200 Main Street, Saugerties, NY (I have also seen the address listed as 68 and 65 Partition Street)
This shop more than any other has come up as a prime recommendation by most locals I talk to, so I was happy to finally drop in on a rainy weekend this winter. Located on a busy corner in downtown Saugerties, NY (which has a lot more going for it than I expected), Inquiring Minds Bookstore falls into what I’ve come to think of as the “Ideal” type of bookshop. Not only are they an excellent supplier of books, but they feel like the kind of community bookstore that also serves as the social hub of town, and that’s how a shop can go from great to magical.
The door I entered dropped me right into the heart of the children’s section, which extended much further back than I initially expected. I found picture books, board books, YA, chapter books, educational and entertaining titles, a nice selection of Maurice Sendak collector editions, toys, games, a sitting area, all very impressive. Beyond this were more tables and chairs, a section for educational and test prep, and then all kinds of twisting aisles, rows, columns, and displays of fiction, nonfiction, plays, poetry, graphic novels, comics, biographies, philosophy and religious texts, music and jazz, film, art, therapy, really a little bit of everything, so much that I can’t read the notes I tried to take on all the little subcategories and genres. There were all manner of mysteries and short story anthologies, mainstream fiction and sci-fi/fantasy, a very solid selection overall.
The space is large enough to allow for numerous couches, chairs, and tables, a perfect place for the events and readings they hold, and that doesn’t even include the coffee shop in the back where you can get a hot or cold drink and a bite to eat while you post up with a laptop or book and while away a rainy afternoon, as I saw a handful of people doing. The creaking wooden floors and the serpentine shelves stacked with books allows for any browser to quickly get lost in the charm of a hometown bookstore. There are new books, discounted books, used books, a wide variety. Some are older editions, but there are plenty of bestsellers, new titles, and quirky selections that I hadn’t seen elsewhere, which is always a good sign.
Basically, Inquiring Minds Bookstore is the kind of shop you’d want in your hometown, a place where you can buy something for yourself, your kids, your friends, catch an author passing through, enjoy a coffee, and be among your people—fellow book lovers. This is an A+ shop and I’m looking forward to visiting again soon.
Atmosphere — A classic bookshop with creaky floors, stacked shelves, coffee, couches, the perfect place to spend a casual rainy afternoon.
Quality — The books were in good shape, even the used discounted ones in the rear of the store, and they had very nice collectors editions too.
Quantity — Loads. The shop was bigger than I expected and the kids section has plenty to offer.
Diversity — There was a little bit of everything, and a whole lot of most things.
Affordability — You won’t go broke here (I mean, you can, but…) since the prices are fair and there’s also a discount section in the rear.
Amenities — Plenty of space to lounge, to work, to drink and eat, to play chess, to listen to music; this shop is as much a social hub as it is a bookseller.
Location — Right in the heart of downtown Saugerties (dare I say THE heart of Saugerties?), which is right off 87 in the Hudson Valley, not far from Kingston, NY (which also has great bookshops).
Customer Service — The staff seemed friendly but busy and I got to browse at my own pace.
Overall — This was a very comfortable and fulfilling experience and I can see why so many people recommended it. It’s one of the best shops in the Hudson Valley and it gets high marks all around. Go visit!