Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Books You Don't Need

Tucked away in an old mill building on the Sawmill River is the Montague Bookmill -- tagline "Books you don't need in a place you can't find." It's just a few miles north of Amherst (yes, it's in Montague), but off the main drag, and unless you're looking for it, you probably won't find it. It's somewhere around Rt 2, Rt 47, Rt 116, Rt 63.... As the website says, just wander the country roads and eventually you'll come across it -- if you don't miss it.

I first heard about the bookmill on a radio commercial, and was caught by its tagline (isn't that what taglines are supposed to do?). It was quite a treat to make a visit last weekend.

The Bookmill is a delightful used book store, with rooms filled with books on art, politics, religion, native americans, biographies, history, film,travel, botany, languages, and more. There's a whole fiction room and a full section for kids and teens, as well as a table with the newest arrivals and a local authors / publishing houses section. Wood floors, wood shelves, old windows looking out onto the river, and well-worn comfortable chairs and couches make it an inviting place to stay and read for a while.

The store has frequent special events, with book release parties, winter movies, author readings, workshops, and musical events. And don't miss the small typewriter display in the alcove by the top of the narrow stairs.

If you should get hungry while you're there browsing and reading, there's the Lady Killigrew Cafe nextdoor, serving up sandwiches and drinks and a few other options (like rice, eggs, udon noodles). My recommendation? The bread board w/apple & cheddar cheese -- with accompanying summer sausage and mustard. It's the perfect meal for the setting, served with 6 slices of sourdough bread, a sliced apple, sliced cheese, sliced grilled sausage, and a small pot of deli mustard -- delicious. (And they use local & organic products when available.) If you have food allergies, the staff is happy to work around them to get you something satisfying to fill you up. The dining area comes complete with multiple trivial pursuit games to give you something to do while you wait for your food -- or while you eat.

With a nice restaurant downstairs from the Bookmill, an antique shop, and an art studio, there's plenty to keep the destination-bound busy.

If you like books, if you like to just sit and read, if you're a used bookstore enthusiast, this is definitely one to check out -- just be sure to give yourself plenty of time -- you may not escape until closing time, when the nice lady at the desk finds you all curled up with a pile of books and informs you that it's almost time to close up shop.


Anonymous said...

Can't believe I lived in Belchertown/Amherst for 24 years and never knew about this place.

emily said...

It's a great place -- funky and full of books with that great little cafe attached to its side and a nice restaurant downstairs. I'm looking forward to getting back there when the weather warms!


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