Updated on September 19, 2019
Main Streets of Maine
So, there we were, parked right on Boothbay Harbor’s hopping Main Street. It had everything you would expect in a quintessential New England setting. And I was thinking of wandering in and out of quaint shops selling everything from tshirts and scarves to knick-knacks that I wouldn’t know what to do with even if I bought them.
Although, I did like the sea-themed pillows and cotton totes that were on display at a surprisingly fancy-looking furniture store. Not too many summers back, I got a white tote with blue whales from a museum in Ogunquit, and truth be told, I am slightly obsessed with it.
But this time around, we didn’t spend much time shopping or exploring the downtown area because our five-year-old found his way into Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop and didn’t seem inclined to step out until lunch time. Spread over two floors, Sherman’s is a welcoming independently-owned haven for bookworms.
Right before entering the store, I saw a bowl of water left outside for the dogs who frequent the sidewalks. I don’t know if it’s the norm out there, but norm or not, I found it sweet and thoughtful.
We browsed, read, and bought our way through many, many books, some of which were on sale. Apart from books and magazines, Sherman’s sells toys and trinkets as well, as do most bookstores these days. This one, though, seemed to be thriving. They have expanded to Bar Harbor, Camden, Damariscotta, Freeport, and Portland in recent years.
At check-out, I asked if they close during the long winters that Maine is famous for, and they said no, not unless they are totally snowed in. As their website says, they are open 362 days a year, closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
We didn’t have time to check out the adjoining cafe, or the rest of downtown for that matter. But we did find some good books. There’s something about the ambience of a well-loved, well-stocked, local bookshop that makes all three of us happy.
As George R.R. Martin put it, “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”