Book Hunter’s Travelogue – Connecticut

We’re running a bit behind in blogging; too busy buying books!  Some of these shops are open until 9pm, and we lose track of time until there’s only time to eat and sleep…On Monday morning we left Tarrytown, NY and made our first stop in Bethel, Connecticut at a cool retro diner which has been in operation since 1948.

Sycamore Diner - car hop service, home made root beer!

Then it was on to Relay Book House in Bethel…

Relay Book House - Bethel, CT

We didn’t make any purchases here — plenty of  books, stacked all over on the floor, double stacked on shelves, but very tough viewing and the prices seemed a bit high.

We drove south on beautiful Rte. 58 — like a forested park all the way to I-95 which we picked up near the coast.  We stopped in New Haven, CT and made a visit to The Book Trader Cafe on Chapel Street in New Haven.  Lots of Academic and University Press titles (New Haven being the home of Yale University).  All books in nice clean condition, reasonable prices.

Book Trader Cafe - New Haven, CT

We headed back to the coast and north along the Connecticut Shore, first on Rte. 1 and then on I-95 until we reached The Book Barn in Niantic, CT.  This place has a lot going on! The main location at 41 West Main Street (just beyond the south edge of town) has well over 100,000 books housed in a 3-story barn and various other buildings, wagons and tents on the grounds.  They also have two more locations in downtown Niantic.

Book Barn - Niantic, CT

Book Barn grounds

This seems like an extremely successful operation.  Their parking lot is full most of the time (open 9am to 9pm – 7 days/week), and lots of book lovers and families are there browsing and buying, and enjoying the grounds. There are picnic tables, a petting zoo, interesting gardens and sculptures, places to play chess or checkers outdoors at large tables.

A father and son playing chess

A book store cat (there are many) sitting on an elephant's back

Their prices are very reasonable.  Lots of interesting titles, most of the books in very good condition, and well organized.


There are mysteries in The Haunted Book Shop building

We did make time for a brief visit to the beach…

View from Black Point, East Lyme

Niantic harbor

and had lunch at the Black Sheep Pub in Niantic…

And then it was on to Old Saybrook, CT where we stopped in at Harbor Books…

Harbor Books - 146 Main St., Old Saybrook, CT


Grahame Burton, owner of Harbor Books - nice man, nice shop, good books!

Grahame reminded me that Katherine Hepburn lived for most of her life in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.   She even used to stop in at Harbor Books!

Our last book stop on Tuesday was Curt Wendler Rare Books, 315 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook.  I failed to get a photo here — but Curt was a wonderful guy.  We had a nice visit and we bought several first editions from him.

We had dinner tonight at

New Orleans Restaurant

The food was excellent, and all the interior walls are decorated with original signed photographs from some of the great movie actors from the golden age of Hollywood. The owner shared with us that he inherited 300 of these from his parents, who used to live in Los Angeles and haunt the grand movie openings when the stars would appear to sign photographs outside the theater.

Inside the restaurant

Now I’m going to fall into bed, as tomorrow is almost here!

We’ll update you soon…



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