The secret is out that Augusta has some of the best shopping in Maine. It’s close to the highway and all the big national stores are represented. The biggest place of all to get some shopping done is at The Marketplace at Augusta: It offers a great blend of national retailers like Barnes & Noble and Old Navy, with brands like ULTA and Christopher & Banks, too. You can also shop for bargains at Kohl’s or grab a bite with friends and family at Chipotle or Elevation Burger. Whether it is shopping for something you forgot at home, or maybe you just want to treat yourself while on vacation, you are bound to find what you need.
Sometimes the big stores don’t have the cool creations or local finds you desire. That’s why shopping small has so many benefits. The towns and villages along the Kennebec Valley have been welcoming visitors to the region for years. So whether it’s a bike repair, a whoopie pie, stylish earrings, artwork from a local gallery, or a new coffee mug, local artisans have their finger on the pulse of all the things you might be seeking.
Looking around, you’ll notice that all our towns have done a marvelous job creating areas to attract local merchants of all kinds. Snuggled between the area’s finest eating and drinking establishments, you will find new fashions, collectibles, and things that go zip and zoom for the kids. But keep your eyes open as you travel our byways, too: Delightful out-of-the-way shops are in the most surprising places.
Where to Shop? Well, Start on Main Street, Of Course!
As the centers of the community, they have all the “local stuff,” so it is always a good idea to begin your search along the main streets, then work your way out from there. Interestingly enough, the main street in many of our Main Street Maine communities is Water Street (Gardiner, Hallowell, Skowhegan and Augusta). Waterville has an actual Main Street at the center of town. In Fairfield look for Upper Main Street and in Skowhegan it’s both Madison Avenue and Water Street. Pittsfield shopping will be mostly along Somerset Avenue. In Winthrop head to Main Street off Route 202.
Stocking up for Camping
From Gardiner up to Waterville, there are numerous options for groceries. But Skowhegan is home to the last big grocery, a Hannaford, before you head into the Maine woods; you’ll also find a Walmart here for odds and ends you left at home. Farther up Route 201, there are terrific family-run places, and if they don’t have it, you don’t need it. These include the Solon Corner Market, Jimmy’s Shop & Save in Bingham, Berry’s in The Forks, and Bishop’s in Jackman.