My daughter, Elizabeth, lives in New York and we always look forward to a shopping day at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets when I come to town. I’ve visited most of the outlet malls around the world, researching Born to Shop, and unfortunately, the US malls often disappoint. Not so Woodbury Common! This is one of the best shopping adventures anywhere and it’s an easy one hour bus ride from Port Authority terminal in Manhattan. (When traveling in Europe, don’t miss the Value Retail Chic Shopping Villages (www.chicoutletshopping.com) I’ve begged the firm to bring their concept to the US; still waiting.)
Liz did her research and had a list of shops she wanted to visit including Rag & Bone, Lululemon, Le Creuset and Ralph Lauren. On my list were Diane Von Furstenberg, Tod’s, Etro and Bottega Veneta, among others.
Woodbury Common hosts about 220 shops offering discounts from 25% to 65%; some stores are the only brand discount sources in the US. Woodbury Common is home to high end designers including Ted Baker, Tom Ford, Valentino and Yves St. Laurent. The Tory Burch outlet is so popular, queues form at the entrance and a wait of 15 minutes or so is common. Worth it? Absolutely!
Note: The Chanel outlet store is no longer there.
A complete list of stores, along with a shopping map, is available on the company website, www.premiumoutlets.com.
We thought we’d save some time and money by booking our bus tickets online. BIG mistake! Liz booked our transport and discovered that actual tickets weren’t printed. She got a voucher requiring her to go to a ticket booth at Times Square to redeem the bus tickets. With no time to do this, we paid for new tickets and she will request a refund for the original booking.
Mistake # 2 – There’s a promotion on the website for bus service to the outlets from the East Side of Manhattan. Great idea, we thought. Liz lives on the East Side and I was staying at the InterConti Barclay on 48th at Lexington so we would meet at the Waldorf Astoria, the pick-up bus location. When we arrived, we were herded onto the open top level of a city tour bus for a ride across town. We were dropped off on Eighth Avenue at 41st Street and had to walk six blocks to Port Authority to board the bus to the outlets. This exercise was a huge waste of time and we know now to just go to Port Authority, buy a ticket and GO! Do arrive early as lines start forming for morning departures about an hour before the bus rolls.
The Woodbury Common website lists several bus companies offering transport from Port Authority but in fact, once you arrive at the bus depot, there’s just one big long line for the ride. $42 round trip.
Liz: From Rag & Bone – one dress, one sweater, one pair of booties. From Ralph Lauren - two pairs of sandals. From Lululemon – Two workout tops, one pair of leggings. From Le Creuset – one very heavy dutch oven.
Me: From Ralph Lauren – one silk scarf. From Tod’s – Two pairs of signature Gommino Leather Moccasin loafers. From Kate Spade – one wallet. From Diane Von Furstenberg – one dress.