Located on the back roads of western Massachusetts, amidst historic buildings, and a serene river landscape, the Montague Book Mill has 25,000 books jammed into a 175-year-old building perched on the banks of the Sawmill River, a narrow creek filled with black stones smoothed by the cold water.
Like most old mill buildings in the region, the revamped interior has retained most of the character of the original building, with scuffed wooden floors, giant windows, and traces of the industrial nature it once had. Once known as Stone’s Gristmill, the building began as a grain mill for local families in the 1830s, and was used as a water powered drill press in the 1940s before being bought and transformed in 1987.
The maze-like aisles and staircase make the book searching nearly as enjoyable as the book browsing: in every corner you’ll find an armchair, bench, or couch to take in the view over the fast moving river. Readers can be found in both the summer afternoon sun or cuddling up during a blizzard, reading about everything from astrology to African history to arachnids, to abstract art.
The store is now part of a bigger complex that uses the surrounding outbuildings to house independently owned businesses that complement the book store: an artist studio, a record store, an antique seller, a restaurant, and an adjoining café whose huge windows overlook the rushing waterfall.