Hobart Book Village’s Five Bookstores Offer Something for Everyone
Bookworms delight in not one, but five bookstores in one little Catskills town
The exterior of Blenheim Hill Books
Bet you don’t even know what a book village is — several bookstores all located within a stone’s throw of each other — never mind that one is right in the middle of Hobart. When the Hobart Book Village’s six participating stores are open (daily from Memorial Day-Columbus Day, on weekends only Columbus Day-Memorial Day), friendly blue flags fly outside their doors declaring them so.
Every reader is sure to find something here. Liberty Rock Books alone has 85,000 volumes — covering everything from history to the art of arranging church flowers — with many more boxes in storage. “We’d need Home Depot to store it all, but we don’t have Home Depot, so here it is,” jovial owner John Mahoney says of his 5,000-square-foot space. Mahoney is happy to discuss his inventory — after first making sure that customers are not susceptible to cat allergies, as two felines guard the shelves. On the next block is Mysteries and More, a store primarily stocked with — you guessed it — mystery novels and science fiction. Around the World with Books and Cooks sells foreign texts and international cookbooks.
One of Liberty Rock Books’s furry friends are on-hand to help
And the owners are as varied as their volumes. Bill and Diana Adams of Wm. H. Adams Antiquarian Book Shop (filled with treasures like early Nancy Drew volumes and European texts from the 17th century) were a doctor and attorney, respectively, before opening the store. Barbara Balliet was a dean at Rutgers University before starting Blenheim Hill Books, which stocks both vintage and contemporary volumes.
The owners also organize the Festival of Women Writers, happening this year on September 5-7. The weekend includes workshops, readings, and open-mic sessions available to both established and emerging literary voices (www.hobartbookvillage.com).