Some places bring a smile to the face, simply knowing they exist. One such spot is Rodgers Book Barn: a wooden structure in upstate New York packed with over 20,000 used books — including “old and unusual” tomes!
A Hillsdale, NY Gem
Rodgers book Barn was founded back in 1972 (it’s half a century old!), and is run by Maureen Rodgers. This gem is located in Hillsdale, New York — 2.5 hours by car from both New York City and Boston, and conveniently close to the beautiful Berkshires, MA mountains. Watch out if you try to find the barn, because it’s found deep within the woods, on winding country roads with spotty cell phone service!
Book Barn Architecture
Gazing at the structure below, it looks just as a book barn should, in one’s wildest imagination: weathered wood, a jaunty pointed peak on the roof, and none of the lines quite straight. What’s truly a feat of magic, however, is how tens of thousands of books can fit inside that humble-looking building… yet they do!
Book Barn Hours: “By Chance”
As a fan of sassy signs, I had a special chuckle at the hand-written Book Barn hours posted on the door: 11-4 most days… and then by chance and appointment! It makes me wonder which hours “chance” usually is. Are there secret midnight opportunities to buy books in the barn???
A Place to Browse Books or Sit and Read
Inside Rodgers Book Barn (which, please note, is NOT spelled like “Mister Rogers,” but instead has a “D” nestled in the middle), there are a series of absolutely delightful spots to sit and read when tired of browsing shelves. Don’t you love that orange and blue velvet chair, below, which resembles a court jester’s hat?
The floors of Rodgers Book Barn are also worth a look. As you can see from my photos, there is a certain sloping angle for every flat surface of the barn. A hodgepodge mix of well-loved rugs adorns the ground, and all visitors should watch their step through their whole visit — especially when climbing the stairs to the second floor (which houses a whole section for children’s books — though not my book… yet).
Things to Do Near Hillsdale, NY
Despite its relatively rural location, there are lots of wonderful things to do around the Rodgers Book Barn and Hillsdale, NY. Above all, don’t miss Bash Bish Falls which is a quick ten minutes away by car. Just make sure to click through to my article with a warning about which side of the waterfall to hike, of the two choices!
Beyond Bash Bish Falls
Besides Bash Bish (hey, that would make a good band name), you can drive 15 minutes east to see the tiny planes at Great Barrington Airport: the friendliest — and I would also argue, cutest — airport around. Just beware that any adventurous souls in your traveling party will be highly tempted to take the flying lessons on offer.
Thank You, Rodgers Book Barn!
Three cheers for the unique, quirky, and soulful spots in this world! Long may Rodgers Book Barn live, and long may we love little reading nooks.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!