In a town in Maine called Damariscotta (pronounced dam-uh-riss-COT-ta) on the Pemaquid Peninsula, about 15.5 miles from Boothbay Harbor, there is an incredible local book shop and café right on Maine Street.
The Maine Coast Book Shop and Café is probably Number Two on Richard’s and my list of favorite places to escape to. It’s about a 20 minute drive from the inn along River Road just off Route 27. (An easy way to find the turn off for River Road is to remember that River’s End Farm is located just across the street from it). River Road meanders (a quintessential Maine descriptor) along the Damariscotta River, past beautiful 18th and 19th century Federal and colonial-style homes and several impressive brick structures (Damariscotta’s sister town, Newcastle, was not only a thriving shipbuilding town in the 1800’s, but a brick making center as well) and the Glidden Point Oyster Sea farm. The topography of the land is such that the drive is anything, but monotonous. You go up and down and around bends, through stretches thick with trees and then along open fields until the harbor at Damariscotta pops into view. I find myself momentarily reverting to that childhood habit of eagerly watching for that first glimpse of the town and its buildings reflected in the river and being the first one to shout out “there it is”!
Richard and I are book lovers and avid readers. I’m afraid we have yet to make use of a Kindle or a Nook, and it’s not because we are against the concept as we read the NYT daily on our iPhones, it’s more because there is something comforting to us when we hold that tome in our hands. I also feel connected to my now deceased parents and grandparents as I turn pages – I can hear the shushed reminders to turn the pages quietly and be careful not to break the book’s spine … SIGH.
The book shop in Damariscotta has something for everyone. They seem to have a sixth sense about what they stock and it’s very hard not to come out without making a purchase. The staff is also very obliging and very knowledgeable.
The café is an amazing place as well. Richard and I are proud members of the “Coffee Club” (purchase ten coffee-related drinks and the next one’s free!). There are many wonderful coffees to choose from as well as fine teas and fruit drinks, but it’s their cappuccino smoothies topped (translation: the space between the top of the liquid and the top of the domed cover is filled, and I mean filled), with real cow-made thick, rich sweet cream that do it for us. They also offer an array of fresh baked goods, sandwiches, soups and chowders.
Sitting in the café, looking out at Main Street, you can literally unwind and watch the world pass by. The cars whizz by; drivers with their tongues between their teeth, attempt to parallel park; people glide in and out of any one of the very cute, very different and/or very eclectic shops, galleries or restaurants; run into the ReXall Drug Store complete with a 1940’s soda fountain; or just pop into the Post Office. Invariably they end up in the book shop or the café.
“They” are mothers and daughters in the middle of a shopping spree, friends meeting to catch up, young people socializing after school, business folks checking in (free Wi-Fi), and oh yes, did I mention innkeepers catching their breaths?
If you’re in our area, this is definitely a must-see/do!