This summer I was blessed to once again visit one of my very favorite antiquarian bookshops, The Owl Pen, nestled in the beautiful, historic Washington County hill country near Greenwich, New York in the charming outbuildings of an old poultry farm.
Although the drive to The Owl Pen can be somewhat daunting (signs are small and few and directions are confusing); yet the scenery - verdant farmlands:
grazing Holsteins; old shuttered New England farm houses with their red barns; not too distant views of the Green Mountains of Vermont:
and the tree shaded, stone fence-lined, dirt Riddle Road which gives one the feeling of going back in time – makes the trip a delight.
And, to a collector of late 19th and early 20th century decorative publishers’ bindings, The Owl Pen is a mother lode!
This tucked-in-the-woods 51-year-old bookshop, which currently stocks about 80,000 books, is charming in its simplicity and hodgepodge organization.
Edie Brown, co-owner of the shop, is most accommodating and helpful in locating her customers’ requests. Edie located for me to peruse her copy of Richard Minsky’s “The Art of American Book Covers: 1875-1930" (which I have since ordered via her instructions) and pointed me in the direction of many wonderful finds – some rare initialed and un-initialed Margaret Armstrong covers, a couple of old James Fenimore Cooper titles, and several beautiful nature titles. I was even able to locate a late 19th century Sarah Wyman Whitman-designed John Burroughs title for my sister’s collection and a small leather devotional which I gifted to a friend.
The grounds and views from The Owl Pen are lovely and browsers are invited by the owners to bring a picnic lunch. Located at 166 Riddle Road, about 7 miles from Greenwich, New York, it is best to call ahead for directions at 518-692-7039. This well-hidden gem of a book shop is well worth a visit on Wednesday through Sunday during its May through October season (noon to six) and by appointment in the winter. I can hardly wait to go back during the majestic fall foliage!