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North Conway was one of northern New England's first major outlet centers. Now as many as 200 shops clump along the main drag, which extends some 3 miles northward from the junction of Route 302 and Route 16 in Conway into the village of North Conway itself.

Curiously, the outlet scene here has lagged somewhat in recent years -- the selection is not as upscale as that in Freeport or Kittery, Maine, or in Manchester, Vermont. However, one outlet center has been a smashing success, expanding and absorbing much of the surrounding business into what is now a villagelike mini-mall. That place is Settlers' Green Outlet Village (tel. 888/667-9636; www.settlersgreen.com), and shoppers should start here. The center has more than 60 shops, including J. Crew, Brookstone, Harry & David, Nike, Orvis, and the Maine gourmet food star Stonewall Kitchen.

Nearby is the popular L.L.Bean (tel. 603/356-2100) factory outlet, just north of Settler's Green. Speaking of the outdoors, there are three more good outdoor equipment suppliers in or around North Conway: International Mountain Equipment (tel. 603/356-7013) and Eastern Mountain Sports (tel. 603/356-5433) are both on Main Street, just north of the village green. Except for Bean's, the best for selection and friendly staff might be Ragged Mountain Equipment (tel. 877/772-4433 or 603/356-3042), 3 miles north of town in Intervale on routes 16 and 302.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.