By Molly Korroch
There is nothing so sweet as stumbling upon a fantastic independent bookstore.
While we’ve discussed several that are located in downtown D.C., sometimes you must stretch your legs to stretch your mind. If you need a weekend getaway from the city, here are five fantastic bookstores (and cities) that are only a day trip away.
3620 Falls Road
Atomic Books lives up to its quirky and modern name. Its motto is “Literary finds for mutated minds.” Thoroughly invested in the literary and local community, Atomic Books hosts a variety of events, including readings, signings, books clubs and beer nights–and that’s only the stuff that’s happening over the next couple of weeks. Fun Fact: The actor/director, John Waters, picks up his fan mail via Atomic Books. It’s true!
805 Caroline Street
Riverby Books is quaint and cozy. While technically this store has a D.C. location, take an afternoon to check out its Fredricksburg site. They specialize in used books, including the rarer and out-of-print titles. (Its Facebook page recently boasted a first edition of Ralph Ellison’s famed Invisible Man.) This is the perfect spot for a wander or to find something special for the book lover in your life.
2913 West Cary Street
Chop Suey Books is a haven for readers and writers alike. Next door is the home of the Richmond Young Writers. (But, don’t let the word “Young” fool you. It offer classes and workshops for all ages.) Though it only began in 2002, Chop Suey has the kind of presence in the community that makes it feel like it’s been there forever. Its two story bookshop offers both new and used titles of all genres imaginable. Chop Suey also has a special relationship with many local writers and authors, and the staff are always happy to recommend what is sure to become your next favorite book.
53 Maryland Avenue
The Annapolis Bookstore looks exactly like the children’s bookstore from You’ve Got Mail. It’s classic, simple and there’s something comforting about it. At this store there’s a focus on maritime lit and children’s books. It also sells quite a few rare books. Its events include a weekly story time with ‘Nanny K’ and conversations with noted scholars.
123 Fourth Street NE
When you walk into Daedalus Bookshop you are immediately washed with the smell of old books. Located right off the Charlottesville’s downtown mall, Daedalus feels like your grandmother’s attic: piles upon piles upon stacks of used books. There’s literally thousands of books! Every single bit of wall space is comprised of book-stuffed shelves. It’s the perfect place for a bibliophile to wander because you’re sure to find something you love–and for a great price. The building is a bit wobbly. The stairs creak, and it’s easy to get lost, but in the most delicious of ways.