Manchester Center has perhaps the best concentration of high-end outlets in New England. Among the notable retailers with cut-rate shops are Brooks Brothers, Coach, Baccarat, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Giorgio Armani, Mikasa, Polo/Ralph Lauren, Theory, and many more; there's something for shoppers young and old. Most of the shops are in tasteful mini-mall clusters in and around a T-intersection in the heart of Manchester Center. Hungry from all the shopping and window-shopping? In season there's an outdoor stand with Vermont's very own Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
If your interests include fishing or rustic, outdoorsy fashion, seek out Orvis, a Manchester-based local company that has crafted a worldwide reputation for manufacturing its top-flight fly-fishing equipment. The Orvis Company Store (tel. 802/362-3750) is between Manchester and Manchester Center and sells housewares, men's and women's clothing -- both for daily wear and sturdy outdoor use -- and, of course, fly-fishing equipment. Two small ponds just outside the shop allow prospective customers to try the gear before buying. A sale room, with even more deeply discounted items, is directly behind the main store.
Near the middle of Manchester Center, at the intersection of Route 7A and Route 30, is the Northshire Bookstore (tel. 800/437-3700 or 802/362-2200; www.northshire.com), one of the best bookshops in northern New England. It's not as large as a chain store, but so what? The shop stocks an excellent hand-picked choice of current titles, and a recent expansion increased shelf space and added a cafe. The store is open 10am to 9pm most days, to 7pm Sunday and Monday. Check the website for the upcoming schedule of author readings.
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.