There is something magical about finding a quaint little bookstore in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a city. A place you can slip into and escape the outside noise. That’s not exactly what happened to me, but close enough. I found this treasure on a quiet side street in Montclair (NJ).
If any of you know Montclair, have visited, worked, or lived in Montclair (or still do) you know that Montclair is known for its chic little boutiques, bougie international eateries, yoga studios and cozy cafes. It’s a mini NYC right in our very own backyard. https://www.montclairnjusa.org/
We weren’t looking for a bookstore. We meaning myself, my photographer, Geraldine and her assistant. We were just looking for a location to shoot some photos for my blog when we happened upon the Watchung Booksellers, a cute bookstore near the train station. https://www.watchungbooksellers.com/.
I literally felt like Dorothy arriving in Oz or Cinderella at the ball. Watchung Booksellers has got to be the cutest little gem I’ve come across in a long time. It was like a three scoop sundae with all the toppings! Want to know what the cherry on top was? Well, even if you don’t I will tell you anyway.
As I walked in absorbing the wooden shelves, rows of books and cozy reading areas, I turned to my left and to my wandering eyes what should I see?
A little cafe – Da Pepo. Complete with chalkboard announcing “Wait to be seated”, wine glasses for BYOB, farm-style grey washed tables where you could partake of paninis and things.
I wanted to squeal like a kid on Christmas morning! We immediately took over the cafe, after ordering three coffees and asking for permission to shoot some photos, of course.
We were having a ton of fun and just loved the space, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the bookstore next door. I had peeped a wooden stepladder through the connecting doorway and I really, really, really wanted some photos on it! I kept thinking Carrie Bradshaw with my cute french beret.
I finally asked an employee if we could take photos. I explained that I am a blogger who blogs about a little bit of everything and I loved their space and really wanted pictures. She referred me to a younger girl who I guess is in charge of social media. She asked about my blog, agreed to the photos and asked that I tag her so they can follow me. Oh! She also asked for my blog site so they could follow it! Winning!
Look I know we have bookstores like Barnes and Noble and they serve their purpose, but it’s so big and bright and formal. This book store was small and quaint and familiar.
Now let me back up a second. I wasn’t planning on writing about this bookshop – it really was just a prop. But something stirred in me as I walked around, posed, touched and smelled books. A long hidden memory was tickling the edges of my mind.
And then I suddenly remembered a bookstore I used to frequent (no let me rephrase that – nearly lived in ) back in Passaic where I grew up. I can’t remember but I believe it was just called the Passaic Bookstore. It was located at the end of Main street. I remember spending hours a day several times a day after school in there as a depressed and angry teen. LOL!
I would get lost picking up books, touching them, browsing, reading the first few pages trying to decide if it was worth the 75 cents it cost (clearance shelf). And there was so much clutter!!! Heavenly clutter! Every wall was lined with books, aisles had baskets filled with books and little tables piled high with more, nooks and crannies where you could hide and get lost in.
I remembered that when I was no more than 15 or 16, I told myself I wanted to own a little bookstore when I grew up.
I wanted something that felt like someone’s living room with dark wooden shelves, comfy plush seats, the smell of coffee brewing in the background mingled with the smell of old pages in a book.
I haven’t held a book and read in a long time. I used to read 3 or 4 books a month growing up. Now I listen to 1 -2 books a year on Audible because I am always running around. I have to say it’s not the same half-listening to a book while waiting to order coffee at the drive thru.
Books are like heaven to me!!
I didn’t buy any books that day as much as I wanted to, but something about that bookstore stirred a long dormant love of books. I don’t know if I will ever own my own bookstore, but I will definitely be going back to the little community bookstore in Montclair because if I can walk into a space that brings me as much joy as it did that’s a place I need to frequent more often.
Thanks for stopping by lovies! PC|geri_1221 http://www.geritorres.com/
P.S. Here a list of some of my favorite books EVERRRR! (I hope you share yours with me too!)
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Pillars of the Earth . by Ken Follet
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (of Course!)
- Passing by Nella Larsen (A MUST READ!)
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez
- Counte of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte