Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Montague Book Mill - Montague, MA

The Montague Book Mill, Montague, MA
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Readers, let me give you a list of a few things that you'll need to visit this store.  You'll need a compass, a map, a New England tour guide, GPS, smart phone, and all the scouting skills you can muster.  I'd been alerted at other bookstores that this can be a tricky place to find and they were right.  Karen, one of the staffers, told me that they frequently get calls from lost bookstore pilgrims who need help finding the store.  I urge you to persevere on your journey here because once you arrive you will be rewarded with an experience at a beautiful bookstore located in a historic building in a scenic setting.

Once you visit The Book Mill, you'll understand this sign.  
Not many bookstores are surrounded by as much natural beauty as this one.  The store is in an old grist mill on the Sawmill River, a building that is on the National Historic Register and built in 1834,  The view of the river from either level of the 2-level store is spectacular.  There is a roar from the river rapids that is so loud you can clearly hear it in the store.  They even have a sign in the adjacent cafe discouraging cell phone use so you can enjoy the sound.

The store has been around for about 30 years and current owner, Susan S., has been here for 11.  This indie offers all used books with just a few sidelines that include greeting cards and Book Mill swag.  Customers can receive store credit or cash for their used books they bring.  There is an attached cafe (this is a separate business) which makes a great partnership with a bookstore and there is a higher end restaurant on a lower level.  This bookstore has appeared on many national lists and publications and I can certainly see why.  After visiting, I can also understand why it is a destination.  Since most stores can't subsist solely with tourist customers, the Book Mill is in a great location surrounded by 5 colleges that bring in many locals.  These collegiate communities all take advantage of the store's proximity, especially many students who find this to be an ideal study and work setting.

Susan and Karen were wonderful to meet and patiently told me so much about the store and business.  These two are the other reason that makes this place a destination.

So bring your directional aids and all your wits with you.  The pay-off is huge and you'll know the reason that this is a top destination for book people.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  Didn't.  Exit West, Mohsin Hamid.  The first part of this novel was the realistic story of a young couple in a Middle East city ravaged by war, shortages, and challenges to survival.  But then the author started adding magic doors where the couple ended up in London, the beach, a hotel room, and various other places.  I gave up after the magic doors.  This book has won some awards but it wasn't a fit for me.    

CURRENTLY READING:  The Original Ginny Moon, Benjamin Ludwig.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Crossing To Safety, Wallace Stegner.  Not purchased but gifted, a cool Book Mill t-shirt.  Thanks Susan.

Another exterior view.  This covered walkway leads to the entrance on the 2nd floor.  You can see the main level entrance below.  

A very fitting slogan for this bookstore.  

View looking into the store from the 2nd floor entrance.  This is a unique and very comfortable space.  It's easy to see why students like coming here.  Lots of tables and comfortable chairs, almost like a library.  

Looking to the right from the 2nd floor entrance.  Avid readers may recognize the celebrity browsing the table of books.  Yes, that's my mom.  

View to the left on the 2nd floor.  

Yes, I could get quite a bit of reading done here.  

View looking into one of the side rooms on the 2nd level.  

View looking down onto the Sawmill River from the 2nd level.  It doesn't matter where you are in the bookstore, this view never gets old.  

Another one of the side rooms on the 2nd level, this one containing many art books.  

And another one of my favorite views.  My only regret on this visit is not seeing these views in the summer, fall, winter, or late spring!

View looking across the main room on the ground level.  

When you come downstairs from the 2nd level, this will be your view as you enter the main room and look to the left.  

A few of the sidelines available.  

View looking across the back of the main room on the ground level.  

One of the book nooks.  

Looking down the children's aisle.  

One of the side rooms on the main level.  

A long view of the main level side room, lots of fiction shelved in this room.  

Did I mention that there is a great view here?

This is an overview of the cafe that is attached to the bookstore on the main level.  Notice all the window space that offers a great view of the Sawmill River.  

With Susan on the left and Karen in the middle, two of the fine people you'll meet at The Montague Book Mill.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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