If you enjoy perusing rows and rows of books while contemplating which you would like to read next, then you’re in luck. New England is home to a wide range of bookstores offering great selections, friendly atmospheres and plenty of opportunities to sow your creative oats.
White Birch Books (New Hampshire)
The exterior of White Birch Books, set in a quaint little house with a cute porch, does not accurately convey the size of the selection you’ll find inside. Nestled farther back on the road in North Conway, this indie bookstore carries an impressive number of books ranging from the latest best-sellers to a comprehensive local section. Since 1992, White Birch Books has been dedicated to promoting and supporting local readers and writers, making it a literary hub for creatives throughout the area.
Brattle Book Shop (Massachusetts)
Brattle Book Shop, located in Downtown Boston, is one of America’s oldest and largest used book shops. This store features two floors packed with used books, and a third floor filled with rare and hard-to-find titles. In total, Brattle Book Shop offers customers a selection of more than 250,000 books, maps, prints and postcards. In addition to his duties running the shop, proprietor Ken Gloss hosts a podcast called “Brattlecast,” in which he shares stories from the store’s history and provides his insight on different books. An expert in appraising, book collecting and bookselling, Gloss also frequently gives talks around the Boston metro area that are can’t-miss for individuals of similar interests.
The Book Barn (Connecticut)
Starting out as a room with a couch and three bookcases, The Book Barn has expanded to encompass more than 500,000 books across four locations in the seaside town of Niantic. The Book Barn works to unite “people and books together in biblioholic bliss,” and it does so not just with a great selection, but also with snacks and friendly cats. The Book Barn’s belief in the traditional brick-and-mortar shop is so strong that it does not engage in any sort of e-commerce, preferring instead that its customers come by in person to browse its wares and make purchases.
Barrington Books (Rhode Island)
Voted Best Independent Bookstore Statewide by Rhode Island Monthly’s Reader’s Poll, Barrington Books offers far more than just books. To complement its wide selection of literature, the store offers a mix of toys and gift items to fulfill every family’s needs. It also plays host to a number of community events. Sticking with the focus on family, Barrington Books’ story hour takes place three days a week and is ideal for children ages 2-5. Not only does story time include the dramatic telling of a child-friendly tale, but it also offers a related craft project that allows young ones to flex their creative muscles.
Owl & Turtle Bookshop Café (Maine)
After it originally opened in Camden in 1970, The Owl & Turtle Bookshop Café passed through several different locations before ending up back where it started on Bay View Street in 2016. The original bookshop motel has evolved to include a cozy cafe offering locally roasted beans from Coffee on the Porch and local pastries. With several readings and signings on the calendar and shelves stocked with a wide variety of books across all genres and interests, The Owl & Turtle has become a favorite gathering spot in the neighborhood for people who enjoy both a good book and relaxing atmosphere.
If you love to be among books, then you’ll find it easy to while away an afternoon among the shelves at these five New England bookstores. Once you’ve made your purchase, you can use your new books to whisk yourself off to the past or jettison yourself into a world that only exists between the pages and in your imagination.
This article is presented by CitySide Subaru in Belmont, Massachusetts.