Hello, dear friends! Today I am coming at you with this most delightful of posts. I recently took a trip to Baldwin’s Book Barn in West Chester, PA. I actually discovered its existence when our own Wendy tweeted out this directory for independent bookstores and I discovered that I had this whimsical wonder practically in my own backyard! I knew I just had to take the trip. It was also featured in Buzzfeed’s list of the Great American Bookstores. I hope you can find similarly deserving treasures in your neighborhood!
The building itself was built in 1822 and was an actual farmhouse until it founds its new life as a bookstore in 1946. Book lovers have been flocking to it ever since.
This is the main entrance. It has a coal stove because of course it does. It’s a 19th century farm building. I was obviously and utterly charmed from the moment I stepped into the store.
A set of Horatio Alger (and other) books found in the Children’s and YA room.
Someone (I swear it wasn’t me!) rather artfully placed this copy of Country Cats next to, yes, a rather sleepy country cat! Country bookstore cat! Even better :D This cat was so fat and placid and sleepy and happy. I imagine he lives the very best life a cat can.
One of the many, many chairs situated throughout the reading nooks of this five story beauty. At every corner, on every level there are are chairs for sitting and reading. So comfy, so cozy!
Here’s just an example of what the shelves looked like. Just jam packed with old and rare books. To be among them, to take that deep breath and inhale the scent of those old books. Ah, what heaven.
Some of the “shelves” were actually old packing crates with antique advertisements. I find this sort of thing fascinating.
I really was touched by this name I found in a random book in the German section. Mary Gehman wrote her name in this copy of her book in 1877. It exists still today and is discoverable by anyone who comes in contact with it. She lives on in that way. The lives of books! And how they can become the lives of their owners! Captivating. To simply be in this place, amongst all these books, to think of all the hands these old books have touched and the minds they have reached over actual centuries… It is an intensely humanist experience and one I found profoundly awe inducing and humbling.
Yes, even the staircases at the Book Barn have books! Of course they do! “Nooks and crannies full o’books” is just one way to describe this place. It is every book lover’s heaven and if you are ever fortunate enough to be in the area (about 40 minutes outside of Philadelphia) you shouldn’t hesitate to visit! I can guarantee your book lover’s heart will fill with delight and your soul will feel at peace and rest.
To all my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving! I am filled with so much gratitude this Thanksgiving for this incredible community I have been so graciously welcomed into. Joining this blog, and getting to know so many of you over this past year, has been a true highlight of my life. I find it an honor to have such friends to share this passion with.I have had some truly unbelievable experiences in this year and they would never have happened if Wendy hadn’t invited me here to be a part of this wondrous community.
To love books is to love life, and to have such smart, articulate, and passionate friends is a joy and a pleasure. Thank you for being a cherished part of my life. <3