Category secondhand bookstores

Barn exterior, Hillsdale

Three hours out of Manhattan is the sleepy, but rapidly gentrifying, town of Hillsdale. Every time I visit here, it’s part of the ritual to visit this second hand book store – a real cave of wonders – pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but a legend and a bit of a place of pilgrimage.

poppies in the garden, hammock at the ready

Beautifully curated by its owner Maureen Rodgers, the cottage has two floors of room after room of books, each one more tempting than the one before.

Last time I bought every book I could find on Edith Wharton having just visited her house at Lenox. This time I was obsessed with Zelda Fitzgerald and bought whatever I could find (at the same time telling my friend to be sure to buy a lovely edition of The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard). Hours can go past (and they did)…you can definitely always find what you never knew you were looking for.

But the real treat this time was a three foot high pile of old LIFE magazines from the Thirties and Forties. Mad Men like, the advertising preoccupations seemed to be whisky, perspiration and cigarettes while one issue (which I had to buy) juxtaposed Hitler’s last days, with the lovely legs of divorcees, the foundation of the UN and whether a hope chest was the key to a woman’s marriage prospects (answer of course yes).


So, if you’re ever up Hillsdale way, take a detour (and a truck).


Life magazine advertorial 1945 – the hope chest advantage


The New Yorker also paid the Book Barn a visit…read here.

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