A Mid-Winter Visit To Hobart Book Village

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It was only recently I learned that there is an actual NY state book village. Hobart NY is a tiny town in Delaware County, nestled in a rural agricultural region where small farms, mom and pop

stores and local diners are the fabric of the community and surrounding region. Hobart is nestled on the banks of the Delaware River, home to a grist mill, a carding mill and a sawmill in its early days. Like many other small New York state communities, its population is minimal; the 2010 census reported 441 residents made their home in Hobart. Hobart’s population was at its highest in 1940 with 638 residents and has declined slightly since. Which makes it’s primary feature even more surprising.

What Is A Book Village?

What sets this little town apart from so many others like it, is it’s unique local attraction. Hobart is a designated “book village. According to the Hobart Book Village website, this is part of the description of what a book village is, and how Hobart fits in:

What is a Book Village?

“The idea of a Book Village or Book Town was born in 1961 in rural Wales in a small, nearly forgotten town called Hay-on-Wye. Richard Booth, an entrepreneur, bought several town buildings and turned them into bookstores. Today, nearly 25 independent booksellers sell second-hand and antiquarian books, prints and other works on paper to thousands of readers and collectors who, via ferry, flood into this small town.

In 2005, Don Dales, our own local entrepreneur established the only book village east of the Mississippi in historical Hobart, New York. Today there are 4 independent bookshops as well as Art Galleries, Home Embellishment and Antiques shops in the village. There are also many other established booksellers within a 50 mile radius making the Hobart Book Village a not-to-be missed terminus for book lovers everywhere.”

(After our recent visit to Hobart, we learned that there will soon be 6 bookstores instead of 4)

Book villages are quite popular in other countries. There are book villages in France, Wales Scotland, and many other countries.

My daughter and I have a shared passion for books. We are avid readers, but more than that, we love the books themselves. Many people share this passion…savoring the tactile experience that only a book can provide. Walking into a used book store, a library book sale (or even a book-heavy garage sale) always involves an anticipation of the hunt…the possibility of finding something you have not seen before…a favorite author in an early hard cover, the musty, comfy smell of books that have been waiting just for our arrival.


Needless to say, the thought of a village filled with books is not to be taken lightly. When my daughter told me about this, we made a reservation at a local inn and eagerly awaited our weekend in Hobart.

The Visit

There are admittedly not many accommodations in Hobart, but we booked a room at the only inn, called the Bull & Garland. An old fashioned room, cozy (I was obsessed with the vintage fox hunting wallpaper) and bolstered by a pub connected to the property where we had a great meal our first night.

We couldn’t wait to hit the bookstores! It was Saturday mid-afternoon, so we only had a few hours to check them out. The first one we visited was the Wm. H. Adams Antiquarian Books. It looked inviting, so in we went. We spent a lot of time browsing here…they had a ton of what seemed to be rare and antique books of all types. The owner offered us a cup of tea…so sweet! We spent so much time browsing, we headed right to dinner. We each found treasures to take home.

 

On Sunday morning we had breakfast at The Coffee Pot right across from Wm. H. Adams books. This is an American style diner, the type found in 99% of small American towns. Great food, casual and friendly service, a full menu with all the expected basic breakfast items. Super comfortable. This one was cozy inside, the walls covered with vintage signs and all sorts of stuff. (The only negative was when we tried to go back for coffee at 11:00 and they were closed.)

Next bookstore stop: Creative Corner Books. This is a super clean, super welcoming store that features everything creative: crafts, knitting, quilting, vintage cook books (LOTS of cook books), and a number of gifts made by local artisans. We spent plenty of time in here…so fun. The owner told us that they have purchased the store next door and are expanding their inventory.

Next stop: Blenheim Hill Books. This book store was a find for both of us. Jessica’s tastes run from American Literature, to many types of fiction, poetry, etc. I have more of an eclectic taste, primarily non-fiction, including true crime, gardening, biographical books, and anything related to what I am learning about at the moment! There was plenty there for both of us; my finds included a couple of really cool World War II books for my husband, about which he was very happy!

Our last stop was Liberty Rock Books, a HUGE store with a ton of inventory. The store wasn’t really open as the owners were on vacation, but the owner of the store next door brought us in. That is what is so cool about this place…all the bookstore owners watch out for each other and help each other to grow. I did browse through the thousands of vintage postcards they had there, and found some really awesome ones from my home town

 

This was a great trip. We took a ride to nearby Delhi, where there was a super funky used furniture store, and a great antique shop that had a huge selection of vintage and antique items as well as metal art sculptures. On the way we stopped at this little gift shop called the Sheep’s Nest that was like a straight-up English cottage…would love to go back in the summer. On Sunday night (on the advice of the wonderful gal at Blenehim Books) we drove to a nearby town called Bovina. The Brushland Eating House was a complete surprise…one of the most amazing meals I have had in a long time. For dessert, we both had crème brûlée. No, actually what we had was the best crème brûlée on the face of the planet. Ever.

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