You don't need to go to Boston for some good shopping and great bargains. Mansfield Crossing (280 School Street in Mansfield, Massachusetts) is a picturesque outdoor mall that has a little bit of everything, including an L.L. Bean store. (Gone are the days when you had to hike all the way up to Maine.) Located just off Route 140, the Crossing is just minutes away from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts.
This mall has a wonderful range of clothing stores, including Kohl's (all the way at one corner), Chicos and an Anne Taylor Factory outlet. A Borders bookstore sits on the same side as LL Bean, so we stopped in there to get our book fix and buy some fun greeting cards.
We chose to eat at Fresh Catch, a Mansfield seafood restaurant that isn't in the mall, but if you wanted to eat there you'd have plenty of options.
If you're looking to dine out while there, you'll find a Bertucci's, a Ruby Tuesdays and a Cold Stone Creamery, too. And foodies wil be pleased to know tat there's an actual Omaha Steaks store there as well.
We also managed to squeeze in household errands, popping over to the Shaws and Stop and Shop supermarkets that are just 5 minutes away. (Not part of this mall, but just off Route 140.)
If you're looking for the big bargain hunt, though, hop back in your car and rive about 15 minutes north on 495 to the Wrentham Village Premium outlets, where designer stores including Ralph Lauren, Anne Klein, Brooks Brothers, Dress Barn and J. Jill abound. There's no clothing tax in Massachusetts, which makes the shopping that much more of a bargain.