Tuesday, December 29, 2009
My dad has been wanting to take me to his favorite antiquarian book store for a few years, now and Sunday, we finally made it. I have to say it was worth the trip. Surprisingly, it's located in the little Maine village my parents live in, and we've gone by it any number of times but have never stopped in (they have, of course). When you walk in, the smell, that wonderful musty smell of old books, all but overwhelms you. There's a shop cat, who was hiding, and oversized arm chairs in corners for the browsing that inevitably goes on.
As is the case with any book store for me, there were scores of books I wanted to get. I walked around with several while looking at the offerings on other shelves. Some I kept, some I ended up putting back. One, I held on to, even though it was $25 and I didn't really want to spend that much on a single book. There was a whole set of Jane Austen's books reduced from $450 to $200 because the bindings weren't so great. And he had two others for $70 apiece, but I couldn't bring myself to get them either, just so I could say I had some "old Jane Austen" books.
When we finally made our way to the cash register, I went to pay for my books first. My dad was insistent, though, that he pay for them. We went back and forth, me not wanting him to buy the $25 book for me, but he was firm, so I finally relented. The guy (owner) stacked our books up and said "How about $40?" We three gulped, for there was more than $40's worth of books there. My dad said "I can't cheat you like that." But now the guy was insistent. So, we walked out of there feeling very good about our purchase!
Next stop was my favorite primitive/folk craft shop, The Blue Door, also in the village of Alfred, ME. This time, the tables were turned on my dad, as he had never been here, whereas my mom and I go fairly often when I'm visiting. The owner makes quite a bit of her inventory, which is impressive all by itself. But you can also find genuine articles as well, making it an interesting visit, whether you purchase anything or not. That day, I bought belated Christmas presents for friends =)
I love little independent shops like this. There is one in Bolton, MA (where our family lived for more than 30 years before my parents moved to ME) nicknamed "The Salt Box" because it is a saltbox building. I used to say I could never see everything in it, no matter if I were to go in it every single day of the week. It was so crammed full of crafty and antiquey delights. These days, it's a little less crowded on the shelves, perhaps indicative of the economy. Still, a lot of fun to window shop in, if nothing else.