440 Greenfield Rd. Montague, MA
How absolutely perfect that this shop’s motto is “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find,” as we had to twist and turn our way through memory and Google directions to finally emerge from the wooded glens of the Pioneer Valley and pull into the large dirt parking lot across the street from this former mill bustling with activity and creative offerings. I was taken by the Montague Bookmill at first sight and thought, Oh how very much I want all the things within that I don’t need, and so will you when you track down this wonderful bookshop.
After crossing the street and the little bridge leading into the uppermost floor of the mill complex, you’ll find a large room perfect for events and filled with tables, chairs and sofas, nooks, alcoves, windows pouring afternoon sunlight over everything, and of course shelves of books. I saw a bunch of memoir and biographies up there, rows of art books, and all manner of fiction and non as I wound through the rooms, halls, and staircases until I came to the area by the staff desk downstairs, which was surrounded by more rows, tables, and aisles of new arrival fiction, books on history, war, photography, humor, animals, gardens, presidents, social sciences, nature, and a nice selection of children’s books and YA.
Places to sit are spread throughout, creating convenient areas for lounging and resting while also gazing out the windows at the gorgeous stream rushing by. There are displays for humorously-titled journals, blank notebooks, cards, signs, and other gifts with the name of the shop on them, including stickers, mugs, and metallic lunchboxes.
Off through another side room we found long shelves of literary fiction, poetry, essays, mysteries, classics, and more. It was a tight squeeze through there at times because the shop was full, but we have fun maneuvering through the shelves and stacks, showing each other this or that discovery. After a second pass through we adjourned to the café where we saw people eating, talking, reading, and working at the dozen or so tables there, all surrounded by big bright windows and amazing views of the stream. Up a few steps is the ordering area/bar with tea, coffee, and other drinks, plus pastries and snacks of all kinds. We each sat with some tea and perused our recent purchases, feeling supremely relaxed and at ease in the cozy yet lively environment.
On our way out the door we saw another nearby building that contained a record shop, much to our delight, but sadly it was closed that day. Catch it on a day when it’s open and that would be the perfect way to end a trek out to the bookmill. The spot isn’t near many other attractions but it has enough going for it all on its own that you’ll want to make the trip out there anyway. Go spend a couple of hours looking around and sipping tea, relax, and enjoy simply being in a creative literary space. Highly recommended!
Atmosphere — A bright, multi-floor mill full of books, drinks, snacks, and plenty of space for chilling, working, anything you like. The café adds a lot of life to the shop, and there’s a record store nearby too. I’ll bet the shop holds other surprises we didn’t yet see. I’d like to return to find out.
Quality — The books are used but in a fine spectrum of quality.
Quantity — Loads and loads, rooms and floors full of them!
Diversity — The mill has a broad spectrum of topics, genres, and subgenres, and you can find both new and old editions of fiction, art, and children’s books.
Affordability — The books are all discounted and are pretty easy on the wallet.
Amenities — It’s the kind of shop that offers you enough of extras to keep you on site for longer than you might expect, with plenty of places to sit, read, and work, plus a café offering tea, coffee, and snacks, which one can enjoy sitting at a table overlooking the rushing creek immediately outside the mill. It’s a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.
Location — A short drive north from Amherst and Northampton, on twisting country roads in a beautiful part of Massachusetts.
Customer Service — The staff were present and were helping others but will let you do your thing.
Overall — With mountains of books to sort through and beautiful views all around, you may not want to leave once you take the time to find it! The Montague Bookmill is an incredibly unique experience and perfect for any booklover or back-road adventurer.