On our visit to the town on Tuesday, a friend and I enjoyed a tasty Southern delicacy, a pulled pork sandwich topped with creamy coleslaw, at historic Boone Tavern. We had a ball as we wandered in and out of shops and galleries featuring watercolor and acrylic paintings; photographs; pottery vases, mugs, and plates; woven scarves, blankets and rugs; wooden bowls, boxes and puzzles; metalwork; blown glass; and, beaded jewelry - necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings. All items are hand-made by Kentucky artisans.
As we drove into town we noticed large, artistic painted hands in front of stores, on street corners, in small parks. These, we learned, were part of the public art project "Show of Hands". Very colorful and so fitting for a town that promotes hand-made objects.
|Show of Hands|
The town itself has a population of about 14,000 and the college has an enrollment of 1500 students. The college was founded in 1855 and every student attends tuition free. It draws mostly from the Appalachian region of the state giving the lowest of low-income students with high academic qualifications a chance at a first-rate education. Many students are the first in their family to attend college.
Each student works at least ten hours a week on campus either in Boone Tavern and the hotel which belong to the college, in one of the college departments or offices, or in the student shop creating jewelry, pottery, or woven pieces to be sold.
Of course, the trip would not have been complete without a visit to the local used bookstore Robie Books. The shop, located on the edge of the campus, is presided over by owner Avena Cash who greeted us from behind the front counter. She was surround by stacks of books on the floor that she was processing into the store's inventory.
Robie Books was originally founded by a Mr. Robie (now deceased) and his wife. Avena and her husband bought it three years ago. There are no coffee machines, comfy chairs, or cats. However, there are plenty of books which is what makes a bookstore a bookstore.
I rummaged through shelves of historic and classic fiction, mysteries, and children's books. Gardening and nature books and histories and biographies had rooms of their own.
At one point I had in my hand a sweet little hardcover edition of Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell but left without buying it. I don't know what I was thinking. I must have been getting sleepy from my lunch. Oh, well. I can always call Avena and have her send it to me.
|Robie Books owner Avena Cash|
It is a rare day that I enter a used bookstore and leave with only one book but, although it is a struggle, I am trying to keep my purchases limited to hardcover copies which helps keep my expenditures and TBR piles down.