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Best Kept New England Travel Secrets: the Montague Bookmill in Montague, Massachusetts

Montague Bookmill, Montague, Massachusetts
Montague Bookmill in Montague, Mass.

by Eric Hurwitz. Updated 6/2/2022.

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You might get lost trying to find the Montague Bookmill, or, if found, get lost in the joys of browsing one of New England's most unique independent book stores.

Located on the banks of the Swift River in a remote area of the Pioneer Valley, the Montague Bookmill's 1842 rustic gristmill complex setting provides an unlikely setting for a book store. I almost expected to meet some millers and come across a water wheel, but instead saw mostly college kids and professor types casually perusing academic books. No surprise, given the college towns of Amherst and Northampton, Mass., are within close proximity, as well as eclectic Greenfield about 10 minutes down the road.

Scholary publications comprise the main book inventory at the Bookmill, but you'll also find thousands of other books on virtually any topic in a disorganized/organized environment. With creaky floors, an appealing old book smell, a welcoming spirit to all walks of life, and some truly unique characters -- like the customer wearing a goofy hat like John Phillips did in the Mamas and Papas -- two things are certain: any Fox News fan clubs most likely won't likely be booking meeting time here, and you'll never find another bookstore like this anywhere.

Going beyond books, the attached Lady Killegrew Cafe and Pub -- open from early morning to at least 9 p.m. -- has an earthy feel and wonderful views of the Swift River. The menu includes scrambled eggs, bagels, salads and grilled sandwiches, as well as beer and wine.

Montague Bookmill, Montague MADownstairs from the Montague Bookmill is the Watershed Restaurant, specializing "gourmet comfort foods," as well as homemade desserts and gluten free and vegan options. At either dining spot, you have the benefit in the warmer weather option of dining outside to some marvelous scenery in a truly soothing, relaxing setting.

Also in the complex is Sawmill River Arts and Turn it Up! Music and Movies. Additionally, the Bookmill features a weekly movie night in the winter, and concerts and performances the rest of the year.

The Montague Bookmill's slogan, “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find,” is entirely accurate, but a sentiment to completely ignore. Employ your GPS, and get ready to enjoy this truly best kept New England travel secret!

The Montague Bookmill is located in the Montague Milll at 44 Greenfield Rd., Montague MA. Tel. (413) 367--9206

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This fascinating indie bookstore in rural western Massachusetts not only sells hard-to-find books, but is also very hard to find.

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