My husband and I have had a joke since our dating years that we can’t go anywhere on vacation without him catching a baseball game and visiting a brewery or sampling the local beers. “Ball game and a brew pub!” has been a catch phrase for us through the years. One that I say while rolling my eyes. He always acts surprised when the local team where we are staying just happens to be playing against his beloved Phillies. Sure buddy, like you didn’t totally plan it that way! We recently went on a family trip to Chicago and of course hit up a Cubs game and tried some local beers. “Ball game and a brew pub” are his vacation “must do’s”.
When we checked into the hotel, one of the brochures in the lobby had a feature on all the
local bookstores: “Book Browsing at it’s Best – Lose a Few Hours in Some of the Best Independent Bookstores Chicago has to Offer”. Well, alright then! That got my attention! There was one called After-Words Bookstore just two minutes from our hotel. It sold new and used books, had a big selection of used fiction books and a signed books section. So I decided then and there that my “must do” on our vacation trips was going to be visiting and supporting a local bookstore.
After a day spent exploring the awesome Field Museum,
my family walked over to After-Words Bookstore for a little downtime. What we found was a huge, two-floor store with funky details you don’t usually see in the big name bookstores. There were rustic wooden beams running across all the ceilings, stone and brick walls peeking out from the bookshelves in the basement and street lamps with signs inside the store.
My favorite part was the pillars throughout the main
floor that had been painted a tan color and then had different quotes written on them in black.
The children’s section was small, but big enough to suck me and my kids in for awhile. They each got to pick-out a book. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, Eragon by Christopher Paolini, and Olive My Love by Vivian Walsh. My choice? A used copy of BFG by Roald Dahl. One of Dahl’s books I hadn’t read as a kid. Perfect plane reading material, if you ask me.
All in all, a success. And I think I’ve convinced my husband that all future vacation trips need to include a visit to a local bookstore.
We’ll have to change our catch phrase to “Ball game, brew pub AND a bookstore”.
Do you have a vacation “must do”? If you don’t, maybe it should be supporting a local bookstore and bringing home some good books.