Outlet malls provide diverse shopping

The day after Thanksgiving the craziest shopping season of the year starts. All those holiday shoppers, who think they are getting a head start from the rest of us, really are not, since the day after Thanksgiving tends to be busier than the days before Christmas. Most of those very early birds also forget about the outlet malls.
Very popular in New England, there are over 27 outlet centers in the areas of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Both big name and small name brands hold factory stores in these locations, sometimes with prices nearly half of the retail value you would find in the store located in the most popular mall near your house.
As a Quinnipiac student with a low Christmas budget to prepare for the holiday season, it might be a good idea to take little day trips to the surrounding outlet malls to make sure you get something for everyone on our list.
A couple students went to Clinton Crossing Premium Outlet last weekend, just a 35-minute drive on I-95, to get an earlier than early start on their Christmas shopping. And I was on of them.
And early Christmas rush was just what I was in the mood for. A chilly brisk Saturday afternoon and we were off to find some bargains. And a bargain is what I found. In the Gap outlet for example, I found the fleece-hooded sweatshirt that my boyfriend had put on his wish list for less than half of its regular price.
Differences of $22 let me to believe I could continue my shopping and even grab a bite to eat in the food court. I later found a ski hat on sale for myself in a store that would normally be out of my range: Ralph Lauren outlet store.
One of my friends found a hat and scarf set for a total of $13 at the Gap while my other friend indulged in Fuzzywigs, a surplus candy store, filled with all kinds of goodies. Needless to say, we all left Clinton Crossing with a smile.
Clinton Crossing is just one of the outlet malls in Connecticut. The Westbrook Factory Stores is just a few exits further on I-95 and is also worth the visit. With stores like Old Navy, Nine West, J. Crew, it has a different line up of outlets the same amount of bargains and the same pretty setting.
It isn’t just the sales or great values that draws the crowds. The quaint, country setting also brings in the sales at these shopping centers. Most of them are brick buildings, attached in a chain form to look like a long plaza enclosed with a walkway, meant to resemble an old-fashioned market square. Fall and autumn scents fill the air as the shoppers leave with big grins from their “finds.”