Kirsten and I spent an amazing morning visiting Baldwin’s Book Barn in West Chester, PA. We found this amazing place through Bookstagram!!!! One of the things we love so much about Instagram is that we are able to find hidden gems that we would never have known about otherwise. Hidden off a winding road on 6 acres of rolling hills, lies this 200 year old barn filled with 200,000+ books.
As we walked into the building, the first thing we noticed (aside from the size and number of books) is the amazing smell from the wood burning fireplace. The fireplace is located in the middle of the main room. I will definitely need to go back to visit in the winter to curl up with a good book and listen to the sound of the crackling fire.
The sweetest lady greeted us and she gave us a tour of this amazing building. She also provided us with a map to help us navigate the 5 stories of books. The ground floor is filled with unbelievable first editions of classics along with kids books, old maps and an entire room of books that were used recently in an upcoming Nicole Kidman film. There are also various reading nooks scattered through out the building for guests enjoyment.
As we meandered our way to the second floor, we had to watch our heads and we climbed the steep and narrow staircase. Here we found books, books and more books on every subject you can think of. The third floor has hidden rooms filled with “new releases”. New, being relative of course to the age of the building. Anything published in the last 75 years is considered new!
Next we found our way to the fourth floor. This task is not as easy as it seems. It is divided into two halves that are accessed separately from either the fifth or the third floors. Last, we made it to the top. Books on the fifth floor are sold by the foot. These books are perfect to filling up large bookcases. They are old and leather and there is definitely no rhyme or reason to the authors or titles.
Before we left, we meandered outside to sit beneath a large oak tree and lounge in some ancient adirondack chairs. The outdoor lands of the barn are so peaceful that a picnic lunch wouldn’t seem out of place at all!
I bought an encyclopedia of cats for my daughter. She had looked at every picture in the 300 plus page monstrosity over and over. Kirsten found a great copy of The Odyssey (one of her 5 favorite books) and a beat-up paperback version of Gone with The Wind. As we were leaving, the wonderful lady in the store gave Kirsten an old battered copy of Madame Bovary because she had a feeling Kirsten would adore — which she totally does!
This gem is well worth the trip. We highly recommend that the next time you are in the West Chester, PA area you make a stop as this historic barn. And, if you felt so inclined, it is currently for sale of a mere $2,000,000.