Autumn Book Scouting in Corning, New York

Early October is a beautiful time of year for a drive through the Southern Tier of New York State. The forested hills are splashed with vibrant autumn color, and the air is crisp and clear.  And so it was on Saturday morning, when we drove to Corning, New York.

 We never miss the Friends of the Southeast Steuben County Library Sale, which is held twice a year (April and October) at the East Corning Volunteer Fire Hall, just off I-86 between exits 47 and 48.  It is a friendly, well-organized sale, and usually offers some interesting material.  This year’s fall sale is offering about 30,000 items, and they always present a “Special Books” area that is worth a careful perusal.

 I didn’t take photos this time at the sale opening – we were running late and the sale was about to begin just as we parked our car!  But here are just a few of the books we purchased at the sale:

An assortment of decorated bindings from the Corning sale

An assortment of decorated bindings from the Corning sale

 They offered a large and interesting collection of material on Panama and the Panama Canal this time around in their Specials area; books on the hydrological and geographical studies which were done for the massive construction project, maps and diagrams, and a great variety of books on the huge and historic undertaking to connect two oceans.

 You can’t go to this sale without stopping in the charming city of Corning.  Besides the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, beautiful Market Street in the historic downtown offers great walking, dining and shopping.

Market Street, Corning, New York

Market Street, Corning, New York

Centerway Square, Corning, New York

Centerway Square, Corning, New York

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We were happy to see a new used & rare book store in town, Mecca Books at 65 E. Market Street.   It is always cause for celebration where antiquarian book stores are opening to replace the ones that are closing!

Owned by Steve Mecca, the store location was taken over from Mynotera Books (which still has an online auction site).  Steve offers an eclectic selection of vintage hardcover books, vinyl, comic books and other interesting ephemera, at reasonable prices. 

Mecca Books, 65 East Market St., Corning, NY

Mecca Books, 65 East Market St., Corning, NY

Steve Mecca, Proprietor of Mecca Books, Corning, NY

Steve Mecca, Proprietor of Mecca Books, Corning, NY

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The interior of the store is charming, and we were happy to find some nice decorated bindings and books with early beautiful dust jackets here.

Some nice early jackets!

Some nice early jackets!

A couple of decorated American trade bindings found at Mecca Books in Corning, NY

A couple of decorated American trade bindings found at Mecca Books in Corning, NY

 The day was perfect – sun-drenched and warm – for eating outdoors at the Market Street Brewing Co. and Restaurant…

Outdoor dining at Market Street Brewing Co. & Restaurant

Outdoor dining at Market Street Brewing Co. & Restaurant

We walked up and down the length of Market Street, shopping and window shopping. 

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Take a look at this gorgeous vintage baby carriage we spotted in the window of a shop that was closed…

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We stopped in Brown’s Cigar Store (Tobacconist since 1889) at 6 West Market Street, where we met owner Bejay Smith.

Bernard (Bejay) Smih, Proprietor of Brown's Cigar Store, Corning, NY

Bernard (Bejay) Smith, Proprietor of Brown’s Cigar Store, Corning, NY

Besides an impressive array of cigars and tobacco products, the store displays a century-long collection of tobacco memorabilia, original glass, oak and marble humidors and lovely antique display cases.

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There are also several antique shops on Market Street that are worth scouring for books and of course, antiques.

Autumn is a perfect time for book scouting in the Northeast… there are so many pretty and historic places to visit, and Corning, New York is one of the best.  

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