On the Straits of Mackinac

Does this look like an ocean side hotel on the coast of Florida?


Fairview Inn, Mackinaw City, Michigan

Would you believe it is on the sandy beach of Lake Huron in Mackinaw City, Michigan?

After driving north through central Michigan, our plan was to visit Mackinac Island by ferry the following day, so we chose a hotel in Mackinaw City on the shores of the  Straits of Mackinac where Great Lakes Huron and Michigan meet.

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinaw City sits at the upper tip of the Michigan mitten — at the base of the great suspension bridge that connects lower Michigan to its upper peninsula, the Mackinac Bridge.   The bridge was designed by the great engineer David B. Steinman and opened on November 1, 1957.  It is still the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere with 7,400 feet of roadway suspended in the air over the straits of Mackinac.

Mackinaw City is the docking place for many ferries that take passengers and supplies to Mackinac Island, a national historic landmark and State Park reachable only by boat (or small plane).

View from our hotel room

View from our hotel room in Mackinaw City

Rich in history and home of the glorious Grand Hotel and beautiful old Fort Mackinac, the island has never allowed cars and is pure heaven for horse lovers, pedestrians and bicyclists.  More about that later!

Within walking distance of our hotel we found a nice place for dinner called Blue Water Grill, and dined on their outdoor patio.

Blue Water Grill & Bar - Mackinaw City, Michigan

Blue Water Grill & Bar – Mackinaw City, Michigan

Later we enjoyed the beautiful summer evening on the beach.  Water was crystal clear and perfect temperature for swimming.  And NO SHARKS!!


I did see an otter swim by me, though while I was wading in the lake during the evening.  Unfortunately I did not capture his photograph…


Thanks for following along on our recap of our 2016 summer Midwest book scouting adventure.  The next post will take you with us to Mackinac Island!  Stay tuned…



D.W.I. (Doughnuts Were Involved)

We ran into a little trouble as we drove northward through the middle of Michigan on historic Rte. 27.


It happened in Clare, Michigan!

Doughnuts were involved.

20160713_162657_resized 20160713_162650_resized

In point of fact, it was a maple frosted long-john with two strips of bacon on top, which went by the name of “The Squealer” that got Ron into trouble…

YES, he ate this!!

YES, he ate this!!

I was able to get him out from behind bars, though, because this place actually has some of the sweetest cops in the world backing it!  In continuous operation since 1896, it was saved from imminent closing awhile back by a band of brothers (all nine members of the local police department).   Hence, Cops & Doughnuts!!  Visit their Facebook page HERE.


Cops & Doughnuts, 521 N. McEwan St., Clare, Michigan

Cops & Doughnuts, 521 N. McEwan Street, Clare, Michigan


The baked goods are fabulous, fresh, and irresistible.  People stand in line to get at them.  And there are loads of amusing souvenirs, especially t-shirts with witty slogans.  Great pit stop for any road trip.  Have some doughnuts AND some laughs!


  Just don’t get thrown behind the wrong kind of bars!!


While you are in Clare, have a stroll around town.  If you are a nostalgia lover, you will be happy here.

Me? I go straight for the ice cream!

Me? I go straight for the ice cream!


and then there is this beautiful retro movie theater…The IDEAL…


AND a wonderful little hamburger joint…


For more information about enjoying a good old fashioned road trip through Michigan on historic U.S.  Rte. 27, click HERE.


Follow us soon to Mackinac Island, then across the Mackinac Bridge to the upper peninsula of Michigan.


Curious Book Shop – East Lansing, MI

We drove through quite a thunderstorm as we left Ann Arbor on the night of July 12, with lightning streaking across the darkened sky.  We spent the night at a Courtyard Marriott in Brighton, a western suburb of Detroit.  The next morning dawned sunny and beautiful, and we made our way northwest to East Lansing, Michigan.


Here I am in front of the Curious Book Shop, 307 East Grand River, East Lansing, Michigan

Curious Book Shop is owned by Ray Walsh, and has been around since 1969.  It has a huge inventory of old books, magazines, comics and movie and sports material, all nicely organized.


Owner - Ray Walsh and me, Curious Book Shop, E. Lansing, Michigan

Owner – Ray Walsh and me, Curious Book Shop, E. Lansing, Michigan



Lots of great inventory to browse through here!

We found that Ray had a nice selection of older books, including decorated American trade bindings.  He also had some nice L. Frank Baum selections, including this one, which we purchased:

The Surprising Adventures of the Magical Monarch of Mo and His People (by L. Frank Baum - Bobbs Merrill, 1903)

The Surprising Adventures of the Magical Monarch of Mo and His People (by L. Frank Baum – Bobbs Merrill, 1903)


Here is a beautiful Arts & Crafts binding signed by author George W. Stevens which we purchased here:

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He also had some wonderful books on magic!

Modern Magicians' Hand Book, by William J. Hilliar (Frederick J. Drake & Co., Chicago, 1900)

Modern Magician’s Hand Book, by William J. Hilliar (Frederick J. Drake & Co., Chicago, 1900)


This is a shop you can spend hours in (three floors containing around 50,000 items), so plan accordingly if you visit!


Next, join us as we point the car up old Historic Route 27, right through the middle of the Michigan mitten!


More from the Great Book Town of Ann Arbor

The fourth bookstore we visited on July 12, 2016 in Ann Arbor.  Here I am in front of Motte & Bailey Booksellers in Ann Arbor, Michigan…


Motte & Bailey offers over 10,000 volumes of used and rare books in a spacious and well-organized store located at 212 N. Fourth Avenue.


“Motte & Bailey” is a type of medieval Norman castle, a wooden palisade rising on a mound of earth, found in many places in England, Wales, and Scotland…this name was chosen to reflect the specialty of the store’s inventory, books concerning all the various aspects of history.  But there are books from nearly all genres here, and all in lovely condition.   We found Gene Alloway manning the desk at the front of the book store; he has been active in the business since 1996.


With Gene Alloway, Proprietor of Motte & Bailey Booksellers, Ann Arbor, Michigan


Here is an example of a title we purchased at Motte & Bailey:

Two volume set of "Ramona" in a decorated binding (Little Brown, 1900) SOLD

Two volume set of “Ramona” in a decorated binding (Little Brown, 1900) SOLD

I highly recommend a visit to this bookstore if you are in Ann Arbor — it was one of my favorites there.

The fifth book shop we visited in Ann Arbor was charming beyond belief.  I felt as if I had stumbled into a time machine and stepped into a bookshop on some old London street.




A wiry, spry man with pale gray hair and glasses greeted us as we came into the shop, in his crisp white shirt and a neatly tailored charcoal gray vest.  This turned out to be Richard Leahy, who takes charge of the night shift at the store.  You must envision him from my description, because he does not like his picture taken.   A shame, because he added so much to our visit at this store…but I guess you will just have to go there yourself (in the evening) if you want to experience the pleasure of meeting him.

By now it was about 6:00pm, and we were starving.  We were assured that the store would be open until 8:00pm, and asked Richard for advice on where to eat dinner nearby.  He directed us to an Italian restaurant just a few blocks away.  It was a delightful place called Gratzi.

Grazi Restaurant, 326 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI

Gratzi Restaurant, 326 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI

Gratzi had an excellent wine list and their food was fabulous.  You know how we usually take photos of what we are served in restaurants?  Especially when it is beautifully presented??  Well, we were so hungry we didn’t even pause for those photos this time!  Take it from me, the food and wine was top notch.

With full tummies, we walked back to West Side Book Shop, where Richard was waiting to assist us as we combed through their beautiful inventory.

Inside West Side Book shop, 113 West Liberty, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Inside West Side Book shop, 113 West Liberty, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Here are a few of the items we spirited away from this book shop:

The Small Yacht by Edwin A. Boardman (Little Brown, 1923)

The Small Yacht by Edwin A. Boardman (Little Brown, 1923)


Star-Dust by Fannie Hurst (A. L. Burt, 1921)

Star-Dust by Fannie Hurst (A. L. Burt, 1921)

Star-Dust by Fannie Hurst (A. L. Burt, 1921)


The Spirit of the North (Cupples & Leon, 1935) - inscribed by author LeRoy W. Snell

The Spirit of the North (Cupples & Leon, 1935) – inscribed by author LeRoy W. Snell


Join us in the next post, we will be leaving Ann Arbor (sob!) and driving to East Lansing, Michigan.

More Great Book Stores – Ann Arbor, Michigan

You just never know who you’ll find sharing the aisles with you in a book shop.  Here I am in Dawn Treader Book Shop, where I found someone who has been around for a long time.  Much longer, even, than me!


In front of Dawn Treader Book Shop, located at 514 East Liberty Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

20160712_114601_resized                   This book shop boasts over 70,000 titles and has been around for twenty-two years.


Owned by Bill Gilmore, we did not have the opportunity to meet him.  But the staff was helpful and knowledgeable.  Here I am with Mary Elizabeth Parker, who assisted us during our visit.


We had a grand time shopping in this spacious and friendly store which carries something for everyone, from fine literature to science, travel and exploration, science fiction, signed first editions, decorated bindings and much more.

Here is one example of a lovely decorated binding we purchased there…

A Checked Love Affair (First Edition, 1903, Dodd Mead) SOLD

A Checked Love Affair (First Edition, 1903, Dodd Mead) SOLD

And a lovely old Gene Stratton Porter novel in its original dust jacket…

The White Flag (First Edition, Doubleday Page, 1923) SOLD

The White Flag (First Edition, Doubleday Page, 1923) SOLD


Next, we headed over to Kaleidoscope Books, at 200 N. Fourth Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Here we found owner Jeffrey Pickell among his immense collections of books and memorabilia.  Plan to spend some time sifting through a lot of material here if you make a visit…



Jeff Pickell at work in his store, Kaleidoscope Books

Jeff Pickell at work in his store, Kaleidoscope Books, Ann Arbor, Michigan

We found some very nice Modern Library editions in the store.  Here are a few examples…



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All that hunting through books and paper makes one a little dry, so it was time for a thirst break.   So far, three book shop visits (see previous post) in Ann Arbor, all in one day…  and it’s Bloody Mary time!


We wandered into Bar Louie and found they served up a pretty good Bloody Mary!

Ron's favorite part of our book scouting trips!

Ron’s favorite part of our book scouting trips


I’ll be back soon, sharing more book scouting adventures in Ann Arbor, Michigan.



Ann Arbor – Beautiful Book City

I’ve missed you all, and YES, we are still doing our crazy cross-country book scouting road trips.  The one we did this summer was a doozy!  I’m finally back at the keyboard and ready to share details and photos of the trip with you–along with all the fun and surprises of an American road trip (with books).

In early July we hopped in our convertible (top down, smiles on!) and headed west through a corner of Pennsylvania and Ohio, and then up north through the mitten of Michigan.  Our first book scouting stop was in the beautiful and bookish city of Ann Arbor.


In Ann Arbor, book shops are all over the place!  We visited FIVE of them, and it’s probably going to take me that many posts just to cover the fantastic time we had in this wonderful city of friendly people, great book stores and excellent food.


(Above and below: messages on the bricks of Literati Book Store, downtown Ann Arbor)




Literati Bookstore, 124 East Washington St., Ann Arbor, Michigan  48104

Literati Bookstore is full of fresh new books that will be collectible someday, and it is a beautiful store.  However, being used & rare booksellers, we headed on over to Aunt Agatha’s – a store that specializes in mysteries, detective and true crime books.   They have an inventory of about 25,000 books, both old and new.

20160712_180412-1-1_resized.jpg                                    213 S. Fourth Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Here I am with owner James Agnew, standing by some paperback offerings.  The store carries both hardcover and paperback editions.20160712_152854_resized.jpg

Aunt Agatha’s won the 2014 Raven Award, presented by Mystery Writers of America!


Established in 1953, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing (in this case, for being an outstanding mystery bookshop!)

The store boasts some nice mystery movie memorabilia as well…



Aunt Agatha’s always has lots of author-signed books available.  If you love mysteries, thrillers, or true crime, you really must visit this store.

If you love CHOCOLATE, you really must visit this store…Schakolad Chocolate Factory 110 East Washington St., Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Ron is peeking into the window for a very good reason…the chocolate in this place is AWESOME.  I followed him in, and YES, we did indulge!


See us back here soon to come along as we explore more book stores and fun places in Ann Arbor, Michigan and beyond.



We Are Chapter 47. Woo-hoo!

It was such an honor and a pleasant surprise for Ron and me when we learned we were featured in Rebecca Rego Barry’s recently published book, Rare Books Uncovered – True Stories of Fantastic Finds in Unlikely Places.



Rebecca interviewed a wide range of booksellers and collectors to ferret out book scouting stories involving serendipity, hard work and sometimes pure good luck — and the result is this entertaining and educational read published by Voyageur Press.  With a foreword by Nicholas A. Basbanes, any book lover will want to add it to their library.



Rebecca interviewed me last year when I shared with her a few of our true book scouting tales. So much has happened over the past year that Rebecca’s work on this book was pushed to the recesses of my mind.  Also, I know there are many booksellers out there with interesting stories to share about their adventures on the book hunting trail, so I knew she would have plenty of material to sift through.

Thus I was blown away when I learned that we are Chapter 47!!


Rebecca Rego Barry is the Editor of Fine Books & Collections Magazine, the most beautiful and informative magazine available on book collecting.  She is a talented writer and I hope this book is a huge success for her.  She has been doing a number of book signings on the east coast, including a recent one at the famous Grolier Club in New York City.

Read more about Rebecca and order the book on her website HERE.  You can get a signed copy too!


Because we have so much to celebrate in 2016, we’d like to invite you to celebrate with us.  Visit Old Scrolls Book Shop online and take 20% off any book order there during the month of February 2016.  Just use the coupon code celebrate2016 at check-out and the 20% deduction will be activated.

If you need any assistance, just give us a call at 585-355-6971.


Thankful to be Alive!

We never know what lies beyond the next turn in the path

We don’t know what lies beyond the next turn in the path

Late November is time for giving thanks.   For me, every day is time to pause and give thanks.

In case you have noticed my absence, I feel I should explain that in late July I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, waking up in the wee hours of the morning with a headache from Hell.  I was able to stand up, wake my husband and tell him I needed to go the emergency room, and then I blacked out on the floor from the pain.  Few people survive such a medical event unscathed; a very high percentage don’t survive it at all.

Thanks to my loving husband Ron’s quick action, and his insistence on a CT scan when we reached our local hospital, I have survived and am grateful to be recovering with almost no residual effects.  Emergency surgery was performed at Strong Hospital in Rochester, NY by a superb neurological team.  I can’t say enough good about them, or heap enough praise upon all of our friends and family who have been supportive and helpful to both Ron and me through this chapter in our lives.

I have been spending my time on small book store activities, reading and resting; also Ron and I have done a lot of walking to help regain my strength.  Nature is so healing!


Photo taken on a recent walk along the western shore of Hemlock Lake

Photo taken on a recent walk along the western shore of Hemlock Lake

Old Scrolls Book Shop is still going strong, and we are buying and selling fine books as usual, both online and in store.

Thanks to all of YOU, my readers, for your patience and understanding.  I have been gradually returning to my normal activities, and you can expect me back here blogging on books very soon!

Happy to be alive!

                   Happy to be alive!


Awesome Antiquarian Books – Minneapolis

This may well be our favorite Twin Cities book shop, which we visited for the first time during our recent Minnesota trip!

James & Mary Laurie, Booksellers - 250 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN

James & Mary Laurie, Booksellers – 250 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN


We spent an entirely wonderful day here!

20150630_122601_resizedTheir hours are 11-6 Monday through Saturday and by appointment.  Free parking available in a small lot on one side of the store (limited number of spaces), but also a big parking ramp nearby.

We found a nice space in the lot at opening time, around 11am.

With an inventory of over 120,000 books, our day was well occupied!


Here’s me, wondering where to start…

This beautiful and large street-level shop also houses more than 30,000 classical and jazz vinyl records, and a gallery of old prints and maps.


To say we were excited about the book selection here is an understatement, especially since there were many nice examples of our favorite specialty, decorated American trade bindings.  But of course there were thousands of interesting books in all genres, and they were in beautiful condition.  The shop is well organized and easy to browse, with pleasant surprises at every turn.


Here are just a few samples of some of the beautiful decorated bindings we found here:









James & Mary Laurie Booksellers was founded in 1969 (they were located for twenty years on the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis before moving to this location).   We did not have the pleasure of meeting Mary, but Jim is a super guy, and was wonderful to us during our visit.

Here I am with Jim Laurie

Here I am with Jim Laurie.  He’s a tall one!

After hours of perusing and purchasing books, we broke away for a little pick-me-up at Dunn Brothers Coffee, just around the corner.


Great smile, great coffee!


When we returned to the book shop, we were invited to descend to their warehouse area, where many more books are stored.  Come on along!




Here were many more thousands of books, stacked to the ceiling.  Good thing we had that coffee!!

20150630_145244_resizedWe found several wonderful books down here as well, and added them to our purchases.

Can’t say enough good things about this book store — make sure you pay them a visit if you are ever in Minneapolis!

In the evening, we met my sister Karen and her husband Gene in Spring Park for a sunset cruise on her daughter and son-in-law’s boat.






The weather was perfect for a quiet evening on Lake Minnetonka

20150630_192026_resizedPerfect ending of another Minnesota-beautiful day.




Twin Cities – Biblio-fantastic!

20150626_105952_resizedThe 25th Annual Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair took place on June 26-27th, 2015, and YES, we were there!  I grew up in the great State of Minnesota, and it was time for a family visit…which happily coincided with this MWABA sponsored event.

Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair - June 26-27, 2015.  Progress Center, State Fairgrounds, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair – June 26-27, 2015. Progress Center, State Fairgrounds, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Over 50 exhibitors from across the country came together at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds in St. Paul.

We arrived at 10:00am on Friday, thinking that’s when it opened (silly me) — only to find out that selling did not commence until 3:00pm.

This turned out to be a fortuitous error, because it caused us to drive over to Midway Used and Rare Bookstore to while away the hours, and there we discovered they were having a splendid 50th Anniversary Book Sale!


Midway Book Store   was  voted Best Used Book Store of the Twin Cities by City Pages.



Midway Used & Rare Books, owned by Tom and Kathy Stransky, was established in 1965. They are housed in a Streamline Moderne building located at the corner of University & Snelling Avenues in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Free parking spots!!  And inside there are two expansive floors of books, with excellent books in clean solid condition, in just about every genre,  from American History to Science Fiction, literature, decorated bindings, and much more.  Midway was also exhibiting at the Twin Cities Book Fair.


We had a ball here, and came away with two boxes of carefully selected books.

Another lucky break — just a few steps away we found just the kind of cool old tavern where we like to have our traditional brain lubricating pre-book fair Bloody Mary!


We didn’t even have to move the car — our space was reserved for Christensen Saloon and Midway Books exclusively!!  Perfect.

Christensen Saloon - St. Paul, Minnesota.  Have you ever seen such a long bar???

Christensen Saloon – St. Paul, Minnesota. Have you ever seen such a long bar???

We arrived back at the book fair promptly at 3:00pm, and it wasn’t long before we ran into John Phillips and his daughter Jennie from Evening Star Books.

John Phillips with daughter Jennie (Evening Star Books), and me.

John Phillips with daughter Jennie (Evening Star Books), and me.

John and Jennie recognized me from my blog!  They are friendly and fun booksellers, and had a cool selection of Literature, Mystery, Science Fiction and much more.

Evening Star books is based in Middleton, Wisconsin, and sells via their website and book fairs like this one.

Over at Sonny Ideker’s booth (Sonny Ideker, Bookseller) we found this treasure:

The History of Modern painting from Picasso to Surrealism (signed by Picasso)

The History of Modern painting from Picasso to Surrealism (signed by Picasso)


Sonny hails from Roswell, Georgia, and exhibits at over 30 book fairs a year — so if you go to antiquarian book fairs, look for Sonny.  He had an extensive array of fine books.  This was was one of his selections we liked…

Spain, by George Wharton Edwards. (Penn Publishing Company, 1926)

Spain, by George Wharton Edwards. (Penn Publishing Company, 1926)

Sonny Ideker's booth at the Twin Cities Book Fair

Sonny Ideker’s booth at the Twin Cities Book Fair

Here are some more photos from the fair…





Exhibitors came from as far east as Boston (Peter Stern) and as far west as Utah (Ken Sanders Rare Books and Back of Beyond Books).


Ron looking over a case of goodies

In our next post we’ll tell you about the book scouting we did before and after the fair on our trek to Minnesota.




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