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Vigilant Books – Wheeling, West Virginia

Vigilant Books – Wheeling, West Virginia

Vigilant Books in Wheeling, West Virginia, has had quite the journey during its relatively short time in operation. Owner Chuck Wood originally purchased an old firehouse in town with plans of opening his secondhand bookshop there, but the cost of needed repairs was simply too high. He then landed at his Market Street location in the fall of 2019, only to be forced into closure the following March for fifteen months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His persistence, however, has…

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The Book Case – Connellsville, Pennsylvania

The Book Case – Connellsville, Pennsylvania

The Book Case in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, is a quintessential roadside bookshop specializing in gently used books in a variety of genres.  The shop labels itself a classic used bookstore, and I would agree. While small, it packs an impressive inventory into a tidy and well laid out space.  The store has been serving the Connellsville area since opening in 2002 and carries fiction, biography, classics, romance, mystery, and more, including new books by regional authors. The Book Case is located…

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Second Chapter Books – Ligonier, Pennsylvania

Second Chapter Books – Ligonier, Pennsylvania

There isn’t an inch of wasted space inside Second Chapter Books in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. The bookshop and boutique is brimming with unique gift items and an impressive selection of books spanning the genres. Located in the bustling little town of Ligonier, Second Chapter is a quintessential small-town shop that, at least on my visit, was luring in a steady stream of visitors with its cheery curb appeal and varied blend of items. In addition to the books, you’ll find artwork, candles, bath…

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The Book Center – Cumberland, Maryland

The Book Center – Cumberland, Maryland

In all my bookstore explorations to date, I may have found a first with The Book Center in Cumberland, Maryland. In addition to a nice selection of books on the shelves, the shop doubles as a premier cigar and pipe tobacco retailer.  The more I thought about it, the more of a natural fit it seemed, conjuring images of Sherlock Holmes in his wingback chair, smoking a pipe and poring over a dusty old leatherbound volume.  The family-owned shop began more than…

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The Bookworm – Lemoyne, Pennsylvania

The Bookworm – Lemoyne, Pennsylvania

Sam Marcus, proprietor and “book guru” of Lemoyne, Pennsylvania’s The Bookworm Bookstore, has been selling books for decades. Having served the Harrisburg area for more than 40 years, the shop prides itself on being “your personal bookstore.”  If my encounter with the friendly staff at this neighborhood shop is any indication, it’s a title they’re living up to. Truly a family business, Sam, his wife, son, and daughter are all apparently regulars behind the counter at The Bookworm.  Don’t let the…

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Webster’s Bookstore Café – State College, Pennsylvania

Webster’s Bookstore Café – State College, Pennsylvania

Webster’s Bookstore Café in State College, Pennsylvania, is technically multiple businesses in one. In addition to its large inventory of mostly used books (with select new and local titles) and the café’s food and beverage menu, the large space is also home to Stax of Trax records and Tiger’s Eye Vintage. That means shoppers can grab a book, a coffee, some classic vinyl, and a vintage outfit all in one place. Although there are ramped and street-level entrances nearby, I entered…

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Midtown Scholar Bookstore – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Midtown Scholar Bookstore – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

If you’ve ever uttered the sentence, “I could spend hours in a bookstore,” then get yourself to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s Midtown Scholar posthaste. The massive, multilevel bookshop and café is perfect for whiling away hours browsing spines. The main level of the shop features the coffee bar and a series of shelves categorized by popular authors, with an offshoot room full of children’s books and a cake and pie café. From there, shoppers can go up or down to explore room after room…

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Classic Elements – Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Classic Elements – Johnstown, Pennsylvania

When longtime friends and co-owners Jen Gailote and Michele Kupchella Adams opened Classic Elements in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, they wanted to bring the town an experience that feels like family – a comfortable space with good coffee, unique gifts, carefully curated books, and friendly service. When I stopped into the hybrid bookstore, café, and gift shop on my Pennsylvania bookstore crawl, that’s exactly what I found. The idea for the shop came about in 2018 after Jen and Michele began noticing…

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Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop – Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop – Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Debbie Beamer, owner of Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, turned a lifetime love of mystery novels into a successful business that has kept readers flipping pages for decades. Since 1990, her mystery-themed bookshop has been providing customers with the best whodunits you can find on a shelf.  I’m a sucker for a good mystery, and oftentimes the cozier the better. From the classics like Sherlock Holmes to more modern series like Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache novels – and even the books…

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Otto Bookstore – Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Otto Bookstore – Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Little did I know when I stepped into Otto Bookstore in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, that I was stepping into a landmark. Dating back to 1841, the Otto Bookstore is America’s oldest independently owned bookstore and has served its community for generations.  The shop’s website details its rich history and the multiple locations at which it has stood over the years – an interesting read that dated the shop’s origins even further back than present owner Betsy Rider originally thought.  The impressive origins were…

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