Friday, September 04, 2009

Bridgeside Books


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.

18 comments:

Katie O'Sullivan said...

We were in Waterbury earlier in the month, so didn't see the bookstore! Vermont is such a great place to unwind, more books can only make it better!

Kim said...

As a fellow squealer myself, I am pleased to know that I'm not the only person who would have been all a-giggle at finding this little gem ;)

I don't live anywhere near Vermont, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to go check this out! I *adore* little places like this- they honestly sustain me like food sometimes (good for the soul!).

I live in the NoVa area- anyone more local to me know of any places like this that I haven't unearthed?

caitmorgan said...

Speaking of Ben & Jerry's (where all good chocolate chip cookie dough goes when they die), seen this? Caught it on CE Murphy's blog (credit where credit is due).

Ben & Jerry support Vermont’s new gay marriage law by renaming “Chubby Hubby” ice cream to “Hubby Hubby”.

Lydia Sharp said...

Is there an upstairs apartment available? Seriously. That place is something I've only ever seen in my dreams.

moonrat said...

Cait--I heard!! I love it!!

Lydia--I know, I'm a total convert to Vermont. Seriously.

JenniferWriter said...

Seriously, what is it about Vermont bookstores? They are the best. Thanks for sharing a new one!

Charles Gramlich said...

Ohh, that looks nice. I want to visit that store.

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

That's a beautiful little bookstore. That had to be a lot of fun. Thanks for the photos!

Kim Kasch said...

That is the cutest bookstore I've seen in a while. Next time I'm on the East Coast, I know where I'll be going :)

Thanks for the info. I'm going to pass it on to my East Coast friends.

Marsha Sigman said...

I want to go!

Verification word: filish-
when to finish just isn't enough..you must filish.

Anita said...

This place looks unreal adorable. If there is an apartment and it's got two rooms and accepts cats, I'm moving in with Lydia.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Looks like a place I'd love to spend the afternoon.

Rebecca Knight said...

That is the cutest bookstore I've ever seen :3! Now if they only served tea, I'd be in heaven.

Liz Schlegel said...

Hey, everybody, we're happy to have you ALL come to Waterbury! This splendid bookstore is a lovely, welcoming place (thank you, Hiata) like our town.

And for the tea lovers - besides Green Mountain & Artisan Coffee, we've got VT Liberty Tea headquartered in town.

Come on up! (or over, or down... whatever works, we love company). Glad you came by, Moonrat!

Hiata DeFeo said...

Thank you, Moonrat, for your comments and your visit. Waterbury is a GREAT town and Vermont is a wonderful place to live and visit...come see us anytime! FYI...there is an apartment upstairs and we are serious cat & dog lovers here! Gracie runs the show here and is the 'official' bookshop cat. Look forward to meeting you all when you come to VT next!

Hiata DeFeo-Owner of Bridgeside Books

Whirlochre said...

I could grow a beard in that store.

Kate said...

Oh how sweet!

I wish there were some decent indie bookstores around here. I used to live in Columbus, Ohio, and would walk over to The Book Loft in German Village nearly every day - you should all stop by if you are ever near there. Now I work near the headquarters of Half-Price Books. Sigh

Cass said...

Alexie Sherman - author of book you chose was the speaker at my daughters 8th grade graduation ceremony in June. He was a great inspirational speaker.