Exploring New England in Fall, one of the finest journeys in North America, but it can be improved by visiting bookshops along the way. We have compiled a list of must-visit bookshops that sell via the AbeBooks.com marketplace. They vary in size and stretch from downtown Boston to deep into the woods and glens of Vermont and New Hampshire.
Manchester by the Book
Manchester-by-the-Sea is on Cape Anne in Essex County. It's beautiful to put it mildly. Manchester by the Book is in the middle of this small town and it has sold new, used and rare books since 1998. They have author events and there's a children's reading room. Owned by Mark Stolle, this is a true community bookshop with something for everyone and located in a picturesque seaside town too.
East Sandwich, Massachusetts
Titcomb's is a true family bookstore selling new and used books located in the heart of Cape Cod on Route 6A. You can't miss it. This store opened for business in 1969 and the landmark colonial man statue has stood in place since 1974. Now housed in three stories, the business also offers games, puzzles and cards. There's a cosy interior with a wooden staircase winding its way through the building. Titcomb's is dedicated to helping authors and regularly hosts signings by local and touring writers. Geraldine Brooks, Jodi Picoult and Jeff Kinney are just three of the authors to have stopped by.
A must-visit place if you ever spend time in Boston. One of America's oldest and largest used bookshops with two floors of general used books, and a third floor of rare books. In good weather, there are books to browse on the street. You'll recognize owner Ken Gloss from his many TV appearances on Antiques Roadshow on PBS. A short walk from Boston Common and numerous other places of interest.
The Odyssey Bookshop
South Hadley, Massachusetts
Located in a leafy courtyard, overlooking a church and a common, this much-loved bookshop offers new and used books with a regular schedule of author events. There's a book club for crime fiction fans, a first editions club and much more at this vibrant community-focused business. South Hadley is in the beautiful Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts.
Bearly Read Books
Betty Ann Sharp and Jim Ellis took ownership of Bearly Read Books in 2007. The store opened in 1988. Housed in a red building, this shop offers a wide selection of rare and antiquarian books, including leather-bound sets, history, classics, first editions, natural history, gardening, and science fiction and fantasy. Sudbury is about an hour outside Boston. It has a lot of history and plenty of places to explore.
Grey Matter Books
Not that easy to find. Watch out for signs on Route 9. Their website says "located just off the bike path." Look out the white door. Housed in a barn, this bookshop offers general used books but with a strong focus on scholarly books. Lots of humanities, science, philosophy and poetry as well as first editions and rare books.
Henniker Book Farm
Henniker, New Hampshire
Books in a barn - how wonderful, and watch out for Toby, the bookshop dog. Established in 1964, this fine used bookstore is 17 miles west of Concord and 80 miles north of Boston in an absolutely stunning part of New Hampshire. Gary and Melinda McGrath, the owners, offer more than 30,000 books, including strong selections in history, biography and science. Henniker itself is a classic small New England college town and worth a visit.
Monroe Street Books
Vermont's largest used bookstore with 100,000 books including general used copies, out-of-print and rare antiquarian editions. A big, big store with more than enough books for even the most demanding reader or collector. A three-minute drive from Middlebury on highway 7 but don't go flying past - this place doesn't look like a traditional bookshop. It used to be a truck garage. Husband and wife team Dick and Flanzy Chodkowski own the store. They moved the business to this location in 2004 and its cheeky motto is "browsing is arousing." The original Monroe Street Books opened in 1992 and was located Middlebury.
The Country Bookshop
Fifteen minutes from Montpelier and located near the Winooski River waterfall, the Country Bookshop has 60,000 books and a great deal of ephemera such as postcards, vintage photographs, and prints. This is the kind of place where you never know what you might discover. Located in a 100-year-old building, there are many books on folklore, Vermont, and folk music - in fact owner Ben Koenig is rather musical himself. This bookshop has its own theme song.
Carlson Turner Books & Bookbindery
The bookshop border collies are Laynee and Willow. This is a traditional antiquarian and used bookshop offering more 40,000 antiquarian, scholarly, and used books. Strong in nautical, travel, civil war, history, railroad, and local interest titles. Carlson Turner also stocks rare manuscripts, maps, photographs and fine art prints. The bindery offers repair, restoration and conservation services. This urban bookstore is located in a fine redbrick Victorian building opposite a cemetery in the east end of Portland.
A real hidden gem. The bookstore is located in a building behind the home of owner Bill Goring. The house was built by a Swiss immigrant who had a construction company. The building in the rear was originally his millwork operation. Over the years it has served as a parking garage, a car repair place, and a storeroom. Nutmeg offers about 15,000 books, mostly non-fiction. Nutmeg started in 1977 in downtown Torrington and moved to this location in 1983. Before selling books, Bill was a freelance writer and editor, and jiu-jitsu teacher. Nutmeg is open most afternoons from 1pm to 6pm but it's best to call ahead.
Lavender Path Antiques & Books
Located in the northwest corner of Connecticut, this eclectic business is found in a historic building built in 1783, which has been previously used as a church, school, town hall, and a literary salon for a magazine publisher. More than 20,000 titles in stock, including a large selection of cookbooks, children's series, occult and gardening books. Gardens surround this small haven of historical objects. Harwinton is in Litchfield County and has that classic Connecticut small town atmosphere.
This is an appointment-only bookstore but it might be worth the effort to plan a visit. More than 200,000 scholarly and academic books are for sale, and Elliot's specialty is out-of-print Yale University books - Northford is a 20-minute drive north of New Haven where you find Yale. Elliot Ephraim began selling books in 1957. Call ahead to plan a visit (203-484-2184).
Providence, Rhode Island
This is the largest used and rare bookstore on Rhode Island. They specialize in Rhode Island history, New England history, art and architecture, modern first editions, poetry, and mathematics. More than 70,000 books from pulps to antiquarian titles in downtown Providence.
The Shire Book Shop
Out-of-print, used, and collectible titles across many genres. Around 100,000 books in a turn-of-the-century building equipped with comfy chairs for in-shop reading.
Bear Pond Books
A very active bookstore that's been around since 1973. The Winooski River is close by and that means this store has endured two floods but always bounced back. New and used books. You can't go wrong with Bear Pond - a classic bookshop in Vermont's historic capital.
Hermit Hill Books
A large inventory of used, out-of-print, and collectible books with plenty of history, poetry, science, nature literature, modern first editions, and books on Vermont. Hermit Hill Books has been in business since 1997 and this location has two ample rooms with nooks and crannies for reading. Staff includes Tucker the corgi, Harriet the cat and owner Patty McWilliams. Poultney is located on the western edge of Vermont, close to the New York border.