Friday, September 04, 2009
The day before I left for Vermont, I collected some data from you all on Facebook about which indie bookstores I should hit up along the way (thanks, all! FYI I did!). Imagine how surprised I was to find a store no one had mentioned in tiny Waterbury, Vermont, population 3,000. The thing is, Bridgeside Books only opened a couple of days before I passed through--you would have REALLY had to be psychic to know about it!
Nestled into the underpass of a delightfully quaint road bridge along Waterbury's main drag is Bridgeside Books, of the squealably cute facade above. Naturally, as we walked home from an epic brunch at the Stagecoach Inn, I couldn't resist the bookstore sign, and dragged all four of my friends in (complain as they might, they hardly resisted. I should mention two are elementary school teachers and one has a librarian for a mother).
We chatted up the unsuspecting founder/owner, the delightful Hiata DeFeo (pictured here), who was a very good sport about us. A former employee of Green Mountain Coffee, she explained that her lifelong dream was to open a bookstore, and that Waterbury had had no bookstore of its own in more than 15 years (yikes!).
Bridgeside Books had its grand opening in mid-August, but the list is flexible and still growing. Hiata is excited to learn what customers are interested in as they come in individually, and takes suggestions and recommendations for other titles to buy as she goes. She's looking forward to developing a long and diverse stock list.
The bookstore is made up of two rooms. The main area contains fiction, mystery, and nonfiction for adults, as well as an entire table devoted to local and Vermont authors. I can't tell you how excited I was to find that Hiata not only stocked a particular author of mine, but read and loved all this author's books! There was much loud squeeing (by me) which Hiata (and my friends) handled gracefully. What this means to me, folks, is that she's ALREADY committed to supporting indie presses!!
The annex is a children's/Young Adult haven, which stocked a range from new and classic picture books (one of my friends ended up buying heavily from these) to Twilight and other mainstream popular young adult. I ended up buying from the YA nook, myself, when I stumbled upon The Absolutely True Confessions of a Part-Time Indian, which I've been meaning to read for a long time.
Note: should you happen to be planning a summer cool-down or a foliage viewing in Vermont, Waterbury is actually not too shabby a destination. It's a 4-minute drive (literally) from the aforementioned Ben & Jerry's factory, a 3-minute walk from the Green Mountain Coffee factory and the Lake Champlain Chocolate factory, as well as 20 minutes from downtown Burlington. In Waterbury itself, Grand View Winery offers wine tastings, and the Vermont Brewers Association will set you up with a tour. As I mentioned, of course, it is home to the delightful Bridgeside Books and the Stagecoach Inn for brunch. The Waterbury reservoir has a gorgeous walk through Little River State Park, and there is, of course, the requisite jam-packed antique store and town pub (The Alchemist).
Obviously I went to Vermont and got evangelized. Sigh. Wake up, city girl! But it IS a very nice weekend.
If you DO drop by, tell her Moonrat said hi.