Wednesday, September 8, 2010

BookHounding in the Lowcountry

A few weeks ago, my husband and I took a week-long trip to the lowcountry of South Carolina, where we stayed with family in the Beaufort area.

While there, we made a point of visiting the local bookstores- of course!

We didn't get to everything, but we managed to cover a lot of ground in our five days in the area.

My favorite bookstore by far was the delightful Book Lady Bookstore (6 E Liberty St, Savannah, GA) in nearby Savannah.

The Book Lady is a cozy little rabbit's warren of new and used books of every description, as you can see by the description on the door. And they have the best chocolate chip cookies ever.

They also have great comfy chairs amidst the bookish treasures.

I could move in right now!

Also in Savannah was the fun E. Shaver, Bookseller (326 Bull St., Savannah, GA) home to a wide variety of new books.

I particularly liked their fiction section, divided into general fiction, classics and new books.

Further afield on the beautiful Edisto Island is the fun Edisto Island Book Store (547 Highway 174,
Edisto Island, SC)

The Edisto Island Book Store has a small but choice selection of literary and popular fiction, as well as books on local topics like Gullah culture and local authors. They also have a nice section of used books towards the back of the store.

In the Charleston area, specifically the town of Goose Creek, we visited Dreamalot Books (123B S Goose Creek Blvd, Goose Creek, SC) a strip-mall store packed to the gills with romance novels, science fiction and tons of other stuff we didn't have time to look at. If you like paperbacks there probably isn't much that they don't have! They also have a selection of science fiction collectibles from Star Trek and other popular shows.

This little cutie pie, named Purty, was the cat-in-residence at the very nice Blue Bicycle Books (520 King Street, Charleston, SC) in Charleston proper.
When we walked into this long and narrow shop, Purty walked right up to the door and greeted us with a loud meow. I patted her and she proceeded to follow me around for the rest of my visit.

Blue Bicycle has a great selection of local fiction and nonfiction, as well as lots of used books and a smattering of recent new books. They have a fabulous selection of inexpensive used hardcovers, too.

Next up was the ultimate nerd store- or, at least, the best one I saw on my trip.

Here Be Books and Games (4650 Ladson Road, Summerville, SC) is one of those places that just does what it says on the package. First of all, it's packed with science fiction and fantasy and has a pretty impressive selection of games of all kinds. Board games, card games, you name it. They have a weekly game night and even a section of first editions- very inexpensive, I might add.

My husband was delighted to find a game here called Dixit which he's been looking for for a long time.

We both had a great visit to this friendly, beautiful store- one of the best we visited.

Which is not to say that Beaufort itself wasn't home to several terrific shops.

My own favorite was McIntosh Book Shoppe (919 Bay Street, Beaufort, SC) a quiet-looking used and rare bookstore in downtown Beaufort, right near the ocean. McIntosh has all the rare South Carolinia, Civil War and military history you could ever ask for, as well as a plentiful selection of local authors and vintage classics. I scored a neat old copy of Jane Eyre for my collection and my husband eyed some classical-studies books as well; we didn't buy those, though!

Just down the street from McIntosh was the cute Bay Street Trading Co. (808 Bay Street, Beaufort, SC) a smallish new-books bookstore specializing in popular fiction and local books. Bay Street had one of the nicest collections of local books I'd seen, everything from cookbooks and postcards to high quality atlases and slipcased sets of history and local culture. They have particularly nice offerings if you're into Pat Conroy with several autographed books out for sale.

Last but not least was the cute Beaufort Bookstore (2127 Boundary Street, Beaufort, SC), located in a strip mall in a busy section of town.

Beaufort Bookstore specializes in popular fiction and local books aimed more at tourists, or so it seemed to me.

South Carolina authors were, as at most places, front and center.

They also had tables piled high with required reading selections for local schools.

That's it for my tour of Lowcountry bookstores! We didn't get out much past the immediate Charleston/Beaufort/Savannah strip but we had a good time while we were there!


Lola said...

Wow. Did you eat? If I had my honeymoon to do over again, we would just go to bookstores . . . Wait. That's what we did.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Wow, I can't believe all those quaint and cozy bookstores you found! What a wonderful trip!

Tea said...

I enjoyed your Bookhounding so much. Wow, my feet are tired from walking. Thanks for showing all of the bookstores.

bermudaonion said...

I've spent quite a bit of time in the Lowcountry and haven't managed to visit all of those stores. Of those you listed, I've been to E. Shaver, Blue Bicycle Books and McIntosh Book Shoppe. It looks like you had a great trip. I hope you found some South Carolina authors to try.

Andi said...

I've only been to the low country once--a trip to Savannah for a conference. However, Chuck grew up in the Charleston area (went to Summerville High School). I'll have to forward this on to him so he can reminisce. Not that he was visiting too many book stores in his growing up years. That habit has grown with my presence. lol

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I moved to North Florida about a few years ago, and I live about two hours from Savannah, and have only visited there once -- will have to remember when next I visit the city to swing by to the Book Lady Bookstore! I do love Savannah! Have you read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil?

Zibilee said...

My that was an extensive tour! It sounds like you hit a lot of really neat places though! I am going to have to plan our next vacation around a tour of the bookshops like this. I think it would be thrilling to get to visit so many. It's sad really, but we have virtually no independents around here. The one I did manage to find went out of business a few months ago :( We do have a few used bookstores, and I stop by them frequently!

Kathleen said...

So many wonderful bookstores. I've yet to visit South Carolina and can add it to my list with plenty of of book shopping to look forward to also.

JaneGS said...

Wow--it's so encouraging to see so many indie bookstores. They all look so distinctive and charming. Everything I know about Savannah I learned from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil--now I know they have great bookstores in that part of the country. It's on the must-visit list for sure!

booksslicedanddiced said...

I LOVE independent bookstores! What a great post - looks like you had a fabulous time.

Meg Waite Clayton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I LOVE Savannah. I may have been to the BookLady shop about 10 years ago. Your trips sounded great

Meg Waite Clayton said...

Love this post. I have done occasional Bookstores Worth Browsing posts on my author blog. Wonder if you would be interested in sharing there sometime? (Blog at and there is a link to the bookstore posts on the sidebar.)

Meg Waite Clayton

Bellezza said...

Sadly, I have never been to South Carolina (I know! Italy, Germany, France, Spain, yes! Southern USA? Nope!) However, I loved taking a trip through your eyes, and you posted photographs of my favorite kinds of bookstores: quaint, private, exciting little places to explore. Wonderful! I think I need to plan a trip there myself!

Pam said...

I'm amazed that there were so many indepently owned book stores in one area! That is not the case where I live. This post makes me want to visit the low country. I might wait for cooler temps, though.

Mike B. said...

I never knew that SC would have such prime book hunting haunts.

And I just love the phrase BookHounding. I would recommend Vincent McCaffrey's Hound. Former owner of Avenue Victor Hugo wrote a bibliomystery

thecrowdedleaf said...

I love when you post about bookstores in other states. :) It's so fun!

Jeanne said...

I've casually visited bookstores in Charleston over the years, but never found the Blue Bicycle Bookshop--that give me something to look forward to next time!

stacybuckeye said...

I've been wanting to visit Savannah and Charleston for years and this book shop tour just made me want to hop in the car and go now. I love the one with books and games. Add puzzles to that and it is my dream store :)

Michelle said...

Wow you visited a whole lot of bookstores on your vacation. What a lovely way to spend time. I hope you were able to find some great treasures. Oh, and chocolate chip cookies to boot. Nothing wrong with that!