Okay so the last few days were not the best I have ever had . . and after 2 months of rain . . . I ran away from home. So there. I cashed in an invitation from Flanzy & Dick at Monroe Street Books in Middlebury Vermont. The last time I was up there, about 3 hours and $20 bucks worth of gas away, it was mid winter and the landscape was rather brown and ugly. I get enough of that down here. This time it was green like it says in all the travel brochures.
Monroe Street Books is not ‘exactly’ on Monroe Street anymore. They have a nice new cavernous shop 2 miles north on Rte 7. There are some who say it’s the best shop in Vermont, and who am I to dispute that? Personally I’d widen the geography a bit.
My idea of the best kind of bookshop is one where you can’t possibly see everything in one trip. There are two types that fit this bill, the ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ type and the ‘Personal Library’ type. Monroe street is the former. I have been in it several times and have YET to get to all the sections that interest me. It’s wide and deep and tall and I just know there are books in there who want to come home with me if I can only find them. My problem with their store is that I have to pace myself, and balance between as many as I can carry and as many as I can afford, once I start making a pile my willpower gets weak.
Middlebury, has bookshops, 3 used and one new unlike where I live…where we have NONE (not for 30 miles anyway.) So, between rounds of tackling Flanzy & Dick’s bottomless shop. I took a turn around Middlebury, specifically In the Alley Bookshop, which is in of all places…an alley. In the Alley is an example of the other kind of my favorite store. It is very small, as a matter of fact I think the whole place could fit it my living room – but they have better books.
I told the proprietor John Vincent, that what I liked about his shop was what WASN’T in it. As Monroe street is a shop for collectors, In the Alley is a shop for readers. As if each book was specifically chosen for its particular section, to give you the most readable books on the topic at hand. In an area highly traffiked by college students attracted to low prices, I am sure the stock turnover is high. So next time I will have to rebrowse all the same shelves. As you can guess I had a hard time leaving. Damn good thing the shop isn’t big enough for any chairs.
Now things get surreal. When I was handing him my card – John says to me, “Oh, I’m related to some Godseys in Virginia.” and I says “Oh really? which ones?” and long story short, we are second cousins. Pretty wierd how the world works eh?
After my shoping spree I popped in next door to the Storm Cafe and did my best Rachel Ray imitation. The Storm Cafe in Frog Hollow sits like a LOT of downtown on Otter Creek so it’s hard NOT to have a nice view of the river. The food is ALL homemade and yummy, the Spicy Mussels were just an excuse to sop up the sauce with their Focaccia bread. And the Hummus was to die for.
I was gone for exactly 32 hours…who knows next time I may be gone for 38!!