So one day I decided to drive to Townsend, Massachusetts and there, across the street from a New England town square so picturesque Norman Rockwell would blush, was Evans. The instant I walked in I knew things were a bit different. It had the smell of a real place. This was not an upscale boutique, but a place run by knowledgeable people. Its presentation was utilitarian, there are pipes hanging from the ceiling, but the goods were second to none. Inside I found outdoor gear I had only seen on the Internet, but here it was, all in one place, all in person. Filson, Kuhl, RAB, just about anything you could ask for, was all in stock.
Now none of this stuff is cheap. Its all expensive. Don't expect to leave with anything less than $100. But its all amazing stuff. The Outdoor Research gloves they carry are rated down to -40. And they are commensurately expensive.
Upstairs is where things get interesting. Upstairs there are two sections--outdoor gear and discount stuff. What kind of gear? They have Mora knives right next to Helle blades (and the contrast is stunning...those Helles are super nice...). They have a bunch of different pack brands and a wide assortment of REAL outdoor gear--water filtration, fire starting, and the like. This is not the outdoor section at Dicks that has Fieldline camo packs and portable seats (though Evan's does sell portable seats).
Once you negotiate the outdoor gear there are racks of discount items. And you can find real bargains. I got my Filson jacket, a model that was two years old (though never worn or used) for a huge amount off. It was originally around $600 and I paid $248. The stock here is basically random, whatever didn't sell on the first floor, but if you are careful you can find tremendous bargains.
Evans staff is also great. Not good, great. Imagine someone as knowledgeable as the best REI staffer, but without the weirdo piercings and attitude and instead possessing of small town charm. The outdoor guy knew a ton about Helle stuff, more than I could find online.
Evan's is totally worth a trip. There are a bunch of places around there to hike. Over the line in Mason, NH is Parker's Maple Barn for a good breakfast and down the main drag in Townsend there is a restaurant called Bailey's (I can't vouch for them, as I haven't eaten there, but I can for Parker's--its great).
Oh and they sell a ton of great shoe brands too.