Welcome to Independent Bookstore Day 2017, urban hike style!
I thought we could cover the middle loop from Greenwood to Downtown Seattle, but we covered the Green Lake Loop in eight hours, reaching five stores. Granted, there was much book browsing and stopping in non-bookstore locales, and, with all of that, it turned into an epic hike.
Stop 1. Third Place Books
This was one of my favorite locations, complete with a cafe and a sell-back counter. Its appeal was a large selection with nooks for quiet reading, multi-genre displays with eye-catching books, and a cozy atmosphere. Plus, they had free coffee and freshly bakes scones.
It was here that we picked up our Indi Bookstore Day passports. We met other folks who were reading on foot, but they were doing a different loop. I do not know how one could have made it to every store on the map in one day. If you completed the map, you would win 25% off for a whole year at every participating store. We only hit five on foot, but it would have also made for a long day in the car, all nineteen.
Stop 2. Phinney Books
This store, which I was surprised to never have visited as it was in my old stomping grounds, had hourly flash sales, an origami orca making station and freebies. Bestie made an orca, while Pooch and I perused the books. The shelves were starred with book recommendations and I left a star on the shelf for The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.
Then began the long trek to Stop 3. We had quite an adventure getting there. First, was an espresso break at Home Espresso Repair, where we met Will, the proprietor. He has been in the coffee business for over 25 years and made us strong cups of Cuban espresso, which were perfectly sweet. He directed us across the street, to The Phinery, which was celebrating its grand opening that day. We shared glasses of champagne and vittles and parted with some doll hairs in exchange for the finer things.
We missed our calling to go west to hit Secret Garden Books in Ballard, and we were very hungry caterpillars at that point, so we ate lunch at Norm’s Eatery and Ale House, partaking of some excellent shoestring fries and what we think was a house made veggie burger (also delicious).
Stop 3. Book Larder
Book Larder specializes in food and drink books. Of all the stops, I was most looking forward to this one. I had first visited it when I moved here five years ago, but have never found it since (and by never found it, I mean never took the time to visit). They have a kitchen for demos and learning in the back and I own a pie book from my visit of yore. If food is your thing, then make it a point to visit.
Unofficial stopping happened at City Cellars Fine Wines, where a bottle of French red was purchased. However, it was only just down the street from the next stop, so it was not a detour on our bookstore tour.
Stop 4. Open Books A Poem Emporium
I had just learned about this store two weeks ago, and, of all the stores, least expected to use my one book allowance to purchase poetry. However, poetry I purchased, The Complete Verse and Other Nonsense. Plus, it was from the lovely $10 shelf, the staff recited whimsical poetry for us during checkout and gave us poems to take home. Overall, it was a broadening experience for one who is “not into poetry”. I say, give it shot, you might be surprised.
Feeling snacky and daring, having now visited many new places, we continued the trend and dropped into Floating Bridge Brewing for refreshment, an ale and a sour.
Stop 5. University Book Store
This won my other favorite stop award, for its wide selection of books, super good sales, and selection of gifty items. We stayed for two prize drawing cycles and did not win, but what did happen was that we pulled out every book on Portugal and dream-planned a trip. I also bought another book, Bean by Bean by Crescent Dragonwagon.
Pause here and admire her name.
This book is the ultimate bean cookery reference. Just getting back into dried beans, I have borrowed and renewed it several times from the library, feeling sad to part with it every time, when my renewal limit is hit. Indeed, I have it checked out at this very moment. A book that is borrowed as often as that deserves to be owned. So I broke my one book rule, besides, it, too, was on sale, and I had a coupon, bringing my total to just about $7.
As the day was no longer young, we began the journey home. We recounted the ways in which it was epic:
- We did over ten miles. My pedometer clocked in at 28,553.
- It was past 5:00 PM.
- Not only was it our treasure hunt, but everyone else joined the party.
- There was an abundance of free snacks (and champagne) and delicious food.
- We each got to hang out with our bestie.