Freeport, Maine is a wonderful little town full of little shops and outlet stores, including L.L. Bean, the famous outdoor sports, adventure and clothing store. However, when we take a drive up to Freeport, L.L. Bean is not usually our primary destination. While we do visit, and shop, in other stores from time to time, our only “must stop” destination in Freeport is Bridgham & Cook, Ltd.
Located at 116 Main Street in Freeport, just a short walk down the street from L.L. Bean, Bridgham & Cook is a wonderful shop filled with all things British. If you love the U.K. like we do, this shop will please and delight you. It’s a little slice of British heaven right here in Maine.
Looking for that perfect teapot? They have it. Do you love Maltesers malted milk balls, but can’t find them anywhere? Bridgham & Cook has them. If you’re hooked on tea, Bridgham & Cook delivers, with many different brands such as Barry’s from Ireland, Marks & Spencer (from the London store of the same name), Typhoo, Taylor’s of Harrogate, and Glengettie (from Wales), to name just a few. They even have the hard-to-find PG Tips Decaf.
If tea isn’t your (ahem) cup of tea, not to worry–there are plenty of other things to make a dedicated Anglophile feel right as rain.
My youngest daughter and I were in the mood for a road trip and some Cadbury chocolate today, so we decided to make the drive north to Freeport to pay Bridgham & Cook a visit. My daughter was hoping for some Cadbury “Dairy Milk Buttons”, which are little, flat chocolate disks made of British Cadbury chocolate. They are absolutely delightful, and my daughter prefers those to just about any candy, including M&M’s and Hershey Kisses.
I suppose you’re wondering why we would drive so far north for some chocolate. Well, if you haven’t tried British Cadbury chocolate, you must–but be ready for a shock.
You see, while Cadbury does have an American division, and Cadbury chocolate is sold in just about any store that sells chocolate, it turns out that American Cadbury chocolates are not even close to being as creamy and delicious as the British version. The American Cadbury is licensed to…(drumroll, please)…Hershey Chocolate!
So what you think you’re buying when you buy Cadbury is actually just Hershey’s, albeit in a different wrapper. (You can read more about Cadbury here.)
When my youngest and I got to Bridgham & Cook today, we of course went straight for the sweets section. She needed a bit of help finding her buttons, but she did get them. Luckily, they also still had some British Cadbury Creme Eggs left in stock, so we got a few of those as well–and yes, they are just as delicious today as they were a month ago. Naturally, I had to try one, of course. Just to check.
We chose a few more treats, then we wandered over to their display of “Keep Calm and Carry On” merchandise. It’s my favorite saying. Today I added a little tea bag holder with the saying printed on it to my collection.
Bridgham & Cook carries clothes, blankets, placemats, soaps, fragrances, tableware, clocks, and much more. My daughter’s favorite is the little Queen Elizabeth that really waves the “royal wave”.
Bridgham & Cook also carries some beautiful pottery–my favorite are the crocks by Henry Watson’s Potteries. I particularly like the unglazed red clay pots, and I already own the Henry Watson coffee canister. My next purchase will be the Biscuit (cookie) jar.
There are so many wonderful things in this store, I just don’t have space to mention it all. However, they do have an online store, which is BritishGoods.com. So if you love British goods, gifts, and food, rest assured that they are just a mouse click away via the internet.
When we were ready to go, my daughter and I chatted with the lovely woman at the register for a few minutes while she rang up our purchases. I explained that theirs is our favorite shop in town, and she was very pleased and gratified to hear it.
“We appreciate your business,” she said. It turns out that there are only four independent, family-owned businesses left in all of Freeport. Bridgham & Cook is one of them.
If you read my post yesterday, about the 3/50 project, you will know already that my family and I are dedicated to supporting local and family-owned businesses. We have our own local shops that we support where we live, but we also take the time to make the drive north once every four weeks or so to visit Bridgham & Cook. Yes, it’s a long way to go, but the alternative–no British Shop at all–is simply too horrifying to contemplate.
Bridgham & Cook is exactly the kind of business that we should all support–that unique family-owned shop that offers goods, gifts and foods that you can’t get anywhere else. Their staff is friendly and kind, and they are always, always nice to the kids.
Bridgham & Cook, Ltd. is open year-round, although hours vary sometimes depending on season. They often have lovely specialty items at various times of the year. At all the major holidays they carry lots of fabulous sweets. During the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton last year, they had all the royal wedding merchandise you could hope for, including shirts that read, “KEEP CALM – YOU CAN STILL MARRY HARRY”.
Currently, you can find a large table display full of Diamond Jubilee merchandise in the back of the store, just in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration. The Jubilee is in full swing from June 2-5 in London. For those of us stateside, at least we can go to Bridgham & Cook for a tea towel…or even a t-shirt that says, “KEEP CALM – IT’S ONLY BEEN 60 YEARS.”
In the next week or so, the contents of their most recent container ship from England will have cleared customs, so there will be lots of new merchandise on the shelves.
Now is a great time to visit, as they’re clearing out some merchandise to make way for the new.
Next week would also be a great time to visit, to see what lovely goodies have just come “across the pond” from England.
Basically, anytime would be a good time to visit.
If you come to Maine, or you already live here, make a trip to Freeport, and go to Bridgham & Cook. You’ll be glad you did.
Don’t worry–you can send me a thank-you email later.
Disclaimer: Neither Bridgham & Cook, Ltd., nor anyone else gave me anything or paid me anything to write about them. It’s simply a shop that we love, and I wanted to share it with you. After all, keeping all this lovely stuff to myself would be hoarding
, now, wouldn’t it?
Enjoy these additional photos from the shop today. A somewhat larger (and clearer) version of each is available by simply clicking on the picture. Enjoy!