The BEST (and local) New England Souvenirs and Brands
Even when I was a kid, I was a big shopper when traveling. Besides the usual t-shirt, I collected those little bells with a picture of the state on the top of the handle. Remember those Spoons were the other option, but I much preferred the bells. It was my goal to collect all 50 states, but as I grew older, the trend of the bells seemed to wear out. Fast forward…I’m still a big shopper, but I like to embrace the area where I’m visiting and purchase local brands or products.
When chatting about New England, there are a ton of national brands that call the area home as well as state-specific, locally produced, and/or sourced products. Here’s a quick rundown of some options.
It’s “Title Town, USA,” so Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics, or Pats gear is a no-brainer. For the on-sports fan, maybe some gear from the local colleges – Harvard is a big one, but BC is popular too.
If you’re a sneaker-wearer/lover/collector, you can visit the HQs for New Balance and Reebok. Both are in the Boston area and have flagship stores onsite.
And finally, if you’re a foodie, try to make a reservation at the Parker Restaurant at the Omni Parker Hotel. Its history is an interesting one and it is the birthplace of Boston ream Pie. Enjoy a meal and a slice. Or they can ship frozen to your home. If you enjoy an adult beverage, wash it down with a Sam Adams. Or not, that combo is (wicked) gross. But you’ll find the main SA home in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.
LL. Bean’s campus and flagship are in Freeport and GH Bass, founded in Maine in 1876, has an outlet in Kittery. LL Bean is great for outdoorsy apparel and equipment (frequently worn in Maine) and a pair of Bass loafers will never go out of style.
Foodies, your turn. If there’s one recommendation we’d make, it’d be anything from Stonewall Kitchen. The specialty food brand has a company store and HQ in York and is a popular stop! Check out their wild blueberry jams and syrups (among other things)!
New Hampshire – Timberland, the boot and apparel company, was founded in Boston, but global HQ is in Stratham. It is said their recently renovated space has a retail component, but a backup can be found in Merrimack or North Conway.
More of a bath and body type? Badger Balm is a very popular, organic skincare company located in Gilsum. At certain times, factory tours and special events are held, and there is a company store on site.
First thoughts are likely maple syrup, Ben and Jerry’s, and Cabot Creamery. All good picks.
But we say, move over Build-a-Bear. Vermont Teddy Bear Company is in Shelburne. You can tour their factory where the bears are made by hand, go shopping (can build your own), and even visit Bear Hospital, where repairs are done by a Bear Doctor. Awww …
Since it’s the Ocean State, we’ll make a related recommendation – sea glass jewelry. You’re likely to find it at many boutiques across the state, but more so along the coast (Narragansett or Newport).
Calling all coffee lovers, make a stop at one of the many Dave’s Coffee locations around the state. Grab a cup and a bottle of … coffee syrup! Take it home, grab some milk and make Rhody’s official drink – coffee milk.
Couple of random things here. If you’re a silver or pewter collector or need a trophy, award or gift, check out Oldani Brothers in Meriden. They have a 70+ year history and have created pieces for Tiffany’s and Cartier!
Fashionistas unite! If apparel or handbags are more your thing, two brands are based in Connecticut. The apparel company (described as preppy), Vineyard Vines, was founded in Martha’s Vineyard but is now based in Stamford. Dooney and Bourke, if you’re a handbag or accessory person (raises hand), is in Norwalk. Neither has a company store on campus, but there are plenty of places in the area (and elsewhere) where you can find both.
So, there you have it, some New England-centric products. Of course, you can purchase some of these things online (think of this blog or your visit to the area if you choose to do so). Or you can wait, plan your trip, and purchase in the product’s home state! If you’re of the wait, plan, and purchase in person philosophy, reach out to us for the plan part 🙂
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