Hello Out and About Mom readers! Long time, no blog! I stepped away from my blog contributor duties temporarily but I promise it was for good reason: I came by gainful employment! I am now mom, writer, and bookseller extraordinaire. Allow me to introduce you to one of the newest businesses in Glastonbury and a place I am proud to work, River Bend Bookshop.
Located at 2217 Main Street, River Bend officially opened for business on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but I’d already tracked down the owner, Meghan Hayden, and
begged applied for a job well before then. My affinity for the very idea of this store was sparked after I read about Meghan’s vision for the business on the River Bend website, and as a parent this part particularly struck a chord:
“Bookshops are wonderful places where the act of pulling a book off the shelf can spark a conversation that leads to authentic and meaningful connections. Bookshops are magical places where children discover the characters that turn them into life-long readers and learners. These experiences cannot be downloaded. “
And as if that was not beautiful enough, just look at how many coffee places are within a stone’s throw of this place:
Books and coffee — who could ask for more?
During warmer weather, Glastonbury’s Fountain Green is also a short walk away and there is an entrance to the walking path that leads to Riverfront Park just a couple of driveways down the road. I’ve walked the path to Riverfront Park several times myself. It’s gravel and fairly level, making for an easy walk, and it takes about 10-15 minutes to get to the playground from River Bend.
Like any bookstore or library worth its salt, River Bend does, of course, also offer a storytime for kids. Sundays at 10:30am you can find a happy little crew cozied up for some read-aloud fun in the children’s room. Bug and Bean often stop in with my husband while I’m working (if Bug had his way he’d come with me for every. single. shift.), but one chilly, late-January morning, we made extra special certain to visit the bookshop during storytime.
There is ample parking available along Main Street and an off-street lot behind the store with plenty of spaces.
There is both a front and a back entrance and both have a few steps ups, so while it’s possible to get a stroller in there if you’re really determined, I wouldn’t recommend it.
The inside of the store has all the charm and coziness of a house built in the 1800’s (which it is), and yet Meghan has succeeded at making a small space full of books somehow feel bright and airy as well.
This is where being an employee really worked in my favor – I was able to snag some good photos of the space before anyone else was even there. Ha!
Storytime is very relaxed at River Bend and book selections are frequently seasonally inspired, taking into consideration the ages of the kids in attendance that day. While a few titles are definitely lined up ahead of time, I’ve never known a request to be denied.
I’ll admit I don’t remember all of the books we read that particular day (as you can see from the picture, Bug was not only listening to the book being read aloud, but he had selected a book to read on his own as well) but I do remember we kicked things off with Dragon Night by J.R. Krause, which had just been published earlier that week.
There’s something so exciting about that to me; sharing wonderful, fresh children’s books with young readers. I couldn’t agree more with what Meghan said in the statement I quoted her from earlier: bookshops really are magical places where children meet the characters that will make them into life-long readers and learners. I, for one, am so glad my kids have a wonderful, welcoming community-based shop like River Bend to call home.
Hope to see you there soon!
2217 Main Street, Glastonbury, Connecticut
Phone: (860) 430-6608
Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm and Saturday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
Storytime: Sundays @ 10:30am
Check riverbendbookshop.com for special event dates and times
N/A (storytime is FREE and open to the public)
Stroller Friendly: NO (though I’ve seen a stroller or two hoisted up the front step; if you’re truly determined, you can make it happen)
Coffee Mug Friendly: YES
Baby Changing Station: NO
Parking: YES, lot behind building.
Food for Sale: NO
Outside Food Allowed: No, there really isn’t any place to eat it. But beverages are welcome (hello, coffee!)
Cash Required: NO
Dress Code: N/A
Age Recommendation: Storytime is geared towards kids under age 8, but all ages are welcome!
Evening/Weekend Hours: YES
Birthday Party Venue: YES. Why not? If you have a big reader on your hands, why not have a book-themed party? River Bend is open to hosting private events upon request, including baby showers and book club meetings. Call the store at (860) 430-6608 for information.
Discounts: Storytime is FREE but River Bend does also have a store membership program that includes a sign-up discount, a complimentary tote bag, and more. Call the store or come on in and talk to a bookseller for more information.
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