Nestled away on a sheltered plot in Niantic, the Book Barn, a humbly converted farm, is home to six book-filled, stand-alone buildings that made up the original homestead. The buildings are bursting with over 350,000 used bindings, piles and shelves of classics and oddities, sorted neatly by genre or, for those that defy categorization, more loosely by keyword.
You cannot come to the Book Barn with a title in mind –you will never find it. Instead, come to look for a gift, or inspiration, or, at least, decoration.
The landscape is playful and deliberate, somewhere between a shopping mall and a haunted house. Each person who visits has the unique feeling of being the first – the first to find this place, this book, this spot in the garden. It is a most appealing feeling. You pass a little red wagon full of paperbacks on your way to the footbridge, which carries you over the man-made pond on your way to the mystery novel shed. Even if you’ve never read a mystery novel, you will find an hour has passed before you can pull yourself away.
The lighting is dim and the rooms unpolished; nothing is new in this place, though everything is loved.
Between the cats, dog, and goats, there are picnic benches where guests are invited to lounge and snack.
As its website proclaims, “You never know what treasure you may find.”
The Book Barn, for you volunteers out there, is located adjacent to York Correctional. If you’d like a tasty bite on your journey, hit up East Coast Taco just down the road at 51 West Main Street.
The Book Barn is located at 41 West Main Street, Niantic, CT. It is open from 9am-9pm daily.