words everywhere

new arrivals only allowed in fair weather
The Book Barn ~ 1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

Recently we spent a couple of hours at one of our favorite places, a used bookstore named the Book Barn, in the coastal village of Niantic, Connecticut. The Book Barn has three locations within a mile of each other, two are “downtown” and at the main site there is a huge barn full of books on three levels, surrounded by smaller structures which are also full of books. The complex houses about half a million books at any given moment.

Lucky is a tiny black cat who hangs out
in the outbuilding called the “Last Page”
1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

If one wants to sell books to the store she must take a number at “Ellis Island,” the receiving spot for new additions. We love to browse the endless stacks of books, pet the friendly resident cats, and read all the creative signs found in the gardens and on and around the buildings. As one might expect from book lovers, words are found everywhere: reminders, warnings, directions, suggestions, quips and puns.

sign in the Haunted Book Shop
1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

I feel the need of reading. It is a loss to a man not to have grown up among books… Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.
~ Abraham Lincoln
(Abraham Lincoln, a Man of Faith & Courage: Stories of Our Most Admired President)

garden gargoyle perched on top of a large stone
a thinker sitting at the bottom of the stone
death due to Kindle

Of course we came home with an armful of interesting books to read! I may love my Kindle but will always have a special place in my heart for paperback and hardcover books!!

1.19.13 ~ Niantic, Connecticut

The following video is a bit long, but the beginning of it offers a good idea about the look and feel of the place…

28 thoughts on “words everywhere”

  1. There is no better combination (in my book!) than shelves full of books to browse through, and a cat! The Book Barn looks rustic, casual and friendly. No wonder it has such a fabulous atmosphere Barbara. Enjoy your new “finds”. You didn’t happen to come by The Enchanted April, did you? I think you will love it when you read it. 🙂

    1. I didn’t see “The Enchanted April” on this trip, Joanne – might order it from Amazon if it doesn’t show up soon. 🙂 It’s usually hit or miss at the Book Barn – we rarely find what we are looking for, but often discover other titles we never knew existed. Keeping an open mind about what we will find is part of the fun! There are many cats there – we picked up the free “Book Barn Cat Spotting Guide” and learned about all TEN of them and their preferred hangout spots. 🙂

    1. Glad you enjoyed the tour, Laurie. Lucky is a sweet tiny little black cat who was sleeping in a pile of blankets on a chair in the Last Page – we didn’t want to disturb her for a photo shoot! Maybe next time. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Bente – it’s a great place but we try not to go too often or we wind up bringing home way too many books. I do have a little pile of books to sell back, though… 🙂

  2. “I may love my Kindle but will always have a special place in my heart for paperback and hardcover books!!”

    That says it perfectly, Barbara. Obviously, books aren’t going away any time soon. (Remember the paperless office?)

    Every time I say I’m not buying any more books, something comes along to change my mind. This post has done that again, and I’m sure our next trip to CT will include a stop at the Book Barn.

    1. Sorry to be the catalyst to you changing your mind about buying more books, Charles – yikes! We take all our out-of-state guests to the Book Barn and everyone loves it and cannot resist buying a few or a lot of books. Two years ago I went through the condo, and collected about ¾ of my books and sold or donated them with the idea of not buying any more, but of course, that resolve didn’t last too long. Let me know if/when you decide to visit the Book Barn – maybe we can meet you there!

  3. Very impressive!! To all the book lovers. To all the ones who dream of having their own library, and why did I mention this morning about my dream of setting up my own library, and I receive your post. Barbara, are these the signs? Back to picking my book now. thank you so much, I love words words everywhere.

    1. Definitely, Sonali – it’s always advisable to pay attention to dreams and synchronicity! What a lovely dream, to set up your own library… I hope your dream comes true, my friend. I always thought working in a library as a genealogist or in a bookstore would be a rewarding experience – there are so many paths opening to the future. I love words, too.

    1. Maybe you could start your own, Sheryl! All you need is a big old barn fitted with shelves, the right zoning laws, and a place to take in and sort used books – I bet the business would take off in no time! 🙂

  4. My gosh you tell a good story Barbara, I enjoyed going through the Book Barn with you. What a fun place. It seems as though one goes there just because its so unique and one walks out with armloads of books which you didn’t mean to purchase. Love that.

    I just went through our books and have cleared out about 1/2 of them – gave some to charity and am not sure what to do with the ones that are left.

    Mr F wants to buy me a Kindle for my birthday. Any advice?

    1. Thank you, Rosie! The Book Barn is definitely a dream destination for bookworms. 🙂 It’s a great informal place, no fancy furniture or décor, just endless rough-hewn wooden shelves stuffed into every nook and cranny. A few years ago the genealogy books were inexplicably tucked under a staircase with the erotica books. But thankfully the erotica books have been moved now.

      When is your birthday, Rosie? Hope I’m not too late! I have a oldest, cheapest Kindle, without any of the new bells and whistles, and it suits me just fine because reading is the only thing I ever do with it. The Kindle Paperwhite looks interesting because it has a built-in light – it would be nice not to have to reach over to turn out the light on the nightstand when I start to fall asleep while I’m reading. But I’ve never seen or used one yet and can’t really offer an opinion one way or the other. Hope you have a Happy Birthday, my friend!

      1. I don’t like reading on a computer and that’s why I’m hesitant to get a Kindle. I also like books, turning pages, marking lines and paragraphs I want to remember…

        1. I don’t like reading on a computer, either, but the Kindle feels different. It’s nice to take a whole library of books in one slim package when traveling. The Kindle does have a highlighting feature which I use constantly to mark lines and paragraphs, and a place to go look at all your “clippings.”

    1. You’re welcome, Robin. It can get chilly there in the winter, and unbearably muggy in the summer, but always enjoyable somehow… 🙂

  5. I always seek out beautiful second-hand bookstores wherever I go, and this place is now on my “must see” list! I followed Bronxboy(aka Charles) to this post, at his recommendation. I’m glad I did! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Welcome to my blog, Rufina! We are always stopping at used bookstores, too – there are a lot of them on Cape Cod and in Brattleboro, Vermont – but this is the largest one we’ve ever found here in New England. If you do get to come and see the Book Barn, let me know and perhaps we can meet you there!

  6. What a fascinating place, Barbara … everything is so manipulative in big box store shopping these days … there’s nothing like the kind of unique shops you can get lost in – in a good way! – like this book store.

    1. I’m with you and tend to avoid big box stores and chain restaurants – some place local and full of personality wins me over every time. We even tend to do our gift shopping at a little store that sells useful and beautiful one-of-kind objects made by local artisans.

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