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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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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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.

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.

 

 

 

Twin Cities – Biblio-fantastic!

20150626_105952_resizedThe 25th Annual Twin Cities Antiquarian Book Fair took place on June 26-27th, 2015, and YES, we were there!  I grew up in the great State of Minnesota, and it was time for a family visit…which happily coincided with this MWABA sponsored event.

Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair - June 26-27, 2015.  Progress Center, State Fairgrounds, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair – June 26-27, 2015. Progress Center, State Fairgrounds, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Over 50 exhibitors from across the country came together at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds in St. Paul.

We arrived at 10:00am on Friday, thinking that’s when it opened (silly me) — only to find out that selling did not commence until 3:00pm.

This turned out to be a fortuitous error, because it caused us to drive over to Midway Used and Rare Bookstore to while away the hours, and there we discovered they were having a splendid 50th Anniversary Book Sale!

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Midway Book Store   was  voted Best Used Book Store of the Twin Cities by City Pages.

 

 

Midway Used & Rare Books, owned by Tom and Kathy Stransky, was established in 1965. They are housed in a Streamline Moderne building located at the corner of University & Snelling Avenues in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Free parking spots!!  And inside there are two expansive floors of books, with excellent books in clean solid condition, in just about every genre,  from American History to Science Fiction, literature, decorated bindings, and much more.  Midway was also exhibiting at the Twin Cities Book Fair.

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We had a ball here, and came away with two boxes of carefully selected books.

Another lucky break — just a few steps away we found just the kind of cool old tavern where we like to have our traditional brain lubricating pre-book fair Bloody Mary!

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We didn’t even have to move the car — our space was reserved for Christensen Saloon and Midway Books exclusively!!  Perfect.

Christensen Saloon - St. Paul, Minnesota.  Have you ever seen such a long bar???

Christensen Saloon – St. Paul, Minnesota. Have you ever seen such a long bar???

We arrived back at the book fair promptly at 3:00pm, and it wasn’t long before we ran into John Phillips and his daughter Jennie from Evening Star Books.

John Phillips with daughter Jennie (Evening Star Books), and me.

John Phillips with daughter Jennie (Evening Star Books), and me.

John and Jennie recognized me from my blog!  They are friendly and fun booksellers, and had a cool selection of Literature, Mystery, Science Fiction and much more.

Evening Star books is based in Middleton, Wisconsin, and sells via their website and book fairs like this one.

Over at Sonny Ideker’s booth (Sonny Ideker, Bookseller) we found this treasure:

The History of Modern painting from Picasso to Surrealism (signed by Picasso)

The History of Modern painting from Picasso to Surrealism (signed by Picasso)

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Sonny hails from Roswell, Georgia, and exhibits at over 30 book fairs a year — so if you go to antiquarian book fairs, look for Sonny.  He had an extensive array of fine books.  This was was one of his selections we liked…

Spain, by George Wharton Edwards. (Penn Publishing Company, 1926)

Spain, by George Wharton Edwards. (Penn Publishing Company, 1926)

Sonny Ideker's booth at the Twin Cities Book Fair

Sonny Ideker’s booth at the Twin Cities Book Fair

Here are some more photos from the fair…

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Exhibitors came from as far east as Boston (Peter Stern) and as far west as Utah (Ken Sanders Rare Books and Back of Beyond Books).

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Ron looking over a case of goodies

In our next post we’ll tell you about the book scouting we did before and after the fair on our trek to Minnesota.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Beaufort and Charleston, S.C.

A pretty garden in Beaufort, SC

A pretty garden in Beaufort, SC

I had long heard that Beaufort, South Carolina was a beautiful little coastal city.  It is indeed a pretty town, and it has a bookstore, so it’s alright by me!

McIntosh Book Shoppe,  919 Bay St.,     Beaufort, South Carolina

McIntosh Book Shoppe, 919 Bay St.,
Beaufort, South Carolina

McIntosh Book Shoppe is located on the main drag of Beaufort and is owned by Wilson McIntosh.  The store carries used and rare books, and also local/regional authors, and they host regular book signings.

Inside McIntosh Book Shoppe

Inside McIntosh Book Shoppe

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There were a number of books signed by Pat Conroy (author of The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides, and more)  near the front desk, including some older first editions.  Apparently he lives in the area and has coffee every morning just down the street.

Beaufort is a very walkable town, with lots of interesting shops and restaurants, shady streets, and lovely architecture.

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It has a beautiful harbor with an expansive park…

Harbor area - Beaufort, SC

Harbor area – Beaufort, SC

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We enjoyed walking the town, but left Beaufort around lunchtime to drive on to Charleston — another city we hadn’t yet visited.  Our first stop was Blue Bicycle Books, owned by Jonathan Sanchez.

Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King Street, Charleston, SC

Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King Street, Charleston, SC

This shop is stocked with used, rare and local books (both hardcover and paperback), with emphasis on quality writing.  The store looks small from the front, but after you enter it is spacious, with a long hallway that has room after room opening to the right as you move to the rear of the building.

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There was a room just for children’s books…

20150429_153952_resizedand plenty of non-fiction as well as literature.

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After our visit here, we found our way to a parking garage in the historic center of town, so that we could walk around a bit.

Charleston City Market

Loved the streets and architecture…

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It was now pouring rain, but we found our way to the  Charleston City Market where there is art, music, and food all under one historic roof.

Inside the Charleston City Market

Inside the Charleston City Market

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We really wanted to dine in Charleston, but we were caught between a rock and a hard place (between the hours of 3pm and 5pm) — no one was serving.  Apparently they stop serving lunch at 3 and don’t start serving dinner until 5.  We were directed to the tavern section of each of three restaurants, but there wasn’t a seat to be found among the crowds!!  Brutal.

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So we decided to head on up the road.

Goodbye, beautiful city of Charleston…

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Next, it’s on to Asheville, North Carolina — a city blessed with fine books and bourbon!  This turned out to be one of my FAVORITE places.

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