I was told two stories by two bookstore owners. The first bookseller said that it was decided that folks would not travel to see one bookstore, but they might travel to see five. He was right, of course. The second bookseller said that their shop had been the first and the others had sprouted up like mushrooms after the owner of the vacant storefronts on the main street of Hobart, NY, in a fit of genius and desperation, had offered the spaces rent-free for time. Either way, it drew me in. And I heard five other customers arriving on an ordinary Tuesday, lured off their travel trajectories by the promise of books. They all asked the same question. "Why are there so many bookstores in this town?"
It would not be such a strange thing if you did not know that the entire main street has perhaps ten spots for retail shops and eateries. Hobart has two restaurants, one of which is "only open on Thursdays," according to a shopkeeper, and the other had an owner who took the day off because she worked the Labor Day weekend. The diner, however, was open for business!
As for the other retail shops, there is one, but it was closed the day we visited. I did see an art gallery (inside a bookstore). Hobart also has a lovely bed and breakfast and a stream burbling behind the shop windows. Located in the Northern Catskills, Hobart Book Village is a gem, but if you are looking for the closest bookstore outside of town, you will have to drive 50 miles!
What else is happening, well the Hobart Festival of Woman Writers, held in September, is in its fifth year and the line-up looks spectacular. Maybe you should get off the highway and take a country road to check it out!