Books on the Cape: Where the Sidewalk Ends, the Brewster Book Store, and More

Who knew Cape Cod had so many great bookstores and other book places?

Mac and I – who are spending a long weekend here before joining family in Mystic, Connecticut for Thanksgiving – have already stumbled into several. Chatham, where we stayed Thursday and Friday, has two terrific stores. Yellow Umbrella Books is a postage stamp of a place with a terrific collection of new and used books, including plenty of regional and nautical books. Where the Sidewalk Ends (which isn’t, actually, but is in a nifty restored barn) has a terrific kids’ section and an amazing summer author luncheon series (including, last summer, the lovely J. Courtney Sullivan, to whom I owe the recent discovery of my facebook “couples page” – which yes, I am still creeped out about). I’m told the store is owned by a mother-daughter team, which, giving my propensity for writing about mothers and daughters, does give me novel ideas!

In Provincetown, we somehow missed Provincetown Bookshop, distracted as we were by the most charming public library we’ve ever seen. It’s in a beautiful building that was once a Methodist church, with stunning views through the windows and amazing art on the walls (as befits Provincetown, where gorgeous art abounds). But more amazingly – and a big thanks to librarian Andrew Aull, who pointed us upstairs to see this without telling us what it was we were going to see – the library houses along with its books, believe it or not, a ½ scale boat.

Okay, believe it. Mac and I were so enamored that we took each other’s photos overlooking the boat:

On the way down from Provincetown to Brewster, we stopped to watch the sunset at a park across from the Wellfleet Oyster Company, and wouldn’t you know there was a little used bookstore there, too. I had the nicest chat with the bookseller there about the various states we still had to conquer to make our complete sets of fifty. Mac and I also passed Herridge Books on our way toward dinner, but were too late and too hungry to stop in.

Today, we’re in Brewster, where we spent a lovely few late afternoon minutes at The Brewster Book Store –  a completely charming and sunny-bright store with a stuffed giraffe in the children’s section, terrific books in the front window (including Tatjana Soli’s The Forgetting Tree and David Abrams’ Fobbit), and two delightful booksellers, Julia and Nancy, with whom I had a nice chat about indie bookstores over their several copies of My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop.

No wonder people like to vacation here! – Meg

Where the Sidewalk Ends is at 432 Main Street, Chatham MA and on twitter @chathamsidewalk

The Brewster Bookstore is at 2648 Main Street, Brewster MA and @BrewsterBook

Independent bookstores help new writers find an audience, and keep literature vibrant. If you don’t live near any of these, please see the list of others in the sidebar under “Bookstores Worth Browsing.” Don’t see your favorite here yet? Please email me and I’ll do my best to have it featured here.


1st BOOKS is hosted by MEG WAITE CLAYTON


New York Times-bestselling author of five novels, including the forthcoming The Race for Paris (August 11) and The Wednesday Sisters (a writing group novel). Essays for The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Writer's Digest, Runner's World, and public radio.

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