I was lucky enough recently to take part of my summer vacation in New England. Really we only made significant stops in Connecticut and Vermont, but that was enough to visit a plethora of independent book stores.
We stopped in a series of six small towns in Connecticut along Long Island Sound, not all of them have bookstores, but usually there was an antique store or two to sate my browsing needs instead.
Guilford - Breakwater Books: This was the first we visited. It was small, but that is part of the charm of independent bookstores. They had a relatively large children's section that had been stocked by someone with significant knowledge. Overall there was a large variety with some new publications as well as older favorites. I bought God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam. This is an adult novel I have had on a wishlist, but have not found in person. Certainly I could order it on-line, but I appreciated the opportunity to support a local bookstore.
Madison - RJ Julia Booksellers: Next we made our way to this town. By this time though it had started to rain and many of the main street shops had closed, but not this one. I could have moved right in to this bookstore and stayed for the rest of my life, or more realistically until closing time. It is a two story shop with a huge selection in a variety of well-chosen and organized categories. The booksellers were fantastically helpful and friendly. If I could stand the snow and find a job I would move to CT to live near this bookstore where I would be a regular. Here I bought The God of the Hive by Laurie King which I reviewed the other day and The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books we Shared by Alice Ozma.
Stowe - Bear Pond Books: I did not love this store. It was not peaceful and was inside a larger and touristy Stowe store, but it did have a section of Vermont authors where I found Snowflake Bentley a Caldecott winning picturebook from Vermont illustrator Mary Azarian.
Burlington - Crow Bookshop: This shop was mainly a used bookshop with some new items. There was a quite good picture book section where I found The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Gris Grimly. We did not spend too much time here as it was a girls shopping trip and we were on the hunt for fashion!
Shelburne - The Flying Pig Bookstore: Here were more superb YA and children's sections. I could have spent hours browsing, but this is rarely good for my wallet and usually upsetting to the people I am with who have less interest in just sitting and looking at books for hours. I was on a mission this trip to find Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer, since there has been some controversy over it. Sadly they did not have it, but the wonderful bookseller recommened Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock, which I got along with The 10 PM Question by Kate De Goldi, and Howl's Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones.
Johnson- Ebenezar Books (which does not seem to have a website). Because this was a small shop I was able to give the whole place a good going over. There was a nice selection, a mix of genres and interests. I did not buy anything here because quite honestly I felt like I had already bought enough books to keep me busy for a while to add to my extensive collection of TBR titles.
I also went to one library, in Waterbury, VT where they were having a book sale. I did not purchase any books, but found a puzzle for 50¢, that upon completion turned out to have all the pieces...what a coup!
If you are an independent bookshop junkie and are traveling make a point to find a few shops to support!