It’s July and the dead heat of summer in the South is here to stay until September. The days are a series of dripping, hazy, white heat that transform from light to dark with crashing thunderstorms nearly every afternoon. These storms are the kind that make you want to sit crosslegged on the floor of a local bookstore and disappear inside a book.
“Just show me the books, as many as possible, and fill the walls and floors with them, as if in a padded cell of bliss.” says Rick Bass of Mississippi’s Square Books in Garden and Gun Magazine’s “Our Kind of Place: Square Books.”
Rick Bass’ essay got me thinking about planning a bookstore road trip. I live in Charleston, SC, an infamous tourist destination for the culturally hip, but a place too, that is lacking in independent bookstores. Any time I travel one of the first things I do is search for the local bookstore. My mom instilled this habit in me when I was young and we’ve spent many happy hours in various bookstores across the country. There are bookstores we’ve been dreaming about visiting like Judy Blume’s recently opened Books & Books, and Ann Patchett’s Parnassus Books in Nashville. But for now I’ll start with my family’s annual trip to Maine in August where soon after I unpack I’ll head to one of my favorites: Bridgeton Books. The owners have been in business since 1993 and have a knowledgeable staff, a fantastic selection of all genres, a fun area for kids to hang out, and a gorgeous selection of cards! This store embodies the local community and I look forward to visiting it all year.
I also love to drive to the stunning coast of Maine while we’re visiting and I make a point of stopping at Sherman’s Books in Boothbay Harbor. This store has been around forever and you can get lost inside. The bookstore is upstairs (downstairs is filled with gift items) and I’m always drawn to the kids’s section because we can never have enough great picture books! There is also a great selection of books on Maine that tempts me each time I visit.
I’ve never been to the Owl & Turtle Bookshop before, but this year we’ll drive to Camden to attend a book signing with one of our favorite Maine authors Chris Van Dusen whose kid’s books are so much fun to read aloud and are among my children’s favorites. This store has been in business for 45 years and is known for “hard-to-find marine titles and essential nautical charts, and a wide selection of books steeped in Maine and New England themes.”
Stay tuned for my “Weekend Getaway Bookstore Road Trip” where I’ll plan my visit to bookstores in Asheville and Charlotte, NC.
For more info on Bookstore Road Trips:
Garden and Gun’s A Southern Lit Road Trip