Peterborough, NH should be one town on every reader’s list of places to visit. According to the library’s website, Peterborough is home to the United States’ first free public library, which was founded on April 9, 1833. This library is the first that was completely supported by taxation. And if you didn’t know, Peterborough was also the inspiration for Thorton Wilder’s play, Our Town.
(photo from toadbooks.com)
But the place in Peterborough I want to devote attention to today is The Toadstool Bookshop. Located in downtown Peterborough (12 Depot Square), The Toadstool Bookshop is a quintessential New England bookshop that every book lover should visit. (It is actually a small chain of bookshops, with one in Keene, NH as well as Milford, NH.) I might just have an out-of-town perspective, but this independent bookshop is magical, and it’s almost better if you visit during a summer rainstorm (like I have on a few coincidental occasions). Although I can only imagine how magical the little town looks during the holiday season!
I love this bookstore because it has a new section as well as an amazing used section. I remember spending a couple of hours just browsing the used section, which is extremely organized! Bookstores with a cluttered and disorganized used area is overwhelming and prevents me from browsing any further. The atmosphere is quiet–thankfully not silent–and I never felt uncomfortable if I sat on the floor or grabbed a seat elsewhere (like on the wooden toadstool!) while I skimmed my finds. This bookshop also has a small independent coffee shop, which only adds to the ambiance.
The Toadstool often has local writers talk about and sign their books, which signifies its connection to the community. Despite their commitment to print, the bookshop is also active on Facebook, which is helpful in seeing when special events are happening. You can follow them on Facebook here.
I’ve linked it above, but the website for all three shops is toadbooks.com.
Note: I really wanted to write about this bookstore as my first in the series, but I recently moved from NH and had to recall most of this from a 1.5-year-old memory. I also wasn’t able to dig up any of my own pictures but I did find this great blog post with some more information and pictures of inside the shop. Enjoy!