Book Scouting – North of the Border

 

We love Canada!  Twice over the past six months (in October and again in January) Ron and I headed up to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Region and further north into Hamilton and Toronto in search of used book inventory.

Our first destination was Niagara-on-the-Lake, a beautiful old town situated in the heart of wine country on the Niagara escarpment, on the shore of Lake Ontario where the Niagara River meets the Lake.

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This area is famous for its elegant wineries, its theater (the Shaw Festival in particular), and its breathtaking year-round beauty.

With its cozy, walkable downtown, lovely old hotels, pubs, inns and storefronts,  horses & carriages lined up in front of the elegant Prince of Wales Hotel…you will swear you are in an old English village.

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This is where we stayed, at Riverbend Inn & Winery, just outside the village on the Niagara Parkway.

 

 

One of the highlights of our October 2016 trip was attending the book sale at Trinity College, about an hour north of Niagara-on-the-Lake in Toronto.  It was our first time at this annual event.  It was held upstairs in Seeley Hall at 6 Hoskin Avenue.

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This is one of the better college or university book sales we have attended, and is the largest of its kind in Toronto.  There were thousands of books on hand, organized into categories, with a separate rare and collectible room.

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The building is a lovely old thing done in Jacobethan style. We found parking across the street.

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The staff was knowledgeable and courteous — it was a pleasure to buy books here!

A few examples of the books we purchased at Trinity College:

Below: A Son of Austerity, by George Knight.  Published by McLeod & Allen, n.d.   Illustrated by Harrison Fisher.

BelowThe Mammoth Book of Thrillers, Ghosts and Mysteries (Parrish, J. M. and John R. Crossland, Editors) Odhams Press Ltd., London, 1936.  SOLD

BelowFolk-Songs and Other Songs for Children, Jane Byrd Radcliffe-Whitehead, Editor.  Oliver Ditson Company, Boston, 1903.  Decorated American trade binding – cover design by F. G. Hale (Frank Gardner Hale 1876-1945).

BelowOn the Road to Bagdad, by Lieutenant Colonel Brereton (Blackie, London, circa 1920)

Below:   Record of Canadian Shipping –  A List of Square-Rigged Vessels, Mainly 500 Tons and Over, Built in the Eastern Provinces of British North America from the Year 1786 to 1920.  Frederick William Wallace.  Toronto: Musson Book Company, 1929.   First Edition, SIGNED and Limited, this being no. 402 of 1,000 copies.  Illustrated with photographs, paintings and drawings.

 

Meanwhile, back in Niagara-on-the-Lake, there was a nice little book signing going on at the local book store…Old Niagara Bookshop, located at 223 Regent Street.  They are purveyors of books both old and new!

Here we are with author Terry Belleville, and a copy of his book, Matters of Kindness – A collection of short stories, anecdotes and memories.

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Thanks, Terry, for signing my book.

Later we paid a visit to Konzelmann Winery…one of the many beautiful wineries in the area that are making really excellent table wines, as well as the “ice wines” for which this region is famous.

A short drive away is the town of St. Catharines, Ontario, where we found a couple of interesting used & rare book stores.  The first one we visited was “The Write Bookshop” at 285 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines.

 

And here is one of the interesting books we found there…

BelowThe South African War, by Captain A. T. Mahan.  Peter Fenelon Collier & Son, NY, 1900.  Decorated American trade binding – cover designed by George Wharton Edwards (so stated on copyright page).  Eighteen full page illustrations in color; 34 full page black and white illustrations.

The second book store we visited was Hannelore Headley Old & Fine Books, at 71 Queen Street.  It looks small and humble on the outside, but geeze(!), they had some nice books.

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Here is an example:

BelowThe Skyline Trail, by Mary Carolyn Davies.  Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill, 1924.  Oregon Edition, Limited to one thousand copies, signed and numbered, of which this is number 770 (with author’s signature).  Decorated American trade binding – cream cloth boards with blue, black, cream and lavender mountain and wagon train scene on cover. SOLD

Below:  The Ship that Died of Shame & Other Stories, by Nicholas Monsarrat.  London: Cassell, 1959.  Stated First Edition in clean unclipped original dust jacket.

 

We had no trouble bringing a box of assorted wines and several boxes of books back across the border.  The trip was so enjoyable and successful that we went back in January of this year, and had another wonderful experience – which I’ll catch you up on in the next post.

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So Long, Mackinac Island – Hello, U.P.!

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It was time to say goodbye to our friends at the Seabiscuit Café on Mackinac Island.

We purchased a bottle of their delicious private label wine (“Seabiscuit Ranch Superfecta Meritage”) and had John Nash sign it for us!

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Then we boarded the ferry and headed back to the mainland, where we picked up our car and drove it across the beautiful Mackinac Bridge toward the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Crossing the Mackinac Island Bridge

Crossing the Mackinac Island Bridge

The U.P. (or Upper Peninsula) is bordered on three sides by Great Lakes – Superior, Michigan and Huron.   It has gorgeous remote beaches and forests, along with quaint small towns.  The place has a flavor all its own — Although not as isolated as in the days before the great bridge linked the two pieces of Michigan and made travel between them easier, it still has an appealing remote northern feel to it and a strong regional identity.

Along the coast of Lake Michigan (Michigan - U.P.)

Along the coast of Lake Michigan (Michigan – U.P.)

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And once again, here is proof that you can find used books nearly everywhere you go…

 

 

Somewhere along Rte. 2 - Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Honest Injun’s Tourist Trap – Somewhere along Rte. 2 – Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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And here are a couple of the books that we purchased there!

 

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And here is another book shop we found on the upper peninsula near

Moran, Michigan called First Edition, Too

First Edition Too - a used and rare book shop in Moran, Michigan (U.P.)

First Edition, Too – a used and rare book shop in Moran, Michigan (U.P.)

It looked like the kind of place we just love.  Unfortunately, it was closed and we couldn’t get an answer at the adjoining house.   From information garnered on-line, the owner has been a bookseller for 35 years.  The shop specializes in Michigan and Great Lakes history but also carries a full line of general stock.

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Definitely our kind of place!  Sorry we missed out, but there will be another trip up this way in our future.

 

Our Visit to Fort Mackinac

                               A raven perched atop a stockade at old Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island…

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There is so much history on Mackinac Island, and for decades, much jockeying for position and control among the French, British, Native Americans and American colonists!  Construction on this fort was begun by the Brits in 1780.  It was built to replace Fort Michilimackinac, which had been constructed  down closer to the shore of the island by the French in 1714 as a means of controlling the fur trade and European development along the Great Lakes.  Fort Mackinac was built by the British during the American Revolutionary War so that they could control the Straits of Mackinac (water passage between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan).   The Fort was turned over to the United States in 1796, but recaptured by the British again in 1812.

Read a brief and interesting history of the fort HERE.

 

Fort Mackinac sits high on a bluff on Mackinac Island, 150 feet above the harbor

Fort Mackinac sits high on a bluff on Mackinac Island, 150 feet above the harbor

 

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Walkway from the street to Fort Mackinac

Walkway from the street to Fort Mackinac

If you want to read a first-hand account of what life was like here in the early days, read this exquisitely written biography by Juliette M. Kinzie, WAU-BUN – The Early Day in the Northwest.  It is the detailed life of an educated Eastern woman, when as a bride she came to unnamed Wisconsin (with an extended stop at Fort Michilmackinac on Mackinac Island), and shared the experiences of her husband, the Indian agent at Fort Winnebago.  Her description of the Indians, army officers, traders, modes of travel, and hardships are enlivened with a sense of humor, vivid feeling for nature, and a just sense of values.

 

Wau-Bun - The "Early Day" In the Northwest (George Banta Publishing Co., 1930) Newer edition of an old classic originally published in 1856

Wau-Bun – The “Early Day” In the Northwest (George Banta Publishing Co., 1930) Newer edition of an old classic originally published in 1856

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Below is a view toward the harbor from Fort Mackinac…

View toward the harbor from Fort Mackinac

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In the large stone building which was the “Officer’s Quarters” there is now a visitors’ tea room (Fort Mackinac Tea Room) with an outdoor dining patio.  It has good food and reasonable prices, and is operated by the Grand Hotel.

Dining patio off the Tea Room at Fort Mackinac

Dining patio off the Tea Room at Fort Mackinac

Some cheery geraniums along the wall of the Officers' Quarters

Some cheery geraniums along the wall of the Officers’ Quarters

Looking down toward the harbor and town from the patio…

 

20160715_104134Approach to the center area of the compound…

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Inside the compound of Fort Mackinac

Inside the compound of Fort Mackinac

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Here are some views from the interior of a house which is inside the compound of the Fort.  The rooms, doors, floors and staircase of this house was so similar to ours here at Old Scrolls that I felt I’d come home!  Also (like ours) constructed in the mid-1800’s.

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A Native American dwelling in the original style of the area at the edge of the grounds of Fort Mackinac

Another fascinating book to read about Mackinac Island is the historical novel titled The Loon Feather by Iola Fuller (Harcourt Brace, NY, 1940).   Winner of the Hopwood Award, this novel is the story of Oneta, daughter of Tecumseh, and granddaughter of the chief of the loon tribe of the Ojibways.  It takes place during the fur trading days on Mackinac Island.

The Loon Feather, by Iola Fuller (Harcourt Brace, NY, 1940 First Edition)

The Loon Feather, by Iola Fuller (Harcourt Brace, NY, 1940 First Edition)

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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…

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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.

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“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.

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

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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…

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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!

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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.

 

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Great smile, great coffee!

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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!

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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.

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The weather was perfect for a quiet evening on Lake Minnetonka

20150630_192026_resizedPerfect ending of another Minnesota-beautiful day.

 

 

 

Books in the ‘Burgh

If you ever get to Pittsburgh (a beautiful city, by the way), you won’t want to miss a visit to Caliban Book Shop.  This was our last book stop on our way home from our 2015 southern states book scouting trip, and it was a good one!

Caliban Book Shop, 410 S. Craig St., Pittsburgh, PA

Caliban Book Shop, 410 S. Craig St., Pittsburgh, PA

Caliban Book Shop was founded in 1991 and is co-owned by John Schulman and Emily Hetzel.  John has been a full-time dealer in used and rare books since 1987.

John Schulman at Caliban Book Shop, Pittsburgh, PA

John Schulman at Caliban Book Shop, Pittsburgh, PA

Located in the lovely Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, it is a brief stroll from the Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Natural History Museum, Phipps Conservatory, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Just a stone's throw from the Carnegie Museum of Art...

Just a stone’s throw from the Carnegie Museum of Art…

Lots of readers here. No wonder they have so many great books!

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The large open shop is neatly organized and fun to explore.  It contains some 40,000 titles covering just about every subject (they also have a nearby warehouse of close to 150,000 books).  Specialties include local history, fine arts, poetry, philosophy, Americana, literature, fine printings, and leather-bound books.

We purchased some lovely decorated American trade bindings…

The Great Salt Lake Trail, by Colonel Henry Inman and Colonel William F. Cody (NY: MacMillan, 1898)   SOLD

The Great Salt Lake Trail, by Colonel Henry Inman and Colonel William F. Cody (NY: MacMillan, 1898) SOLD

Rip Van Winkle, by Washington Irving (G. P. Putnam, 1899)   SOLD

Rip Van Winkle, by Washington Irving (G. P. Putnam, 1899) SOLD

(signed Margaret Armstrong binding)

(signed Margaret Armstrong binding)

Jack and Jill, by Louisa M. Alcott (Boston: Little Brown, 1920)  Signed binding - AS - Amy Sacker)

Jack and Jill, by Louisa M. Alcott (Boston: Little Brown, 1920) Signed binding – AS – Amy Sacker)

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with original dust jacket

with original dust jacket

They also had a nice selection of vintage mysteries and true crime, some in their original dust jackets. Here’s a sample…

The Murdered and the Missing- Authentic Case Histories from the Files of the Missing Persons Bureau.  By Armstrong Livingston and Captain John G. Stein (NY: Stephen-Paul Publishers, 1947. First Edition in dust jacket.  SOLD

The Murdered and the Missing- Authentic Case Histories from the Files of the Missing Persons Bureau. By Armstrong Livingston and Captain John G. Stein (NY: Stephen-Paul Publishers, 1947.) First Edition in dust jacket.   SOLD

The book was nicely inscribed by author John G. Stein

The book was nicely inscribed by author John G. Stein

They had many lovely old vintage novels in excellent condition…

Her Father's Daughter, by Gene Stratton Porter (Grosset & Dunlap EdItion, 1921)

Her Father’s Daughter, by Gene Stratton Porter (Grosset & Dunlap EdItion, 1921)023254_3

It is a classic antiquarian book store in which you can spend hours browsing and making delightful discoveries.  There aren’t many book stores left anymore like this one…it is a gem.

After completing our book purchases, we crossed the street to have lunch at the Union Grill (thanks for the recommendation, John!)

The Union Grill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Union Grill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

20150502_140649_resizedThis place has marvelous food, fun atmosphere indoors, plus a small outdoor dining area where you can eat and people-watch.

Best fish sandwich to be found!

Best fish sandwich to be found anywhere!

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Excellent Rueben sandwich

And of course, our favorite…AWESOME Bloody Marys…

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The Ghostbusters were lurking in the area, and I had to have my picture taken with them!

Ghostbusters!

The trip was a great success.  We are back home now, cataloging and selling books, rearranging the bookcases.  We safely traveled over 4,000 miles, and returned home with a quantity and quality of books for our inventory here at Old Scrolls Book Shop that made each mile worthwhile.  As always, we enjoyed meeting or re-connecting with our fellow antiquarian booksellers across the eastern and southern United States.

Soon we’ll be making a trip to the upper Midwest.   Stay tuned for our next book scouting adventure!

Books and More in Asheville, North Carolina

For us, going to Asheville, NC was all about books.  And let me assure you, they have terrific book stores stocked with amazing books.  But HOLY COW, what a fun city!!

One of the many fun and fine restaurants in Asheville.  I think this is a Japanese Maple??

One of the many fun and fine restaurants in Asheville. I think that is a Japanese Maple!

Sometimes referred to as “The Paris of the South,” this city is brimming with music, books, art and fine southern food and drink.    It is populated with welcoming, friendly citizens who are proud of their city.

Some of the fine people we met during our stay in Asheville…

Me and Kim Justus, an Asheville native

Me and Kim Justus, an Asheville native. She is a Realtor for Coldwell Banker.

We met this fun couple (below) at dinner.  They told us that before they moved to Asheville, they used to travel a lot.  Now they don’t leave town much, because they are afraid they’ll miss something!

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Great bookstores, cool restaurants, bars, fun-buses, galleries, and music venues, chocolate shops, breweries, ghost tours, and food tours.  The fun never stops in this giddy, pretty city.

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The Amazing Pubcycle. YES, those are bicycle seats. a wicked-cool 13-person pedal powered (motor assisted) vehicle. Imagine riding your bike (sideways), hanging out at your favorite pub (on wheels), and touring the city!

A glimpse of the crazy purple LAZOOM bus. Featuring bands & beer or comedy tours.

A glimpse of the crazy purple LAZOOM bus.
Featuring bands & beer or comedy tours.

But let’s start at the beginning.  Our first stop was at The Captain’s Book Shelf, located at 31 Page Avenue in downtown Asheville.  I was immediately impressed with the angle parking on this street (I love angle parking!).  Bring lots of coins, though…there are parking meters, and you’ll want to hang out for a long time.

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The Captain's Bookshelf, Asheville, NC

The Captain’s Bookshelf, Asheville, NC

In existence for 39 years, The Captain’s Bookshelf is an ABAA shop owned by Chan Gordon and his wife Meigan.   We have purchased from them before at book fairs.

This was our first visit to their store.  This shop is a  real treasure trove.  We were in book lover’s heaven as we happily spent hours browsing and buying here.

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Chan Gordon at his desk (probably tallying up our bill!)

Chan Gordon at his desk (probably tallying up our bill!)

Stock include top quality literature high points, lovely decorated bindings, as well as obscure older titles not easily found.

Here is a sampling of fine books we purchased from this store:

In The Days of the Comet, by H. G. Wells (First U.S. Edition, October, 1906)

In The Days of the Comet, by H. G. Wells (First U.S. Edition, October, 1906)

Green Fancy, by George Barr McCutcheon (1st Edition, Dodd Mead, 1917, SIGNED by author)

Green Fancy, by George Barr McCutcheon (1st Edition, Dodd Mead, 1917, SIGNED by author)

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Blue-Grass and Rhododendron, by John Fox. Jr.  (Scribner, 1901 First Edition) signed binding - Margaret Armstrong

Blue-Grass and Rhododendron, by John Fox. Jr. (Scribner, 1901 First Edition) signed binding – Margaret Armstrong023307_2

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Don Fernando, by W. Somerset Maugham. (William Heinemann, London, 1935, First Edition)

From the Housetops, by George Barr McCutcheon.  (Dodd Mead, 1916, 1st Edition - SIGNED by author).  Decorative Designer monogram on cover.

From the Housetops, by George Barr McCutcheon. (Dodd Mead, 1916, 1st Edition – SIGNED by author). Decorative Designer monogram on cover.    SOLD

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Any direction we looked there were gorgeous collectible quality books here.

Definitely worth a trip for any serious book collector.

Our second stop was about a block away at Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, in the heart of Asheville at 1 Page Avenue.

Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, Asheville, NC

Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, Asheville, NC

This enchanting store houses over 22,000 books,  successfully blending two of life’s greatest pleasures…books and wine.  Enter and shop for books in what feels like a great, multi-storied living room, with a comfortable bar offering wine and mimosas, as well as coffee and locally made pastries.

Here we are outside the Battery Park Book Exchange

Here we are outside the Battery Park Book Exchange

Let’s go inside…

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Kyle, Manager at the Book Exchange

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Kerstine, in her dream job

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Mmmmm…blood orange mimosas!

Me, drinking a blood orange mimosa

Me, drinking a blood orange mimosa

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Mr. Moose watches over all

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20150430_151210_resized Explore an amazing labyrinth of interesting books and cozy zones

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Hours of fun…and we turned up some great books here too!

Here are just a couple of them…

Tomorrow Will Be Better, by Betty Smith (Heinemann, 1949, 1st British Edition) Inscribed and signed by author

Tomorrow Will Be Better, by Betty Smith (Heinemann, 1949, 1st British Edition) Inscribed and signed by author

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A rare stated First Printing of Bambi, by Felix Saalten, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. (Simon & Schuster, 1928)

A rare stated First Printing of Bambi, by Felix Saalten, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. (Simon & Schuster, 1928)023280_4

 

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We said goodbye to the Book Exchange…

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and HELLO to dinner at a great little restaurant called Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder (how could we resist that??).  Wonderful food, flights marvelous bourbon.

Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder, 77 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC

Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder, 77 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC

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Somebody looks happy…

20150430_200059_resizedThe food was marvelous.  Hot buttermilk hushpuppies cooked to perfection, Eli’s “Blue Ribbon” Fish Sauce Wings, juicy pork chops.  Their menu here is ever-changing, with all menu items sourced seasonally and locally.  Highly recommended.

Eli's "Blue Ribbon" Fish Sauce Wings

Eli’s “Blue Ribbon” Fish Sauce Wings

I'm not a pork chop fan, but Ron ordered this one and it's the best thing I've ever tasted!

I’m not a pork chop fan, but Ron ordered this one and it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted!

After dinner, we walked around the town a bit, taking in the sights.  There is plenty to do in Asheville!

Outdoor bar at The Wicked Weed

Outdoor bar at The Wicked Weed

Live music is a significant element of the tourist-based economy in Asheville, with numerous nightclubs and performance venues.  The City has a strong tradition of street performance and outdoor music and music festivals.

Musical line-up at The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club

Musical line-up at The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club

A dessert bus!!

A dessert bus!!

There is so much to do in this City, I do believe you would have to live here to get to around to it all!

Here are a couple more book stores we did not make it to:

Downtown Books and News, 67 N. Lexington Ave. – A used book store that never closes (they are even open on holidays).  They have stayed open every day for 24 years!

Malaprops, 55 Haywood St. – a large general book store, stocking new books and regional writers.  Co-owners Emoke B’Racz and Linda Barrett Knopp celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2012.

The Thomas Wolfe House is also located in downtown Asheville, at 52 Market Street.  The famous American author Thomas Wolfe lived in the home during his boyhood, and it was the setting for his first novel, Look Homeward, Angel.

The Biltmore Estate, America’s largest and most magnificent home, is here in all it’s gilded age glory. The 8000-acre beautiful and grand estate built by George Vanderbilt in 1895 is a major tourist attraction.

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Asheville is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Swannanoa River and the French Broad River.  The population was 83,393 according to the 2010 U.S. Census, with a population of 424,848 in the four-county Asheville metropolitan area.  It is home to University of North Carolina at Asheville and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, with eight other colleges and universities in the surrounding area.

Next stop will be Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

 

 

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