods or on a rocky coast. It’s also a great place to shop for gifts; in addition to the women’s apparel and accessories, the shop carries ceramics, baby clothes, books, and other small giftable items. There’s not much to the downtown area, but check out the record shop and coffee shop next door.
Photo: Erin Little

Lil's Vinyl Vault

Photo: Erin Little
Lil's, an adorable café and coffee shop, opened up this vintage record shop in the space directly next door to the café. Grab a coffee and a homemade pastry before you browse the records, which run a pretty wide range.
Photo: Erin Little

Tayla Mac

Photo: Erin Little

Just down the street from Folk is Tayla Mac, which operates as sort of the inverse of Folk — it's more of a gift shop that carries some clothes. The ceramics here are a real highlight, as are the made-in-Maine home goods by Erin Flett and Maine Woolens. If you're really in the mood to shop for home goods, have the friendly shopkeepers point you in the direction of Amy Dutton Home around the corner.

Photo: Erin Little

Kittery Trading Post

Photo: Erin Little

Portsmouth (and the rest of New Hampshire) may have no sales tax, but the Kittery outlets are where locals shop for discounted clothes from brands like Gap, J. Crew, Barbour, Lululemon, Levi's, Aldo, Express, and many more. If you're not in the mood for checking out deals at the chains, the only shop worth going out of your way for is the Kittery Trading Post. This huge sports and outdoor emporium is quintessential Maine: You can shop everything from flannels to winter boots, coats, sleds, canoes, skis, and much more.

Photo: Erin Little

Hidden Treasures Antiques

Photo: Erin Little
Once you cross the border into Maine, there's an antique store about every 500 feet (especially along Route 1). If you're into digging, you really can't go wrong — each place has its own vibe and you never know what you're going to find, from furniture to vintage clothes to knick-knacks and toys, all at pretty reasonable prices. The multi-vendor antique malls, like Hidden Treasures on the way up to York, are particularly fun to browse because you get many different options in one big shop.
Photo: Erin Little