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Maine Lakefront Property
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Christmas Day Pilgrimage to L.L. Bean Becoming an Annual Tradition

December 28, 2009 - FREEPORT -- Cookies plated and set out for Santa Claus.

Check.

Presents torn open and scattered about house by 7 Christmas morning.

Check.

Kids bored with presents, ready for the ride to L.L. Bean on Christmas afternoon.

Check.

For Darlene Cole of Topsham, an annual visit to Maine's best-known retail store has become an essential part of her holiday routine. And judging by the steady flow of people in and out of the flagship store on Friday afternoon, there are plenty of others who feel the same.

"It definitely has a special place in my heart," Cole said as she walked into L.L. Bean around 1 p.m. with her sons Jackson, 7, and Philip, 4.

Cole said her grandfather used to take her shopping here when she was a girl, and when she returned to Maine as an adult nine years ago, Cole began her own tradition of visiting the store on Christmas Day.

"Everyone in my family knows that I love shopping here, so they get me gift cards and I get to pick things out on Christmas," she said. "It's fun to be around a lot of people on Christmas and everyone is always in a good mood."

Rebecca Spoerri-Bowman, her brother Glen Spoerri and his 9-year-old daughter Emma came to shop on Friday afternoon.

"We don't come here on Christmas every year, but it is a tradition for us," said Spoerri-Bowman of Lexington, Mass. Glen Spoerri, who lives in Cumberland, said his family always visits L.L. Bean with guests who are in town.

"We have friends coming so we'll probably be back here next weekend," he said.

Ryan and Patty Oliver of Waterboro had never been to the store on Christmas Day before. They brought their son R.J., who will turn 2 on Jan. 2.

"This was part of the Christmas plan," Patty Oliver said. "We decided to come up here and look around. We love to camp, so it gives us ideas about what we want in the future. We're making a wish list."

Adrienne Shibles of Harpswell came to the store with family, including mother Marsha Shibles of Harpswell and a cousin, Kaia Groneng of Edgecomb. They did the same thing last year and decided to meet at L.L. Bean once again.

Other Mainers took the time on Friday for their own Christmas Day traditions, either alone or in the company of crowds.

Terry Barnes of Portland got out of the house on Friday morning for a 3-mile walk around Back Cove. It's something that he has done for the past 15 years or so.

"We have a lot of get-togethers with family, so naturally I end up eating way too much good food," said Barnes, a 45-year-old carpenter. "It's good to get out, get some fresh air, do something active. It's also nice to be alone for a while. Sometimes you just have to have time to yourself."

In Brunswick, friends Nicole Dilley and Elizabeth Nichols met up for the 4 p.m. showing of the new movie "Sherlock Holmes." The parking lot was packed with cars at Regal Cinemas at Cooks Corner.

Dilley and Nichols, who met at their workplace about five years ago, have seen a movie together on Christmas for the past three years.

"For me it's just a fun break from all the standard holiday stuff," said Dilley, 30. She said the movie theater is one of the only places to go for entertainment. "It's a good escape."

By TREVOR MAXWELL, Staff Writer, Portland Pres Herald, December 26, 2009


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