Friday, August 19, 2016

Bear Pond Books - Montpelier, VT

Bear Pond Books - Montpelier, VT
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As I tour the country visiting bookstores I'm fortunate to meet many wonderful people.  I'm here to tell you that midwesterners haven't cornered the market on niceness.  The folks I've met in Vermont and the ones in Bear Pond Books are just the same as midwest nice.  When you visit Bear Pond you'll soon find yourself immersed in an atmosphere that includes old and creaky wooden floors, lots of books and sidelines, an absolutely wonderful staff, and a tortoise.  No cat, a tortoise!  I think that's another first for me.  It's also one more reason for you to visit this terrific Vermont independent bookstore.

In terms of longevity, this store is up there.  It has been here since 1973, an amazing run.  Also amazing is that it's only in its 2nd ownership.  Claire B. and Robert K. are the current owners of a store that offers a good assortment of new and used books along with a nice variety of sidelines including greeting cards, puzzles, t-shirts, and unique socks that sell very well.  They're particular about the used books they take and offer customers store credit for their books.  You can find them shelved right along side the new books, identified by a blue dot on the spine.  Upstairs on the 2nd floor you'll find a good-sized children's section encompassing everything from board books (early childhood) all the way up through YA (young adult) lit.  And if you're lucky, you might see the tortoise.

I've quickly discovered that this community and Vermont in general is a very literary part of the country.  Bear Pond Books is one of many independent bookstores in the state and these places are strong because of their loyal, local customer base.  No surprise that this place has been here 43 years because they know their customers.  They also get good business from tourists, always a characteristic for successful indies.  And the store's location couldn't be any better, downtown Montpelier at the busiest intersection.

I had a great time meeting Claire, Lynne, one of the booksellers, and other staffers.  Everyone of them was wonderful to talk to.  Like other indies, Bear Pond enjoys an active events schedule and these are held right on the main floor.  And as with other indies, Claire told me she thinks things are trending up for independent bookstores.

If you're in the Montpelier area and have never been to Bear Pond Books, get with it!  For crying out loud, its been here 43 years!  Check out this remarkable store and you'll understand why it's a legendary independent bookstore.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  "I Hear You Paint Houses", Charles Brandt.  

SPECIAL THANKS:  For the free book tote bag from the folks at Bear Pond Books.

Another exterior view on a nice summer day to visit Bear Pond Books.  

You can start shopping before you even enter the store.  

View looking through the store from the front entrance.  That wooden floor is classic bookstore!  

Looking to the right from the front entrance and a great book display.  

Take a hard right around the front entrance and you'll see a nice space for stationery.  Some readers may recognize The Indie Bob Spot travel coordinator and graphic designer, Cheryl M.  

Take a hard left around the front entrance and you'll see a nice area for magazines.  

Some of the nice assortment of sidelines.  

Let your pet chew up one of these presidential candidates.  

These are only a few of the staff picks.  

View from the back of the store looking toward the front entrance.  

You can browse along the stairway on your way up to the 2nd floor.  

...and when you get upstairs this is what you'll find.  

Not too late to do a little back to school shopping.  

View looking into the store's 2nd floor.  

A portion of the children's section.  

Lots of creativity in this bookstore!  

Kids are going to have a blast checking this out!  

With Claire, one of the fine co-owners at Bear Pond Books.  Thanks for a great visit.  


  1. I love this book store. I shop there regularly

  2. Bear Pond is a highlight of each visit to Montpelier! The staff is friendly and helpful, and they know their books. Great atmosphere.

    1. You just listed all my reasons to come back to Montpelier! Thanks for the comment, Jim.