It might not quite be Flourish and Blotts*, but the Savoy Bookstore and Cafe in Westerly is a Harry Potter worthy shrine to the written word that makes Barnes and Noble look like an antiseptic supermarket by comparison. Love of literature suffuses every corner of this 3,000-square-foot publication paradise, where books are reverently displayed on two stunning floors of shelves interspersed with charming spaces set aside for reading and relaxing.
A sister bookstore to owner Annie Philbrick’s also-lovely Bank Square Books in Mystic, the Savoy is full of pleasant surprises, from frequent author appearances and signings to literature discussions and readings. Both bookstores partner with local libraries and host book clubs, and consignment sales allow local authors to get their work before the reading public.
The bookstore, located in the former Savoy Hotel and opened in April 2016, centers on a broad, open staircase; at the top is the Savoy Cafe, serving steaming mugs of local Dave’s Coffee to go along with your read. Big leather couches at the front of the store create a cozy reading nook; for kids, there’s a hidden reading room downstairs, as well.
It’s a good thing the Savoy Bookstore and Cafe is 45 minutes from our base in North Kingstown, or I’d definitely be spending way too much time here. If you’re closer by and love books, consider yourself blessed; if not, make it a point to take the drive down to Westerly to check out the Savoy — in an era where bookstores have been vanishing and learning has taken a back seat to opinion, it’s a Rhode Island that deserves to be cherished and shared.
Savoy Bookstore and Cafe
10 Canal Street
*geek alert: the Diagon Alley bookstore when Harry got his textbooks for Hogwarts
(Photos by Bob Curley)