Shopping is one of those beloved hobbies of my past, b.k. And by shopping, I mean thrilling, all-day adventures in search of bargains and perfectly-fitting jeans for ME. Not quick Target run-throughs, throwing any shoes in the cart which may fit the kids’ feet, only to be tried on at home and inevitably returned.
Matt and I do sometimes get out to do grown-up stuff, like when we had a date night at the world’s largest Spanish restaurant, The Columbia, in Tampa. And occasionally, I still get to shop without the kids!
Where we went, and who was coerced into going:
Luckily, it takes little to convince my cousin-in-law Stephanie to join me at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, NY. She was our intrepid travel companion to Montréal, and is not intimidated in the least by the crowds and lines at this shopper’s paradise.
WHY did you go there, exactly?
Woodbury Common is the world’s largest premium outlet shopping center, which means two things in my favor. The first: there are 220 stores. The second: there are 220 stores all in one place. Which means a lot of walking is involved, but also – literally — one-stop-shopping! A much more efficient way to dispose of my money!
Plus, I needed new shoes.
Okay, what was so cool about it?
Yes, there are some fantastic brands at Woodbury Common, offering discounts so good the result is usually lines and controlled entrance times:
But even at “discount” prices, I’m still not in the market for Jimmy Choos (although they do have a store here). My eyes were on a different prize: Crocs. Go ahead, apply the suburban hausfrau labels to me. I can stand up to any insult…as long as I’m wearing my comfy shoes.
They did have some cute kids Crocs:
But I was there for ME, and I found two pairs for $10 and $15! Am I the only one who gets a cheap thrill from finds like this? I usually call it a “fate purchase,” because it was meant for me to discover. That’s how I justify it to Matt when I get home. Or else I just smuggle in the goods when he’s at work. Whatev.
Our other main destination was Le Sport Sac. Stephanie has a controlled addiction to these bags, and she was happy to lure me into her world of colorful canvas carry-alls. They were all 40% off, so I got myself a purse (I forgot to mention, I needed a new purse), and one of these cute backpacks for The Girl.
Okay, so I made one purchase for someone other than myself. Oh, and I got Matt some shirts for work. Many of you will recognize this as a clever smoke-and-mirror tactic designed to divert the spouse’s attention from the multitude of shopping bags entering the house. “Look what I got you, Pookie!”
If you were to bring your kids to Woodbury Common (I’ve never witnessed a shortage of stroller jockeys), there are amenities to accommodate you. There’s a nice playground, a lot of those coin-operated “rides” scattered around, snack machines and a food court with McD’s and the usual suspects. There are also several great stores, like Gymboree J.Crew/Crewcuts, NauticaKids, OshKosh B’gosh, Polo Ralph Lauren Children, and Tommy Hilfiger Kids. There’s also a Disney Store outlet and a Toys ’R Us outlet.
A little background info about the place:
The title of “world’s largest premium outlets” means that this outlet shopping center contains the largest collection of designer brands, like Burberry, Coach, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Lacoste, Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada, and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th. This distinguishes it from other “mainstream” outlet centers, the largest of which seems to be Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, FL, with more than 350 name-brand outlet and off-price retail stores.
TIPS: If you’re planning to visit, join the VIP Shopper Club in advance (it’s free), and you’ll get coupons and deals via email. If you’re a member of AAA, make the visitor info center your first stop, and ask for a coupon book. These aren’t available to the general public, and there are some pretty sweet deals on shopping and dining.
How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):
Hmm, let’s see…a day of shopping, without the kids. That’s a toughie. 8!!
Another reason to love these outlets: most days, the stores are open until 9:00pm. Including Sundays! That’s a long day to do some damage!
Hey YOU! Go BIG:
498 Red Apple Court Central Valley, NY 10917