Books and weekend adventures in Rockland

For our latest bookish adventure, we took the advice of one of Twice Sold Tales’ readers and went up to Rockland. This reader had gotten in touch with me after I posted my piece about the train leaving us there one autumn day. He suggested a few bookshops, stores, and restaurants where we should go the next time we were in Rockland. Not needing much more of an excuse than that, we planned the trip for this weekend.

Armed with camera, wallet, and the names and operating hours of several places we wanted to visit, we were much more prepared than the last time we were in Rockland. But wouldn’t you know it, one of the bookshops, Dooryard Books (the one I was most excited to visit) wasn’t open this Saturday. Nor was the Home Kitchen Café when we tried to swing by for lunch, even though we followed the hours listed on their website. Not deterred by these minor setbacks, we ventured up Main Street to Rock City Coffee Roasters, home to hello hello books (yes, that name is purposefully not capitalized, and yes, it goes against my very English-major core to not capitalize it).

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What first caught my attention about the shop was how bright and cheerful the few shelves of books were. Tucked into the back of the restaurant, hello hello books is what most realtors would call cozy or quaint. But with a little effort and determination, one can fit many millions of words into tiny spaces. And that is what they have accomplished in hello hello books. Packed full of fiction, memoir, nonfiction, travel adventure, Maine-centric literature, Young Adult and children’s books, this tiny little shop has a lot to offer for any reader.

The only warning I will give about this bookshop is that because of its size, you should be prepared to rub elbows with other customers. As someone who prefers a wide personal bubble, I had to keep moving to make sure I had plenty of room to peruse the books. Prices at hello hello books vary – the new books seemed to be marked at full retail value, while the secondhand hardcovers ran anywhere between a few bucks to just under $20. Thrifty shopper that I am, I was able to find a copy of Stephen King’s Under the Dome for only $3.35. I also couldn’t resist purchasing a couple sassy stickers at the cash register – one for me, and one for my sister, who likes to knit. HelloReading2

And speaking of thrifty shopping… a confession: I love Goodwill. Love it – the kind of love that involves discount cards and public proclamations of the deals to be found there. It’s where I buy most of my clothes and a good number of my books. So when we saw a massive Goodwill this weekend, we had to stop. We actually pulled a near U-turn in the road to get into the parking lot. And much to my surprise – and delight – this is actually where we found most of our books this trip. We bought nine for less than five bucks. Now that is a deal.

We impulsively decided to check out the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum this morning. If you haven’t gone yet, I highly recommend it. We got there around 11:00, and there were only a few other patrons. It was nice and quiet – as different from the harried pace and cacophony of yesterday’s shopping crowds as possible. Even if you’re not into antique cars, planes, and engines (and typically speaking, I am not, by any means, mechanically inclined), you will still find a lot to admire about the various displays. The building is massive, and there are a lot of things to see. We wandered around for over an hour, marveling at huge steam engines, fancy cars, and old planes that looked like they could never taxi down a runway, much less take to the endless blue skies.


Once we got back to Brunswick, we took a walk along the river. As we strolled in the sunshine, I reflected on a conversation we’d had in the car.

“It’s just so pretty,” I had said, as we drove over the bridge in Wiscasset, the blue sea twinkling in the sunlight.

“And we get to live here,” said my fella. I knew he didn’t mean Wiscasset – we will never be fancy enough to live there.

“You know, Maine’s got everything you could ever want,” I mused. “The ocean, mountains, rivers, forests, fields, rivers, lakes. We’ve got it all.”

We paused on our walk and stood on the riverside, watching the swift blue water flowing by. The sun was warm on my face, the cool breeze lifting my hair. On the path behind me, families and couples walking their dogs were talking and laughing. A sensation of contentment settled upon me – a springtime feeling. And I thought it again – how lucky I am to live here, in a place that offers so much, and all just a drive away. Though it was a quick getaway, our trip to Rockland satiated my wanderlust (temporarily – I know I will feel the itch to go somewhere new sometime very soon) and proved to me again that adventures wait for us all, in places near and far. We just have to be ready and willing to go out and meet them.

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And, for a sample of my fiction writing, follow the link to read my original short story, “Lost and Found,” recently published by the Hawaii Pacific Review:

Shannon Bowring

About Shannon Bowring

I am 26 years old. I was raised up in the County, in the tiny town of Ashland. I attended the University of Maine in Orono and graduated in 2012 with a BA in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing. Reading and writing have always been the greatest loves of my life. I am most at home in the dusty corners of used bookstores, surrounded by forgotten books. One day, inspiration struck when I decided I wanted to combine all my loves – writing, reading, traveling, exploring these beloved shops – to create an outlet in which I can share my bookish adventures with an audience of like-minded readers who could appreciate my love of words and stories.