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Hobart Book Village (of the Catskills)

December, 2020
By Paul Grondahl

[Ed. Note:  Grondahl's story was first published in the Albany Times Union and then was linked to by "Sheppard's Confidential" (UK) who probably up against a publishing deadline of their own, inadvertently relocated the Hobart Book Village to Hobart, Tasmania (Australia).  Last we heard Hobart is still down the road and comfortably nestled in the Catskills, along side the west branch of the Delaware River.  We can drive there in about an hour and a half from Cazenovia, NY.  Although it's a popular out-of-town destination for bookish day trippers from New York City, it's not as well known in our part of the state as I think it should be.]

Friends recommended that we make a visit to the Hobart Book Village in Delaware County, and on a raw and rainy recent Saturday, my wife, Mary, and I headed west on Interstate 88.  Our dog, Lily, curled up in the back seat.

We are book lovers, but I also wanted to learn if a half-dozen used book stores along Main Street could save a down-on-its-luck Catskills village of fewer than 500 people. The original story of the Hobart Book Village resembles the plot of a novel, filled with interesting characters and twists of fate.

Bill and Diana Adams were pioneers. They lived and worked for decades in Manhattan, she as a lawyer and he as a physician. A detour driving back from a wedding in Detroit 20 years ago landed them in Hobart. On impulse, they rented a storefront. Their book addiction overflowed their apartment and they needed space. “It was cheaper than storing the books in New York City,” she said. "We started with three bookcases.”

They bought a house on three acres and came on weekends to tend a large garden and small bookshop... (read more)