A few weeks ago, my online friend, author Christina Lorenzen, mentioned that she had visited the Turn the Page Bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland. Owned by Nora Roberts’ husband, it must surely be a pilgrimage for all romance authors and readers, and it got me thinking about my own favourite bookshop.
Don’t get me wrong – any bookshop feels like home to me, especially if coffee is available! But I do have a favourite – and it’s a pretty unusual one.
Salts Mill was built in the mid-19th century in the village of Saltaire (now a designated World Heritage Site) in West Yorkshire. Both the village and the mill have a very interesting history – so much so that both my kids studied it as part of their GCSE History course.
I couldn’t begin to go into that history here, but for a little background context – Saltaire is named after Sir Titus Salt who, at a time of huge industrial growth and squalid conditions for textile workers, believed in providing decent housing for his mill workers, along with a hospital, school, library, shops, park, church, bath and wash houses (although he wouldn’t allow pubs!)
Renovated in the late 1980s, nowadays Salts Mill is best known for its connection with Bradford-born artist David Hockney, and its galleries display many of his works – but it also has a diner and restaurant, and sells art supplies, homeware, artisan jewellery, outdoor clothing, antiques … and, of course, BOOKS.
I can’t tell you how much I love visiting this place. A rainy weekend … coffee first, of course … and then wandering the stone-flagged floors, gazing in awe at the original structure of the mill around you … peaceful classical music in the background … browsing an eclectic variety of books, so beautifully displayed.
On another floor there are a wide selection of art books and supplies which I don’t pay quite as much attention to … and beautiful notebooks and stationery, which I pay a great deal of attention to!
For me, this is book shop heaven. It is so unique – a haven of relaxation – and I only last a few weeks before I’m desperate for my next fix 🙂
How about you? Do you have a favourite bookstore you just can’t resist?