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.

 

Somewhere in Time

Here we are approaching the beautiful historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, where the 1980 movie “Somewhere In Time” was filmed.

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer, the movie was a hauntingly beautiful time-travel romance based on the 1975 novel Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson.   Bid Time Return is a highly collectible and fairly scarce book, with a first edition in a dust jacket running $750 – $1500 in very good to fine condition, more if signed by author or any of the actors in the film.   If you are wondering where the odd book title comes from, it is derived from Shakespeare’s Richard II, “O call back yesterday, bid time return.”

Along the walkway, we passed some of the hotel’s beautiful gardens…

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My husband, Ron, ascending the stairs to the hotel…

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Although an overnight stay at this historic hotel is pricey (rooms are in the $400+ range in prime season), the place is available for everyone to enjoy because for a fee of $10 you can roam the hotel and grounds for the day, enjoying the porch, public sitting rooms and charming bars and restaurant.

The hotel is famous for having the longest porch in the world, at approximately 660 feet.

Longest porch in the world

      Longest porch in the world, to the left…

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and to the right.

And the porch has one hundred rocking chairs that look out on these beautifully maintained grounds of the hotel and Lake Huron beyond where you can sit and enjoy the view…

Looking out over the grounds of the beautiful Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

Looking out over the grounds of the beautiful Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

The huge pool you see in the photo above was used by actress and champion swimmer Esther Williams as she did swimming scenes in another movie filmed at the Grand Hotel, “This Time For Keeps” which was produced in 1947 and also starred Jimmy Durante.  The pool is indeed called “The Esther Williams Pool.”

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The Grand Hotel opened in 1887 as a summer retreat for vacationers who arrive by lake steamer from Chicago, Erie, Montreal, Detroit, and by rail from across the continent.

Here are a few of the areas we enjoyed…

A beautiful sitting area in the Grand Hotel

A beautiful sitting area in the Grand Hotel

A gorgeous old grandfather clock

A gorgeous old grandfather clock

View from "The Cupola Bar" at the very top of the Grand Hotel

View from “The Cupola Bar” at the very top of the Grand Hotel

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One of my favorite areas inside the hotel was the Audubon Wine Bar (below).  Not only did they have a great wine list, beautiful art and furnishings, they had a sizable library as well!

Audubon Wine Bar, Grand Hotel

            Audubon Wine Bar, Grand Hotel

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Later we wandered into the ballroom area, which was set up for a big band…would love to be there when the music begins!

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Oh, and what’s this?

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An ASH tray at the Grand Hotel

An ASH tray at the Grand Hotel (no longer in use for that purpose)

 

A banquet room...and its beautiful chandelier

A banquet room…and its beautiful chandeliers

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We had a nice chat with the concierge…

20160714_142417  When we were finally able to tear ourselves away and head back to town, we boarded one of the horse drawn carriages that make regular runs to and from the hotel.

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What a wonderful day it was!   Join us for the next post, when I will cover our visit to beautiful old Fort Mackinac.

 

The Beauty of Mackinac Island

While on our summer 2016 Midwest book scouting trip, we hopped a ferry for historic Mackinac Island.

20160714_082505There are many ferries which transport goods and passengers to the island out of both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace (across the bridge).  We chose Shepler’s Ferry Service out of Mackinaw City, which runs about $26 per adult fare.  The ride to Mackinac Island is about 30 minutes.

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As Ron was about to park in the day visit lot, I said, “I think you should choose overnight parking.  Once you see the Island, you may be inclined to stay overnight.”   I had been to Mackinac Island several times as a young adult, and held wonderful memories of it.  But it had been a very long time since my last visit — I hadn’t been there in forty years — it might have changed.

We took no luggage, but parked in the overnight lot…just in case!

It was a gorgeous day.  The sky above and the waters of Lake Huron were so clear.  Here is our approach to the island harbor…

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Once we were on the shore and walking up the dock toward town, I teased Ron that I thought I remembered it being a “dry” island (no bars!!).   Hee-hee, sometimes I’m terrible.  He panicked until we rounded the corner and he spotted The Seabiscuit Café on Main Street.  Where you can always bet on a good time!

 

Seabiscuit Café, Main Street, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Seabiscuit Café, Main Street, Mackinac Island, Michigan

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Offering reassurance, our new friend behind the bar, John Nash, fixed Ron up with a splendid Bloody Mary and me with a beautiful glass of Seabiscuit Meritage wine.   All was well. There are many fun places to drink and dine on the island, but this turned out to be our favorite.  It was John Nash who later rang up the Harbour View Inn (where he once worked as a concierge) to help us access a room for an overnight stay on the island.

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After our drink and a little snack, we set out on foot to explore the Island.  Mackinac Island has always been automobile-free.  There is a small airport, and of course, a few emergency vehicles…but horses, boats, and bicycles are the main modes of transportation, and it makes for a pretty peaceful life.

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Group of horses being led down Main Street on Mackinac Island

Group of horses being led down Main Street on Mackinac Island

 

There are beautiful flowers EVERYWHERE on this island, and every home, inn and garden is beautifully maintained.

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We walked past lovely homes (the island is famous for its beautiful array of Victorian architecture) and Inns,  and the State Harbor.

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Look at this gorgeous old hedge!

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And here is the Inn at which we ended up getting a room for the night…because of course the island was even better than I remembered it…and Ron loved it too.

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The beautiful and historic Harbour View Inn on Mackinac Island

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And of course we still had to tour the great old Fort Mackinac, and the spectacular Grand Hotel, and to find old books if we could…so of course we needed at least another day on the island.   In my next post, you can join us on the longest hotel porch in the world!

On the Straits of Mackinac

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

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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!!

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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…

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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…

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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.

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It happened in Clare, Michigan!

Doughnuts were involved.

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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

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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!

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

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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!

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

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AND a wonderful little hamburger joint…

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

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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.

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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

 

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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)

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

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(SOLD)

(SOLD)

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)

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

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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…

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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.

 

 

First Leg of our Midwest Book Scouting Trip

We started our summer book scouting trip on the evening of June 25th by heading to Detroit, Michigan to visit John K. King’s Used and Rare Books, Michigan’s largest book store (over 750,000 books), at 901 W. Lafayette Boulevard.  We spent an entire Saturday combing through books in their main store, and the last  part of the day in their rare book building.  They are closed on Sunday, and there is a movie crew setting up for filming a scene in the rare book room for an upcoming motion picture starring Richard Gere (movie to be called “The Double”).  John King was kind enough to let us come back to the rare book room on Sunday (when he is normally closed) to spend more time searching for books.  What a tremendous book shop!  Four floors of wonderful books, plus a separate rare book building behind the main store, and something for everyone…  art books, literature, fine bindings, Modern Library, Juvenile books, scholarly books, old fiction, you name it…well organized, and with a capable staff on hand to help.  Beautiful paintings, prints, sculpture and artifacts scattered between the book areas…(meteorite, anyone?).  I can’t say enough good things about Debbie, who was our guide through the building on both days, with cheery and patient customer service above and beyond anything one hopes to experience these days.  She even impressed us with her expertise on packing our boxes of books.  And John King is a real bookman, with knowledge and character.

Rare Book Room – John K. King Books, Detroit, MI
Rare Book Room…

We stayed at the newly opened Doubletree Inn Hotel just down the street a couple of blocks from the book shop.  Beautiful hotel, reasonable rates, and again…wonderful staff.  Here are the cheery front desk staff at the Detroit Doubletree Inn…

Great hospitality in Detroit!
Here I am with Fran, Concierge Extraordinaire at the Doubletree Inn

And here is a tiny sampling of the books we purchased:

Some of the books we’ve purchased…

Tonight we dined at Schuler’s Restaurant in Marshall, Michigan.  Although I had never been to Marshall, Michigan, this was a trip down memory lane for me.  When I was nineteen years old, I was working as a secretary to Don the Beachcomber Restaurants in Pacific Palisades, California.  They brought in new management, all experienced restauranteurs from Marshall, Michigan, who had been trained at Schuler’s Restaurant and Pub (a restaurant which just celebrated its 100th anniversary!).  I heard so much from them about Schuler’s–saw all their menus, recipes, promotions, photos, etc..everything was Schuler’s, Schuler’s, Schuler’s!!  But I never actually set foot at the place until tonight (about 40 years later!).  And it looked (and tasted) just exactly as I expected.

Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub – Marshall, MI

Tomorrow, it’s on to Chicago…and with any luck, Chicago’s oldest book store.

Stay with us, as we cross the country searching for the best books, and in the meantime, please visit our on-line store at www.oldscrolls.com

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