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“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.” ~C.S. Lewis
A good book, an excellent cup of coffee, a tasty meal, an inviting atmosphere, and a rainy day– what could be better? Depending on the weather, all of these prerequisites can be found through the doors of a quaint fixture in Boston, Trident Booksellers and Café. I am forever on the lookout for places in my travels where I can feed both my mind and my body at the same time. Traveling in Boston last month, I knew that I had to pay a visit to this unique bookstore, nestled in the lovely, tree-lined Newbury Street in the Back Bay. (If you head this way because you are a bibliophile, also plan on going to the exquisite Boston Public Library nearby on Boylston Street, “a palace for the people.”)
I was not disappointed. In business since 1984, Trident Booksellers has honed its space to perfection, including a bright café, a gigantic magazine selection, many local authors, quirky book-related gifts, secluded nooks for reading, and a robust event calendar. Their hours are impressive: currently open from 8am to midnight seven days a week, perfect for lazy weekend mornings, late night coffee talks, and author meet-and-greets.
We came with appetites, so headed first to the upstairs dining area and sat next to a window with a view of the lovely and bustling Newbury Street. You will be amazed by their menu. From the street, the shop does not look as if it would have the space for a full chef’s kitchen. Inside, nothing detracts from the literary atmosphere. Whether it is hidden by magical boundaries or a cloak of invisibility, it must exist, for the menu is not your typical coffee and sandwich fare that is customary for bookstore cafés. This is a nine-page food and drink menu, including scrumptious-sounding options like Lemon Ricotta Stuffed French Toast, Cranberry Maple Quinoa, Vegan Cashew Chili, Butternut Squash Tacos, Buffalo Chicken Mac N’ Cheese, and Homemade Apple Cobbler, to list just a sample. Their drink menu ranges from local small-craft beers, wine, and any type of coffee and tea drinks you can think of, to freshly-made juices, smoothies, frappes, and bubble teas. I chose the Avocado and Havarti Melt Sandwich and a Thai Chai Bubble Tea. (Forgive the poor photo– I had devoured more than half of my meal before remembering to foodstagram it!)
Two things in particular stood out to me in the bookstore. As a background for the first thing, you need to know that we were in Boston the weekend when there was a “free speech rally” held in the Common. Officials and law enforcement were concerned that it would be attended by many alt-right groups, and that there was the possibility of trouble. Police presence was increased, and many T-stops were closed for the day. In the end, it was kind of a bust because it was also attended by over 17,000 counter-protesters, effectively sending the message, “Not in Boston. Not in our city.” This strong spirit was reflected in many book displays at Trident Booksellers, as shown in the photo below.
Saving the best for last, here was my favorite thing in the bookstore/café (see photo). At first I thought it was merely a cool old-timey phone. Then I laughed at the printed words, “Call me Ishmael.” That’s just the beginning, though. Taking a closer look, I saw the clipboard above with numbered book titles and decided to try it out. With each number dialed, a voice recording played into my ear a review or anecdote about that book, each by a normal, everyday reader. It was so cool! And that’s not all. There’s a number listed where you can call in your own reviews and stories about your favorite books, to possibly be added to their fun phone. I haven’t given it a try yet, but it’s on my list. 🙂Call me Ishmael. No, seriously.Click To Tweet
And, that’s a wrap! If you are ever in Boston, don’t leave without checking out Trident Booksellers and Café. I know I’ll be going back!
Trident Booksellers and Cafe is also featured in a national list of notable bookstores in this related post: Coffee + Books = Life.
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