My friend Melissa recently came to visit for our annual vacation. We always try to do a variety of things when we visit each other – with plenty of time for naps and reading parties – but you probably won’t be shocked to hear that we also make visiting bookstores a priority. Thus, I present to you our June vacation, which is certainly comprised of some non-book related activities, but is, at it’s heart, mostly about books.
Mel arrived on a Saturday and after a few minutes at home to settle in, we quickly left Sweetbeeps to his own devices and went to my local indie store, Tatnuck Bookseller. They have a cute little cafe section where we got coffee before browsing. I’m pleased to have found a copy of Ender’s Game that I’d never seen before! It’s one of my favorite YA/MG books and I’ve honestly never come across a cover I’d really liked. I’m also working on completing my set of Signet Austen’s (only Emma left to get!) so I was glad to add to that. Mel and I both wanted Sorcery for Beginners, but there was only one copy and I happened to grab it first. Yes, I’m a brat.
We ended up at HomeGoods after, where I found the most perfect blanket for myself (yes, I bought it), as well as some adorable plates (yes, I bought those too.)
We didn’t buy these frog statues, but found them amusing.
We also spent some time being very adult…
Our second day was our big book day. We hit up four bookstores, some of which were closer to my house than I thought they were, none of which I’d been to before.
We started with An Unlikely Story which was hands-down my favorite store of the week. The outside is super charming and I love interior which has a vintage, mill building/warehouse feel. What I loved most though, is that half the store is dedicated to middle-grade! Heaven! That’s likely because the store is owned by Jeff Kinney, author of the Wimpy Kid books! There’s also a cafe, which we didn’t investigate, but apparently sells alcohol as well as coffee. I’ll definitely be coming back.
Even the bathroom has great wallpaper!
Did you even really go somewhere if you didn’t take a bathroom selfie?
Next up was Blue Bunny Books, but before we even got there, we found a Little Free Library in the downtown parking lot. There wasn’t much inside, but I love how it was decorated!
Gotta pose with the store namesake.
We ended up here at Mel’s request, as this is another author-owned store. Mel is a big fan of Peter H. Reynolds (who I’d never heard of) and loves reading his books to her students. I will say, I was a little disappointed with this store, as it’s pretty small and more than half of the space is dedicated to a cafe and seating area. It is almost exclusively children’s and middle-grade though, with just a little shelf in the back for YA and some random adult books. Really this is the place to go if you’re a big fan of Reynolds’s work. Mel had a blast being there and seeing her so happy made me happy we came!
The downtown area has a ton of restaurants and cafes. We didn’t end up eating at this Horse Thieves Tavern place, but I kind of wanted to. We got tasty crepes instead (not pictured) and explored a little general store full of expensive hipster goods.
Next, we hit up the Book Rack which sells a mix of used and new books.
The shelves were totally crammed, which is nice to see but also overwhelming to shop through. I spent most of my time in their decently sized sci-fi/fantasy section. Sadly, I didn’t find any more Tanith books for my collection this week. The Book Rack had me hopeful, but I was let down.
We finished our day at Belmont Books – another location with a great selection of middle-grade books and my second favorite store of the week.
A small, but respectable sci-fi/fantasy section.
The whole second story is dedicated to children’s, middle-grade and YA books. I loved it!
We walked the main drag outside the bookstore and ended up at this little craft beer place. I was able to find the mead I’ve been wanting to try! Which is good because I didn’t really want to have to drive to Maine to try it. I bought a four-pack hoping for the best and…it’s my new favorite alcoholic drink ever. I need to do some research and see if any local stores have it, as Belmont is still a good 45 minutes from me.
Here’s my haul from the day – 16 books from 4 stores! Not too bad, considering my propensity to go nuts, especially when in the company of another hoarder.
We went for a laid-back Monday and headed to a local winery (another place that’s closer to my house than I thought and somewhere I’d never been before!) for a wine tasting…duh.
It was only $10 for the tasting and that included 5 chips (you could try 5 wines, or if you wanted spirits they use more chips) and a wine glass. Not a bad deal!
Ended up buying two bottles of the Vignoles along with some cheese and crackers and spent the afternoon on the patio, drinking and talking. We were joined briefly by my friend Sarah and the three of us had an excellent time!
Once home we decided to continue drinking and cracked a bottle of red – we finished the night drunkenly watching Beetlejuice. 🙂
Tired, and maybe a little hungover, we set off the next day for an adventure in the trees with My Tiny Dad, his Tiny Girlfriend, and her Tiny Daughter. We were initially supposed to visit Fields of Fire in Mystic, CT, but we got rained out. I wasn’t aware there was anywhere like this closer to home, but Mel did some sleuthing and found us Boundless Adventures! I’m so glad she did because it saved us the long ride and we were able to climb despite the rain. Definitely someplace I plan to return!
There are 9 ropes courses of varying heights and degrees of difficulty. I ended up conquering 3 of the 4 difficult levels. I tried the hardest course, but was too worn out to make it past the 3rd obstacle and they had to send a rescue team after me 🙂 after I let myself dangle helplessly for about ten minutes. My Tiny Dad and his Girlfriend’s Tiny Daugther conquered the hardest course though! They’re both amazing! Made it look so easy.
Mel and I were sore and exhausted from the moment we got in the car to drive home, so it was a quiet night.
Wednesday I had an appointment to finish my sleeve! Mel isn’t a big fan of the process, but she kept me company and I’m just happy to have it done.
After my tattoo, we grabbed some brunch and since we happened to be near my local Barnes & Noble, stopped by there too. I came home with three books (not pictured.)
For dinner, we decided to have a Fancy Date Night at a local tapas restaurant, Bocado. The lighting is dim, so all my pictures look like junk, but the food is amazing.
My favorite course is always the starter: bread, cold meat, quince jam and FRIED GOAT CHEESE. I could go there and just eat several plates of this.
My other favorite dish is the seared ahi tuna. I lucked out because Mel doesn’t eat seafood, so I had this one all to myself.
Thursday morning was spent lazing around the house, catching up on reading.
In the afternoon we went to Tower Hill botanical gardens to take in the sights and have some beer. It was incredibly hot, so we just did a quick tour through one of the garden areas, then quickly retreated to the shade to wait for Sweetbeeps to join us after work.
While we waited we played Connect Six. I won.
Yes, Connect Six.
Sweetbeeps later informed us that we’re idiots and we only needed to connect four to win. xD
We finished the week with some more bookstores and good company.
Mum found another local used bookstore that neither of us had been to – Valley Wild Books. They had a pretty good-sized collection, though of course, I would love to see more sci-fi/fantasy. They do have a closet full of mass market paperbacks, but they’re double and triple stacked on most of the shelves, so I was too overwhelmed to really dig for Tanith. I still found quite a few books tot take home though.
My Little Brobot even found a book! He was a trooper, considering he was stuck with three ladies who love to browse for books.
Our second stop was The Silver Unicorn, which I’d been to once before. They’re another cute little place with a good selection for kids.
Moments afterwards he flopped down into the pile of beanbags 🙂
Never ones to miss an opportunity for sushi, we visited a place Mum and my stepdad had recently tried out for the first time. The heart-shaped roll was very tasty!
Before we went home, Mel and I stopped by another local place for some fancy chocolates. I discovered my new favorite flavor, Strawberry Balsamic! I’m going to need to go back for more.
My haul from Valley Wild and Unicorn, plus a couple books Mum had set aside for me.
It was, as always, a fantastic vacation but much too short. It’s hard only seeing someone you love once a year. When planning our vacations I feel like we’re always torn between cramming in visits to bookstores, restaurants, gardens and other cool places we’ve never been to (and some we love returning to) and just leaving our schedules open to curl up on the couch together and read, read, read. I think we manage a pretty good mix! Here’s hoping next summer comes quickly!