Hobart Book Village: A Bookworm's Dream in the Catskills
Hobart Book Village is a sleepy, picturesque Catskills town filled with used books and people who love them. Here, many of the shoppers have traveled great distances to browse the 5 bookstores on Main Street (it's a 3 1/2-hour drive from Brooklyn and about an hour due west of our usual stomping grounds in the town of Durham), and many of the booksellers have retired from fast-paced careers only to start their lives anew as friendly salespeople among the shelves.
If, like me, you're the sort of person who finds great joy in a well-worn cookbook, storybook, travelogue, or mystery novel that's just waiting to be reread and reborn, then you could happily spend a day or two browsing the aisles here (while dreaming about which shop you'll take over during your own retirement).
If you'd like to have a meal or two, and maybe even sleep over, you have a few options. There's a great little diner called the Coffee Pot open for breakfast and lunch (be warned that it closes at 1:30pm daily and 11:30am on Sundays), and a proper English pub called the Bull & Garland, which opens for dinner Thursdays through Sundays at 4pm and has a king suite and junior suite available for overnight stays.
Now keep in mind, this is a tiny countryside town. And each shop has its own homespun vibe, some feeling a little mustier and dustier than others. If you want a must-read, life-changing book to jump out at you, go to Books Are Magic, my amazing hometown bookshop in Brooklyn. Here, you'll have to hunt for the treasures, and that's part of the charm.
My 6-year-old son, Archer, was so thrilled by the old books at Wm. H. Adams Antiquarian Books that the proprietor happily directed him to a glass case housing the oldest book in town, a copy of Strabo's Geography printed in 1557.
If my children had longer attention spans, I could've devoted a couple of hours to the meticulously organized selection of old post cards (alphabetized by town of origin) at Liberty Rock Books.
I've been looking for local postcards to frame and hang in our double-wide, and I had to grab this one, addressed to Peg of Park Slope, who would've been the prettiest girl in East Durham, had she made the trip in August of 1963.
We found some great old children's novels from Blenheim Hill Books. But my favorite find, The Nancy Drew Cookbook, complete with many antiquated dinner ideas and one truly, wonderfully horrifying, green, gelatinous "salad," came from Creative Corner Books. (Flip through the photos below to find the recipe!) Here are a bunch of the books we brought home, minus a few princess tales and a Bobbsey Twins mystery that were in use during my photo shoot:
If you pick up a passport at your first stop in Hobart Book Village and get it stamped at each shop, you'll be granted 5 "book bucks" to spend however you see fit. I had no trouble spending it immediately. My only advice for book lovers making the trip to Hobart: Bring an empty backpack for all your finds!