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…


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



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…


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.”


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




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





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


Oh, and what’s this?


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



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.


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.


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…






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


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.



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.




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.




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




Look at this gorgeous old hedge!



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.



The beautiful and historic Harbour View Inn on Mackinac Island



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!

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.

After the York Book and Paper Fair…

OR,  How Bibliophiles Celebrate Their Wedding Anniversary…


After a full morning of book buying at the Fair, we drove over to The White Rose Bar and Grill  at 48 N. Beaver Street in York, which came highly recommended by one of the young ladies at the hotel front desk.


And she was so right.  We had a fabulous brunch here…superb Bloody Marys and Eggs Benedict with crab cakes and sweet potato fries…luscious!  This is an intriguing place with three separate bars and several dining areas, each unique enough to hold your interest until the splendid food arrives and grabs all your attention.

20141018_132632_resizedThe large but cozy dining room we ate in had an intricate overhead paddle fan system run by pulleys and belts…


The wonderful whirlygig machine that runs the fans in The White Rose (York, PA)

The wonderful whirlygig machine that runs the fans in The White Rose (York, PA)

And get a load of these really cool stone sinks in one of the restrooms!


There is even a smoking bar, where those among who choose to indulge can relax at the bar or on a soft leather couch to enjoy a cigarette along with a beer, wine or a cocktail.  Not too many places left where you can do that, these days.


Completely satisfied and refreshed, we moved on to our usual stop which ties in with this book fair, which is The York Emporium at 343 West Market Street.  This expansive one-floor store offers 250,000+ used and collectible books, plus antiques, records, comics and other collectibles.

The York Emporium, York, Pennsylvania

The York Emporium, York, Pennsylvania

They generally have a good sale running during the Book Fair, and coffee & donuts, too!  We often find interesting Modern Library titles here, along with other books from a wide assortment of genres.   Prices and conditions vary, but it’s a not-to-be missed stop; we never come away empty handed.  There is plenty of off-street free parking, and 250,000+ titles spread out over 19,000 square feet, so you ought to be able to find a box full of books, and get your exercise, too!   It’s been in existence since 1984… a book hunter’s paradise.

Books (and lava lamps!) at York Emporium

Books (and lava lamps!) at York Emporium

Back on the road, we headed north with plans to stop for the night in Selinsgrove, PA.   While enroute I rang up Graybill’s Old and Used Books in nearby Kreamer, PA to see if they might stay open for us (ETA 6pm).  I spoke with Diane, and she cheerfully agreed.  We always try to swing over to this store when we are traveling Rte. 15, because it is a place full of surprises and the owners are good people.  They are five miles west of Selinsgrove via Rte. 522 in the tiny town of Kreamer (home of Wood-Mode, Inc. — and if you are into nice quality kitchen cabinetry, you’ll know what that is!).

Eric and Diane Graybill (Graybill's Old & Used Books, Kreamer, PA)

Eric and Diane Graybill
(Graybill’s Old & Used Books, Kreamer, PA)

Eric and Diane have run Graybill’s out of the top floor of a barn on their property since 1980.  They have an interesting inventory of general stock (about 9,000 books), mostly hardcover, and some ephemera and vintage paperbacks.  Specialties include a good selection of children’s series books, along with Pennsylvania history, military, mystery, and many other categories.

We didn’t leave Graybill’s until around 8pm, chatty as we all were about the book fair, the book trade in general, our children, etc., etc.

But we did manage to procure a very nice room (again at a Holiday Inn) in Selinsgrove, and a reservation for dinner at BJ’s Steak & Rib House at 17 N. Market Street.  It was our anniversary night, after all!  BJ’s is housed in an historic old hotel dating to 1874…just our style.


Anniversary dinner at BJ’s Steak & Rib House, Selinsgrove, PA

We brought our favorite bubbly

We brought our favorite bubbly

We had a lovely dinner here, with good food and very nice service.

It was a successful book hunting weekend and a great Anniversary celebration — sharing what we love best…a road trip during great weather in the beautiful countryside while scouting for fine books!



Two Crazy Booksellers Hit the Road

It’s been a despicable winter–can you see that it’s making us crazy?

2013-14 Winter - CABIN FEVER

2013-14 Winter – CABIN FEVER!

Okay, so the winter of 2013-14 has finally gotten to us.  Cabin Fever, sun deprivation, shrinking firewood supply, exhaustion, mental dullness…it’s all there…symptoms of an unusually long, dreary and cold New York State winter.

But WE know the cure!  To save ourselves, we are about to point the book buggy southward and escape on a book scouting adventure.  We hope to replenish not only our book inventory, but our energy and depleted Vitamin D levels on this trip to sunnier regions of the U.S.A.

Stay tuned as we take you along on a journey to used and rare bookstores, book sales, and an antiquarian book fair in the sunny south!

We hope to send you some nicer images of us soon.

It’s a Wrap: Summary of our Midwest Book Scouting Adventure

I’m finally squeezing in some time for a summary of the trip for all who may be interested.  We’ve been back home from our Midwest book scouting adventure for just one week.

We have been doing our best to catch up with ourselves – and on gardening, housekeeping, unpacking, laundry, and friends.     Our book store cat, Osa, got really tired watching us unpack all the books…

Osa, one of our book shop cats

Osa, weary book shop cat squeezed between all our new books

 By the way, Osa is oh-so happy that we are home!

 The purpose of our book scouting trips is to find interesting, unusual, high-quality stock for our book store.  We always have our customers in mind while making purchases on these trips.  It is important to know your customer base.  Otherwise, one would lose confidence well before you’d spent your first $500.  For us, this meant we were seeking out vintage decorated bindings, scarcer Modern Library Editions in excellent condition, books with beautiful old dust jackets, important non-fiction works and author-signed literature.

 Here are photos of about 2/3 of our book booty taken while unpacking:

Some of the new inventory from our book scouting trip


 Books are everywhere, but quality older books in excellent condition which are of interest to collectors have become quite hard to find.  We do purchase books locally, but the books offered up are often not what we are seeking.  So, we ferret them out wherever we can find them.

In the past, it was common practice for booksellers to travel countrywide, even worldwide, visiting others in the trade in search of books to suit their particular customers and specialization.  It has become less common.  Without exception, all the booksellers we met were happy to see someone “from the trade” coming in to purchase books.  All were hospitable and helpful, and surprised that booksellers were still making pilgrimages, doing it the “old school” way.

Our trip began on the evening of June 1, 2013 and ended on the evening of June 15.  There were ten days of full-blown all-day (and occasional evening) book scouting; we allowed ourselves five days of pure family time in Minnesota, although we hit the large “Book Em” sale in Bloomington while we were there, and one antique shop in Lyndale, MN.

 On this trip we logged approximately 2,800 miles from Stanley, NY west to Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; then north into the Door County peninsula of Wisconsin; then west across the center of Wisconsin to the western edge of  the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota area.  On our return trip we drove southeast through the Wisconsin Dells to Madison, Wisconsin and on to the Chicago area again, and headed a bit further south to Fort Wayne, Indiana, on up to Toledo, then Cleveland and back home to New York State.

We purchased approximately 300 high quality hand-picked and carefully selected books; mostly vintage first editions both fiction and non-fiction (non-fiction included travel, history, natural history, special interest); author-signed editions, decorated American trade bindings, and Modern Library Editions, plus a few important children’s books.  Now you know how picky we are in stocking our book store!  We looked at thousands of titles each day.

 We combed 16 used & rare book stores; two fund-raiser used book sales (Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and ‘Book ‘Em” sale in Bloomington, Minnesota) and at least 10 antique stores/malls.  Pretty crazy when you mix it in with all that driving!  No wonder we are dog-tired.

Book stops we made on our way West:

 Case Western Reserve University Book Sale, Cleveland, Ohio

Myopic Books, Chicago, IL

Untitled Used & Rare Books, Sturgeon Bay, WI

William Caxton, Ltd., Ellison Bay, WI

The Peninsula Bookman, Fish Creek, WI

Old Orchard Antique Mall, Egg Harbor, WI

Shenandoah Books, Appleton, WI

Blue Moon Books, Stevens Point, WI

Ottawa House Books, Eau Claire, WI

Antique Emporium, Eau Claire, WI

“Book ‘Em” Crime Prevention Association Book Sale, Richfield, MN

 Book stops we made on our return trip east:

 Antique Mall of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin Dells, WI

Tomah Antique Mall, Tomah, WI

Paul’s Books, Madison, WI

Browzer’s Books, Madison, WI

Avol’s Books, Madison, WI

Howard’s Books, Evanston, IL

Amaranth Books, Evanston, IL

Bookman’s Alley, Evanston, IL

Chicago Rare Book Center, Evanston, IL

Hyde Brothers Books, Fort Wayne, IN

Every Other Book, Fort Wayne, IN

Maumee Antique Mall, Maumee, OH

 There were additional antique malls/stores we popped into along the way to look at book booths (if there were any).  Antique malls can be a terrible waste of time when book hunting, but you can’t really exclude them; we did find some interesting and collectible quality books in the ones mentioned above.  There were many others I’m not detailing here that were either bookless or just a boneyard for ragged, tired, common books.

 Our top of the list favorite was Bookman’s Alley in Evanston, Illinois.  The city of Evanston, Illinois in general is a worthy book hunting destination, with at least four quality used & rare book stores.  You don’t find clusters of books shops like this in towns and cities much anymore.

 From Bookman’s Alley:

First Edition of "Sand" in original jacket, SIGNED by Will James.

First Edition of “Sand” in original jacket, SIGNED by Will James.

Will James' signature on front free endpaper of "Sand"

Will James’ signature on front free endpaper of “Sand”

And another from Bookman’s Alley:

A Mountain Woman, by Elia W. Peattie.  First Edition (Way & Williams, Chicago, 1896).  With signed poem by author enclosed.

A Mountain Woman, by Elia W. Peattie. First Edition (Way & Williams, Chicago, 1896). With signed poem by author enclosed.

Poem by Elia W. Peattie, inscribed and signed

Poem by Elia W. Peattie, inscribed and signed, was folded into the book

We also loved Browzer’s in Madison, Wisconsin.  This was our second visit to Browzer’s over the past several years, and we were not disappointed.

 One of our many interesting purchases from Browzer’s:

Leather-bound "Photographic Souvenir - Grand Encampment of Knights Templar 26th Triennial Conclave, Boston, 1895

Leather-bound “Photographic Souvenir – Grand Encampment of Knights Templar 26th Triennial Conclave, Boston, 1895

 It’s a large, heavy book, printed on high quality glossy paper with gilt edges.

Title page from the Knights Templar Photo Souvenir Book

Title page from the Knights Templar Photo Souvenir Book



 Also, Blue Moon Books in Stevens Point, Wisconsin was a nice surprise – not huge, but it was crammed with vintage books, and we found a lot to like there.  I featured some of the fine books we found their in an earlier post on the trip.

 For those interested in scholarly titles or Americana, the trip to Door County, Wisconsin would be very worthwhile to visit both Untitled Books in Sturgeon Bay and Wm. Caxton in Ellison Bay.

 The Case Western Reserve University Book Sale was excellent; it had a higher quality of books than most library sales, and plenty of quality vintage selections.  Although we paid a $20 each entry fee to attend the early morning preview sale, it paid off for us.  There weren’t a great number of buyers at the preview, and we found a multitude of excellent books.

We spent nine nights in hotels, six nights with family or friends.  Our best chain hotel experience was with Carlson Company hotels (Radisson, Country Inn & Suites were the ones we stayed in from this hotel chain) for reasonable price with excellent cleanliness, quality and amenities.  But the best deal of all was at the independent Bridgeport Inn in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where we had a full-fledged large apartment-worthy suite on the water for $99.  Most places we stayed were $100/night or less for two adults. Gas prices hovered at approx. $3.80/gallon in most states, with a high of $4.59/gallon in the Chicago area ( fill up before you get there!).

 Here are some additional photos of some of the books we acquired on the trip:


First American Edition of “While England Slept” by Winston S. Churchill in original jacket. (ALREADY SOLD)

The Shepheard's Calender, by Edmund Spenser (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1898) Decorated binding and illustrations by Walter Crane.

The Shepheard’s Calender, by Edmund Spenser (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1898) Decorated binding and illustrations by Walter Crane.

Walter Crane's monogram, stamped on front and rear boards of "The Shepheard's Calender"

Walter Crane’s monogram, stamped on front and rear boards of “The Shepheard’s Calender”

A lovely example of a decorated binding done by the Decorative Designers (stamped with a double D)

A lovely example of a decorated binding done by the Decorative Designers (stamped with a double D)

A beautiful Margaret Armstrong binding in excellent condition

A beautiful Margaret Armstrong binding in excellent condition

Two Volumes (complete) of "Cape Cod" by Henry David Thoreau (Boston: 1899, Houghton Mifflin) with original slipcase.

Two Volumes (complete) of “Cape Cod” by Henry David Thoreau (Boston: 1899, Houghton Mifflin) with original slipcase.  Book decoration by Sarah Wyman Whitman.

Label on original cardboard case for "Cape Cod"

Label on original cardboard case for “Cape Cod”

Headlong Hall; Nightmare Abbey by T. Love Peacock (London: Macmillan, 1896)

Headlong Hall; Nightmare Abbey by T. Love Peacock (London: Macmillan, 1896)

So many fine examples, hard to choose!

Travel was pretty much trouble free, and we are grateful for that.  Although…Ron and I truly run on Dunkin’ Donuts, and we were running on empty much of the time.  Our favorite coffee is almost as hard to find as rare books, east of Ohio.   It’s the Double-D that keeps us going (Dunkin’ Donuts AND Decorative Designers!).  Hence, a few incidents of inside-out clothing and misdirection.  But we sausaged through!!  Met wonderful people, and had such fun relaying our adventures to you, our readers.

We are thrilled with the results of the trip.  Love the books we brought home, and have already sold some of them even though I have barely scratched the surface in beginning to sort and catalog them.

You can view or purchase books we gathered from this trip by going to our website at and scrolling down to “recent acquisitions” near the bottom of the page.  I will be adding more books daily (barring interruptions!) over the next several weeks.

The last word is from Osa, who says he doesn’t want to look at any more books!

Somebody stop them!  I'm trying to sleep here.

Somebody stop them! I’m trying to get some shut-eye here.

Book Scouter’s “Minnesota Breakfast”!

We aren’t in Minnesota yet, but close enough to get what my sister calls a “Minnesota Breakfast.”  Bloody Mary (with deviled eggs and bacon) and a beer chaser!  Great for getting rid of the book scouting road dust.   We just obtained this beauty at the Radisson Hotel in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin…

A Minnesota Breakfast

A Minnesota Breakfast

With eggs and bacon!

With eggs and bacon!

Day One:  We started out yesterday from Cleveland, Ohio.  It was our first overnight stop, where we attended the Case Western Reserve University Book Sale on Saturday morning…

Book Sale - Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Book Sale – Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Case Western Reserve University, inside Veale Center

Case Western Reserve University, inside Veale Center

It was $20.00 each for admission to the pre-sale, which was held from 10am to 12 noon.  After that, admission was free.  We went to the pre-sale.   We purchased about twenty-five books here.   It was a spacious book-buying venue, well-organized.  Almost over-organized, as you had to check out of each book category area as you left it to move on to another.

After the sale, we got back on the highway and headed West all the way to Chicago.

Heading into Chicago

Heading into Chicago

We try to visit different book stores each time we come to Chicago.  On our last Midwestern trip, we visited Powell’s and O’Gara and Wilson.  This time we were just passing through to reach some other stores in Wisconsin, but we did stop at Myopic Books  at 1564 N. Milwaukee Ave Chicago, IL.   The great thing about Myopic Books is that it’s open 7 days a week from 9am-11pm.   When you are traveling, timing is everything in trying to hit book stores during their open hours.  Many book shops close up by 4:30 or 5:00pm.  We arrived in Chicago around 5:30pm, so we still had plenty of time to explore this store.

Myopic Books - Chicago, IL

Myopic Books – Chicago, IL

Three floors of books, with an inventory of around 80,000 volumes.  Not really our kind of store, as the emphasis here is not on collectible books.  Those that fell into the collectible category were quite high priced for their condition, we thought.  “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign” applies here — NO DISCOUNTS, NO HAGGLING,  NO PICTURE TAKING, ETC. ETC.   Great selection of reading material in all genres, and the place seemed well frequented by young people, which is always good to see.

The location is in a hopping area with lots of young people, pubs, and small restaurants all the way up and down the street.   We went across the street to grab some dinner at a pub called “Pint” at 1547 North Milwaukee.  They had lots of books on their walls…and pretty good Shepherd’s Pie.

Ron at Pint Pub in Chicago

Ron at Pint Pub in Chicago

We drove on to Evanston, IL just north of Chicago where we hoped to stay overnight and explore some book shops in there the morning.   BUT, we experienced difficulty finding a room for the night due to graduations and weddings,  so we motored on north into Wisconsin, stopping at about 10:30 at a Raddison Hotel in Pleasant Prairie.  Big wedding party was going on at our arrival, but they had a nice room for us at a reasonable price.

Catch up with us soon —  we are  headed north toward Sturgeon Bay!

Book Scouting Under the Tents – Skaneateles and Clinton, NY

A few days ago we took a road trip to beautiful Skaneateles, NY to attend the Skaneateles Library Book Sale, held every summer under a tent on the library grounds.   The weather was hot and sunny (as it has been most of this season).

Skaneateles Library Book Sale 2012

Here is a scarce book we were lucky enough to find there; we had two Los Angeles buyers eager to obtain it within twenty-four hours of our return home.  Unfortunately we could only make one of them happy.

Picture People, by Olga Rosmanith (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Doran, 1934)

It is a first edition of a novel written by Olga Rosmanith in 1934 about an ambitious starlet’s rise and fall in the capricious swirl and glamour of Hollywood during its golden era.

Skaneateles is a lovely town situated at the top of Skaneateles Lake – one of the prettiest Finger Lakes just south of Syracuse, NY.  It is a bustling place in the summer, with a small public beach right in town, lots of interesting unique shops and places to dine.

Public lakeside park, Skaneateles, NY

We had dinner at the Sherwood Inn, always reliable for good food.  This year we spent the night at  Finger Lakes Lodging, which is under the umbrella of Mirbeau Inn & Spa, and located just across the highway from the main Inn.  Finger Lakes Lodging offers very reasonably priced rooms with an Adirondack flavor, right on the edge of town.

Finger Lakes Lodging – Skaneateles, NY

In the morning we took about an hour’s drive east to Clinton, New York, where the Kirkland Library was holding their annual book sale on the village green.  The “green” was rather brown this year, due to the drought we have been experiencing.

Kirkland Library Sale on the Village Green, Clinton, NY 2012

Here is a first edition of a book by James Thurber which we purchased at the Kirkland Library Sale:

The13 Clocks by James Thurber (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1950)

Written in 1950 and illustrated in color by Marc Simont, it is a cheery, philosophical book that is written in the style of a fairy tale.  It is fairly scarce in nice condition in the first state (illustrator’s name incorrectly spelled “Mark” on title page), and in a clean unclipped jacket.

Berry Hill Books in Deansboro, NY is only about five miles south of Clinton on Route 12B, so after scouring the sale and lunch at Alteri’s, we made our requisite stop there.  Berry Hill has thousands of vintage books in their multi-level barn.  Among our finds were a couple of novels in lovely old jackets.

The Street of Seven Stars, by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Venus In The East, by Wallace Irwin

We were home again by Friday evening, dragging garden hoses for the umpteenth time to water trees, lawn and flowers as we try to limp through this dry spell.

And this morning I awoke to the glorious sound of rain pattering against the window.  It became a good drenching downpour, and lasted for an hour or more, ceased for a little while, and now we have a nice steady rain again.  I can visualize rivulets of water trickling into the empty wells, and toward the thirsty roots of trees. Blessed rain!

We had delightful visitors from New York City in our book shop today – Nahum Waxman and his wife Maron, proprietors of Kitchen Arts & Letters, Inc., 1435 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY.  They were on a “bookman’s holiday” from their store which has been established for more than 25 years and specializes in books on the culinary arts and food writing.  Both of the Waxmans have a background in publishing.  It was fun to talk with them, as they seem to enjoy road trips to visit historical areas and book shops as much as we do!  We were delighted to learn they carry WPA guides with them on their trips, and use maps rather than GPS to find their way.

If you just want to get from point A to point B, GPS is great.  But if you are touring, and curious at all about the ground you are covering, GPS leaves you blind to the fun and  interesting places that might lay just off the beaten path.  A map gives you a better idea of the lay of the land, and the alternatives at your disposal for getting from A to B.  Maps help you visualize where you’ve been and how you arrived there.  The big picture, you know?  There were piles of old maps for sale at the Clinton Book Sale for a dollar a piece — with a sign suggesting they might be used as wrapping paper!  I hope some of them were purchased for framing.  We need to look at more maps.

Happy travels!

Where Oranges Grow on Trees…

Oranges on a tree in Ron's Mom's back yard. Almost ripe!

After leaving Lake City, Florida, we headed south again on I-75 where we stopped in at Webb’s Antique Mall (just off I-75 south of Lake City).  There we ran into Steve Bolter, owner of Sleuth Books in Palm Coast, Florida.  Steve maintains a nice selection of books at Webb’s Antique Mall, and we were happy to find a couple of pretty decorated bindings in nice condition, and some books with early jackets.  Steve and his Boston Bull Terrier were there to check on their booth and add books…we had an enjoyable visit, and Steve supplied us with the Florida Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association guide to book shops in Florida.  This will be a great help to us on our book scouting travels in this state.

We arrived in Port Charlotte, Florida about 3:00 on Saturday afternoon at Ron’s parents home, where we plan to visit for a few days before turning around and continuing our book scouting adventure northward.

What a beautiful place…and beautiful people to relax with!  And a chance to do our laundry as well.

Jerry and Ron relaxing by the screened in pool

Where I had a morning swim!

We all went to dinner at the nearby Waterside Bar & Grill…

Waterside Bar & Grill, Port Charlotte, FL

Good food and live music, balmy weather and Magaritas!

Jerry, Gloria and Ron

Now we are off to explore the area around Port Charlotte and Sarasota, Florida.  We’ll report back soon!

Live, from Lake City, Florida…it’s Old Scrolls Book Shop!

And heeeeeeere’s Ronnie!

I didn't say it was sunny...I just said it was warm, we saw palm trees, and we got our shades out and put them on...sweet!

We have palm trees and warmer weather.  We even whipped out our shades and put them on for a little while! Tonight I spotted a little green tree frog on our motel window.  We must be in Florida.

The morning began with a visit to Atlanta Vintage Books, at 3660 Clairmont Road, Chamblee, Georgia (part of greater Atlanta).

Atlanta Vintage Books, Chamblee, Georgia

Atlanta Vintage Books is owned by Bob and Jan Bolgla.  It’s a huge store with friendly, fun owners and staff.  Most books are on the main floor, but there is also a lower level with books, magazines and ephemera.   They have a nice selection of signed first editions, history, military, cook books, literature, and a very large vintage children’s section.   There were several cases of vintage fiction, some with early jackets, some decorated bindings.

From left: Bob and Jan Bolgla and their very helpful employee, Mallory at Atlanta Vintage Books

interior view of Atlanta Vintage Books

We had a fun time visiting with Bob, Jan, and Mallory — and came away with a nice stack of books.

Our second stop before leaving the Atlanta area was at Books Again, 225 N. McDonough St., Decatur, Georgia.

Jim Adams, Proprietor of Books Again (Decatur, GA)

Jim Adams is the owner of Books Again (co-owned, I think, with Eric the Cat).

Eric, Jim's book buddy

Jim has some high quality collectible books in his shop, including modern firsts, signed first editions, a large mystery section, poetry, and plenty of non-fiction as well, all in very nice clean condition.  His store has an inventory of over 30,000 books.  We came away with several attractive decorated bindings, and an early first edition Modern Library in a jacket (Canterbury Tales), some first edition literature.   A healthy stack of fine books.  And Jim gave us excellent directions to our next destination (better than Mapquest, by a long shot).  Thanks Jim, for getting us back on I-75 with the least amount of trouble!

Before leaving Georgia we stopped for dinner at the Smok’n Pig B-B-Q in Valdosta, Georgia — advertised as being named one of the top ten barbeque restaurants in the country.  Eh, I can name three restaurants in the Rochester, New York area that have them licked by a mile.  It was okay…nothing to rave about.  But with our bellies full we were able to get back on the highway and motor south through a few rain storms to Lake City, Florida.

Finally, here’s a photo of a small sampling from the books we’ve purchased so far on our book buying road trip:

Just a sampling of the books we've picked up along the way. We've purchased about 150 books thus far -- sticking to our high standards of excellent condition and collectible quality.

Tomorrow it will be on to Gainesville, Tampa, St. Pete and beyond.   Stay tuned.

I’m still trying to find that tree frog…I wanted to snap his photo for the blog — he was smiling and everything — but by the time my camera was recharged, he was gone.  Who knows where he’ll turn up?!

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