Featured Destination: Hobart, The Book Village of the Catskills

Hobart, the Book Village of the Catskills
Hobart, the Book Village of the Catskills. © Simona David

When Adams’ Antiquarian Books opened its doors in Hobart in 2002, who would have thought that this tiny Catskills village would become an international destination in such a short span of time? Featured in prestigious publications like The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Guardian in the UK, and just recently mentioned in a USA Today travel article, Hobart has increasingly become a brand name for travelers from all over the world. Earlier this year it was awarded the Tourism of the Year Award by The Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.

In 2005 pianist, furniture restorer, and entrepreneur Don Dales bought several buildings in town, and after acquiring entire book collections from bookstores that ran out of business, he opened two independent bookstores on Main Street. The Adams’ Antiquarian was already in business for about three years, and Dales thought that perhaps Hobart would one day become a “book village,” similar to Hay-on-Wye, the world’s first book town, established in Wales in 1961.

Entrepreneur Don Dales, founder of the Book Village
Entrepreneur Don Dales, founder of the Book Village. © Simona David

Owned by William Adams, a retired physician, and his wife, Diana, a retired lawyer, The Adams’ Antiquarian Books has an impressive collection ranging from ancient Greece and Rome, to the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Art, Architecture, Religion, Judaica, Poetry, Biography, and Fiction. Not all the Adams’ books are antiquarian, but most of them were either printed before 1850, or are about events that happened prior to 1850.

In August 2007, Elda Stifani, a retired diplomat who worked for the European Union in New York City, moved to Hobart and opened Hobart International Bookport, which specialized in foreign language books, and books by authors from all over the world, in English or in the original language as well as aviation books. In 2014 Hobart International Bookport, under new ownership, became Butternut Valley Books.

Across the street, Liberty Rock Books offers a wide range of rare books spanning three hundred years of history. The store, which also has an art gallery, hosts numerous events throughout the year, including lectures and jazz concerts.

Right next door, Barbara Balliet, a cultural historian, and her partner poet Cheryl Clarke, own and operate Blenheim Hill Bookstore since 2009. They carry history books, poetry, women’s studies, nature and gardening, cookbooks, children’s books, and other illustrated books.

Don Dales continues to operate Mysteries & More, and as its name states, the bookstore specializes in mystery and science fiction titles. Located in a classic Greek Revival building erected in the 1830s, and recently restored, the store transposes its visitors into another era: an original Loring & Blake Palace organ, made in the late 1800s, a reproduction of a harpsichord, and a typewriter from the 1950s add to the mystic. This house was once owned by A. Lindsey O’Connor.

Mysteries & More Bookstore
Mysteries & More Bookstore. © Simona David

On May 7 this year yet another bookstore opened its doors in Hobart: Creative Corner Books. Owned and operated by Kathy Duyer, a lawyer, and her husband, George, Creative Corner specializes in cookbooks, craft books, gardening, and do-it-yourself books. The store will also be hosting workshops and other community events. At Creative Corner you won’t just buy books – say on weaving, you’ll also learn how to weave from master artisans.

Creative Corner Books
Creative Corner Bookstore. Contributed Photo.
Creative Corner
At Creative Corner Books. Contributed Photo.

Memorial Day weekend is a busy weekend in Hobart. All six bookstores will be offering major discounts. Art shows will be hosted at MURAL Art Gallery and Liberty Rock. And a new restaurant just opened in town. In July an English pub is scheduled to open.

The View from Mysteries & More
The View from Mysteries & More. © Simona David

Things are happening in Hobart. Learn more at http://www.hobartbookvillage.com.

© 2016 artinthecatskills.com

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