In 2020, amid pandemic economic pressures, local bookstores teamed up to create the Hudson Valley Book Trail, an effort to collaboratively promote local independent bookshops and uplift one another in a challenging time. Whether you’re in Greene County or Dutchess, there is always a local indie bookseller nearby. So skip the box store and head to one of these book shops.
Rough Draft Bar & Books
When bar-meets-bookstore Rough Draft opened in 2018 in a historic stone building in Kingston’s Stockade District, it was rapidly embraced by longtime locals and visitors alike. Rough Draft has everything you need to post up for the whole day. Roll in at 9am, plug in your laptop, and work away while you sip on a Counter Culture latte or Nitro cold brew (on tap) and munch on a croissant. Then, when lunch rolls around, order a DUB pie (perhaps lemongrass chicken?). When you need a stand-and-stretch browse the selection of new and bestselling books from fiction and non- to children’s books, historical dramas, and curated collections on themes like antiracism. And finally, when the end of work is nigh, order your first beer or hard cider from the impressive selection of local drafts. This community living room serves as a meeting place for everything from first dates to job interviews to study groups. Nightly events feature local authors, special guests, trivia, and book club discussions. (All through Zoom until further notice.) Order in the online shop for pick-up and local deliveries of coffee beans, DUB pies, growlers, canned beer, Rough Draft merch, and best-selling books.
Barking GooseNewburgh | (845) 674-9808
Like Rough Draft, the Barking Goose in Newburgh has found its niche as a combo independent bookstore, bar, and cafe. They have a wide selection of new books for all ages, including many from local authors. You’ll also find over 40 different local ciders and craft beers at the bar from local names like Newburgh Brewing Co., Mill House Brewing, Broken Bow, Catskill Brewery, and Chatham Brewing. The food menu is more extensive than Rough Draft’s with a selection of hot prepared food like Mama’s Homemade Chili and barbecue pulled pork sliders, as well as salads, housemade soups and desserts, and a broccoli-cheddar quiche. Barking Goose also hosts events like paint and sips, wine and signs, book club discussions, and a trivia night with socially-distanced table arrangements.
The Golden Notebook
Woodstock | (845) 679-8000
Named for the original owner Ellen Shapiro’s favorite Doris Lessing novel, this cozy indie bookstore on Tinker Street in Woodstock has been a cornerstone of the community since 1978. The Golden Notebook carries a wide variety of literature, history books, poetry, children’s books, classics, an entire shelf of Penguins Classics, as well as a large selection of works by local authors. The shop, which cosponsors the annual Woodstock Book Fest, regularly hosts author signings and community nonprofit events all year round. Find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the history of the town of Woodstock in a special dedicated section.
Spotty Dog Books and Ale
Hudson | (518) 671-6006
Spotty Dog Books and Ale was the first to send boozy bookworms into fits of delight, when they pioneered the winning bar/bookstore combo locally in 2005. Located in the historic C.H. Evans firehouse on Hudson’s Warren Street, the Spotty Dog offers up plenty of antique charm alongside a selection of over 10,000 new books, ranging from vegan cookbooks to feminist manifestos, Pride celebrations to the the latest novel du jour and beautifully illustrated children's editions. In addition to uncommon volumes, toys for children, and an expanded section of local writers, there is also a newly renovated art section in the back of the shop, with supplies for everyone from kids to professionals artists. At the bar, you’ll find a selection of craft beer from local brewers, sustainably sourced white and red wines, French-press coffee, and craft sodas. You can also order bar snacks like locally sourced cheese plates from Olde Hudson, served with olives, sesame flatbread, and sopressata. The Spotty Dog Books and Ale also hosts live music nights, book signings, and multimedia performances.
Oblong Books & MusicRhinebeck | (845) 876-0500
Millerton | (518) 789-3797
Oblong Books and Music, with locations in Rhinebeck and Millerton, is the largest independent bookseller in the Mid-Hudson Valley. These two locations have a large selection of children’s books and toys, local-author books, and bargain books. In light of COVID, they are offering private shopping appointments at both locations to browse the store when it is closed off to the public. You can also attend online events like author conversations and poetry readings––check out the virtual conversation with New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Colbert about her new book, Under a White Sky:The Nature of the Future, on Wednesday, February 17 at 7pm.
Inquiring MindsNew Paltz | (845) 255-8300
Saugerties | (845) 246-5775
Inquiring Minds Bookstore, with locations in New Paltz and Saugerties, is as good a place to buy a book as to read one. The red brick and mortar store in New Paltz has a large selection, including children’s books and toys, and local author and interest books. Both locations have sections of the store dedicated to specific themes, events, and holidays throughout the year. The Saugerties location also has a coffeehouse offering a full espresso bar as well as teas and smoothies. Inquiring Minds hosts events for local authors and book club discussions, bringing together local community members for coffee and conversation.
Merritt BookstoreMillbrook | (845) 677-5857
This Millbrook bookshop and toy store offers a wide variety of new releases and classic books for all ages, as well as toys, games, puzzles, cards, stationary, wrapping paper, and other little fun gifts. Check out their large selections on social justice, adult graphic novels, historical books, and audio books on CD. Merritt Bookstore hosts an annual Millbrook Literary Festival, which brings together nationally recognized authors and local writers with a local community of readers. The store is open seven days a week, and has a seating area for you to cozy up and test-drive a book while browsing.
Postmark BooksRosendale | (845) 658-2479
If you’re looking for a wide variety of books and locally grown flowers, this Rosendale shop has you covered. Postmarks Books is a vibrant shop located on the Rondout Creek that not only has a large selection of new books, but also an in-store floral design studio––Nissi Meadows Floral Design––where Maggie Paquet creates floral arrangements from locally grown heirloom flowers. Check out their indie bestselling books, favorites from the month, and seasonal picks on their website. The brick-and-mortar store is currently closed for browsing due to COVID, but they offer curbside pickups, local delivery, and free national shipping. Postmark Books also offers audiobook and e-book downloads.
Barner BooksNew Paltz | (845) 255-2635
This charming brick-and-mortar on Church Street in New Paltz is one of the longest standing bookstores in the Hudson Valley. Barner Books offers both new and used books with a wide variety of selections in regional history, children’s books, nature guides, art and literature collections, astrology, coffee table books, poetry, classics, rare books, and more. The shop also has antiques like vintage typewriters, Italian paper posters, and customer-favorite handmade journals imported from India. You can find Blackwing Pencils, bookmarks, cards, and posters in the shop as well. Barner Books is open seven days a week, and available for online orders.
Magpie BookshopCatskill | (518) 303-6035
Magpie Books in Catskill has all the secondhand books and charm one could hope for. Located on Main Street, the shop’s hardwood floors are lined with wood crates, vintage tables, and shelves full of used and like-new books of all sorts. Find bargain-book sets like the 1950s Winston Churchill collection or a set of books by Robert A. Johnson, or ask friendly shopkeeper Kristi Gibson for a recommendation. Magpie Books is open Mondays through Saturdays from 11am-5pm––and occasionally on Sundays.
Half Moon Books
Kingston | (845) 331-5439
Tivoli | (845) 757-1155
Despite the fluorescent overhead lights, Half Moon Books’ ample charm comes from its eclectic collection of rare and used books, artistic book-based window installations, and knowledgeable staff. The selection here is massive from historical biographies to fantasy to children’s literature, poetry, and vintage magazines. You can find everything from rare banned editions to leather-bound volumes to pulp runs. If you’re lucky enough to catch owner Jessica DuPont, she is a veritable font of information and can guide you to your next favorite after an exploratory conversation. At the checkout counter, scrapped book covers find new life as journals and make great last-minute gifts. The newer Half Moon location in Tivoli also has a bright and spacious children’s section.
Split Rock BooksCold Spring | (845) 265-2080
Located just a few feet from the Cold Spring Train station, this sky-blue indie bookshop is hard to miss and worth visiting. Opened by Heidi and Michael Bender in 2018, the bookstore filled a hole in the local community left by the previous bookshop a decade prior. Split Rock Books has a wide selection of new books, with many in literary fiction, non-fiction, small presses, local interest, and children’s selections. They host book clubs, readings, author signings and discussions, and several children’s and family events. Look on their website for the Bender’s favorite books, pride and justice month picks, staff favorites, and new releases.
Bruised Apple BooksPeekskill | (914) 734-7000
Like a gentleman's study out of another time period, Bruised Apple Books in Peekskill features soaring tin ceilings with shelves upon shelves of new and rare books, CDs, movies, and LPs. Dust motes glint in the light, the smell of old leather-bound volumes is on the air, and floorboards creak as you meander through this cozy maze of literature and music. Bruised Apple has been buying and selling used books and prints since 1933, and its curated collection includes around 50,000 titles. Vintage arm chairs and reading lamps are tucked here and there in case you need to plop down and really test drive a book before buy it. Both Worth a day trip.
Little Red Book ShackLivingston | (518) 537-5027
If you’re driving down Route 9 in Livingston, keep your eyes peeled for a “Books Ahead” sign, which heralds a ramshackle set of sheds and shacks where your next magical reading experience awaits. From the owners of online bookstore Melanie Nelson Books, the Little Red Book Shack has a bargain collection of around 20,000 used and vintage books, classical and indie LPs, DVDs, maps, and postcards throughout sheds and cottages on the property. The business is organized into different sections, including kids, music, vinyl, biography, and used books rooms. Due to COVID, the shop is operating through self-service––shop around and then pay on the front porch of the shop where owner Melanie Nelson will greet you. And while you’re on the porch, peruse the free yard sale items for an extra souvenir.
Rodgers Book BarnHillsdale | (518) 325-3610
This whimsical wooden cottage in Hillsdale is straight out of a fairytale, with a lush garden surrounding the house, books stacked to the top of every wooden shelf, cozy nooks throughout, and a friendly staff to greet you. One reviewer calls Rodgers Book Barn, “an absolute gem of a used bookstore.” Owner Maureen Rodgers, who has been running the shop since 1972, offers an array of uncommon and vintage fiction, criticism, memoir, biography, and history books for bargain prices––and self-serve coffee upstairs. It’s rare for upstate bookstores to make the pages of the New Yorker, but Rodgers Book Barn got its own tribute in 2010, with Meredith Blake describing it as “an enchanting, warrenlike atmosphere. It's the kind of place you half expect to find a talking rabbit wearing a monocle and vest and reading by candlelight.” Well maybe not a rabbit, but there are normally plenty of people nestled into armchairs perusing the ample selection.
Montgomery Book ExchangeMontgomery | (845) 764-1787
With its sunny yellow exterior, the Montgomery Book Exchange tucked in the historic is a village favorite, where you can sell, buy, and exchange a wide selection of used books for all ages. Check out the spacious Children’s Corner stocked with traditional and newer books, and buy one and get one free special on Fridays at 1pm. The shop accepts used books in exchange for store credit that can be used on anything in the shop. Tune into their “30 on Thursday” Facebook live events for discounts on 30 books, jewelry, and gifts. They also host book clubs, poetry nights, children’s storytime, book signing, and other special events like book folding and knitting to bring together the local community.
AntipodeanGarrison | (845) 424-3867
For over 40 years, Antipodean Books has been a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, and other trade organizations. Located in the historic 1840s train station building in Garrison, the shop has a wide selection of uncommon and vintage books, maps, prints, ephemera, and photographs to delight devotees of antiquity. Antipodean offers many products on the Hudson River Valley, the Antarctic and Arctic, the South Pacific, and voyages and travel.
Binnacle BooksBeacon | (845) 838-6191
Binnacle Books in Beacon has a large selection of new and used literature, poetry, literary nonfiction, political history, art, drama, philosophy, graphic novels, and children’s books. Partnered with Beacon Prison Rides and Beacon Prison Action, the shop is a part of the Beacon Prison Books Project which provides incarcerated people in the area with postcards to request books. In light of COVID, this small indie shop has extended its platform to online, where a small number of in-store products are available to order for pickup.
Our BookshopSaugerties | (845)-246-3106
This little green-and-white bookstore in Saugerties has over 25,000 carefully curated volumes of old, uncommon, vintage, and gently used books, plus postcards, magazines, CDs, DVDs, sheet music, prints, and ephemera stacked among the narrow and crowded shelves inside the tiny house. Our Bookshop is organized neatly by category, and owner Chris Evers can help you find whatever you’re looking for. One reviewer says, “you get the distinct sense that this man lives with books and loves them.” The bookshop also buys the goodies you are ready to part with—from maps to records, books, and prints.
Scattered BooksChappaqua | (914) 529-8013
Scattered Books in the Westchester hamlet of Chappaqua is a local favorite for gifts, author signings, events for kids and adults, and books of all kinds. This family-owned shop, located in an antique house, has a wide variety of bestsellers, fiction, nonfiction, teen chapter books, graphic novels, picture boards books, and children’s books. They also have toys and puzzles from Innovative Kids, Floss and Rock,, Usborne, and others––as well as gifts like Cheerful Giver candles. The Scattered Books Literary Lounge can be rented for events. They also offer custom party favors, and the bookstore bunnies, Acorn and Oatmeal, to greet you during your time at Scattered Books. The shop was named a 2016 family favorite by Westchester Magazine and Best of Westchester in 2017 and 2018.
Three Arts Bookstore
Founded in 1946 and located across the street from Vassar and founded in 1946, Three Arts has a long connection with the college and the city of Poughkeepsie. Here you'll inevitably brush shoulders with students buying textbooks for their classes, as well as locals browsing the ample selection. The genre-spanning collection ranges from sports and travel to cooking, poetry, and nature, plus a sizable collection of of children’s books, and of course novels. Occasionally blemished books are banished to the discount rack, where you can a great deal on a near-perfect condition volume.