Welcome to The Marauders a new monthly feature hosted by three best friends: Scales aka Elizabeth from BookYABBER, Pooka aka Marci at The Plot Bunny and Embers aka Nicole from Nicole’s Novel Reads. We seek to share with you, our unique outings, bookish exploits, and favorite haunts. Together we aspire to always live by our motto: “Mischief Managed”.
Outing of the Month: Book Hunting & Afternoon Tea
1st stop: Park Street Books in Medfield, Massachusetts
Known as the largest children’s bookstore in New England with a minimal of 200,000 books on premises and even more in storage, Park Street Books was definitely a top spot on our list of interesting places we needed to visit ASAP.
Before we even entered the magical realm of books held within the walls of the two-story brick building, we did a little exploring outside to admire the quirky decorations surrounding the store. There was a large gleeful frog statue reading a book, a signpost guiding us in various directions to our favorite far off places such as Hogwarts, Narnia, Wonderland and the 100-acre wood, and by the entrance, a creepy yet lovable panda sitting up high blowing bubbles into the breeze welcomed us inside. As we entered the shop we were greeted by a bright and cheerful array of toys, books and curious little fishes looking out from their aquarium home. The first-floor area houses new books for children, YA readers, and also a variety of board games, stuffed animals, and other small toys. The walls were lined with bookcases that stretched from the floor to ceiling, and there were plenty of kids streaming in and out of the store. Our real exploration didn’t really begin though until we headed up the stairs and past the colorful “under the sea” themed mural. Here on the second floor, we were beckoned by rooms and rooms filled with books (one even had a fireplace). Each room offered plenty of light, enticing “nooks and crannies” to read in and relaxing couches and cushy chairs just begging to be sat upon and lingered in. The shelves upon shelves of books held lightly used books, as well as some special editions, all priced for just a few bucks. There was even a room set apart that housed adult fiction, memoirs and other miscellaneous books . The organization is a bit topsy turvy (which I loved) but if you aren’t in a rush and are willing to look around there are no limits to the treasures you might discover.
After peeking around and each finding a few special books to purchase, we headed back downstairs and explored the pottery studio attached to the store. Nicole, Elizabeth and I definitely agree that we will have come back again and paint some cute statues.
The Treasures We Found (all lightly used unless noted):
Nicole– 2 Canadian edition paperbacks of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets of which one was the Magic edition. She also got a UK edition paperback of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Elizabeth– Rise of the Rebels (Star Wars Rebels Chapter Book #1) by Michael Kogge, The Phantom Menace (Episode 1 novelization) by Terry Brooks and Yellow Submarine by The Beatles and Christopher Gardner.
Myself– The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (new), Spotty (Curious George) by H.A. Rey and Margret Rey, and a lightly used 1st American edition hardcover of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
We probably could have purchased many more books, but we had an afternoon tea reservation at Fancy That! to get to and we also tried really hard to have some self-control. Since their stock changes often and gets updated regularly we intend to return many more times in the near future. If you want to check them out and pay them a visit please follow this link for more information: http://www.parkstreetbooks.com
2nd Stop: Afternoon Tea @ Fancy That Tea Salon
We booked our tea reservation weeks ago and we could hardly wait for the actual day to arrive.
Fancy That! is located on Main Street in Walpole on the border of the beautiful and scenic town of Medfield. Fancy That! is an afternoon tea salon hosted by the dynamic and adorable husband and wife team known as Brad and Sarah. The salon is beautifully decorated with gilded mirrors and pastel colors. It features antique furnishings, delicate teacups, fine tableware, glittering chandeliers and gorgeous linens. Soothing music can be heard playing, probably coming from a vintage victrola somewhere within the premises.
The shop consists of a large sunny main room with lace-curtained windows containing a retail area with various teacups, tea, and tea related items for sale, as well as some seating for tea service.
Off this central room, there are two smaller private tea rooms – The Pink Room & The Yellow Room (this is where we were seated). Towards the back of the main entry, there is also a large tea room along with another smaller retail area with various house made cake loafs and delectable treats. Everywhere you look there is something to catch your attention and admiration. If you love the bygone eras of Downtown Abbey, Titanic or Jane Austen…you will LOVE this place.
A cozy table perfectly dressed with the cutest mix matched tea cups, plates and silverware awaited us as we entered the Yellow room. A sparkling pink chandelier bathed us in its rosy glow as we looked over the extensive and whimsical tea menu that had names like “Enchanted Forest”, “Love Affair”, “Royal Wedding”, and “Dragon Jasmine Pearl”.
Once we placed out tea order (it was so HARD to choose) a pretty three tiered tea stand with charming mix matched chinaware filled with fanciful treats (ex: pistachio macaroon, scone with dried tart cherries, lemon poppyseed cake) and tempting sandwiches was delivered to our table by the charismatic “The Tea Guy” – Brad, who soon returned with three pink floral teapots each holding different brews of delicious tea concoctions. Both Sarah and Brad were delightful hosts and made sure we absolutely felt welcomed and taken cared off.
We mentioned to Sarah we were curious about their “pink” hot chocolate and if we could purchase a pot to share, and she graciously brought over a pot once we were close to finishing up for us to share. It was yummy, sweet coconutty and very pink.
Upon finishing up our sandwiches and sweets, we got to take a look around the shop to look at all the lovely things they had for purchase. Since we were the last ones still there, we were able to take a peek inside the other private rooms and got a chance to chat with Brad about how Fancy That! started. Brad’s wife Sarah is a huge collector of teacups and other such items, because her collection grew so large they eventually started a vintage china rental service (which they still offer) and are on their 14th year of business. The full afternoon tea service did not commence until about 4 years ago. We are glad that this marvelous place exists, and we hope to return again soon and often. It was a fantastic way to top off our day of book hunting and to spend some quality time with dear friends.
What did you think of our feature? Would you like to see more in the future? Have you ever been to afternoon tea? Do you have a favorite bookstore? Is there a special place you would like to recommend for us to visit?