Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pastries & Pilgrims

Since Monday, we have been staying in a small apartment in the midst of downtown Plymouth, MA. It's quite a quaint, pretty little New England town, and we were all thrilled when we arrived at the location of our week long stay.

The first day was enjoyable, though rather drizzly and wet, with overcast iron gray skies. In the morning we went out running about the park and beach, (I need not bore you with the details of that delightful huffing experience) and spent the rest of the day reading and lazing, at least in my case, others actually worked. Later that evening we went out again because everyone was filled with a severe case of cabin-fever. Thus, walking a few blocks down the road, we found ourselves in my favorite kind of town scenery.

Downtown Plymouth is very pretty. There are stores and bakeries and shops on either side of the brick walkways that bring cheery delight to the onlooker. We perused and window-shopped our way down the sidewalk until we came to a health food store. We being who we are (and Camille being who she is) we made an immediate detour into the comfy interior of the store. While Camille, Alex, and Berklee oohed and aahed over the old-fashioned ginger beer and carab chip bars, I went through the stand of hand-made soaps and smelled the delicious fragrances that wafted up from them. The lavender one especially caught my eye.

I love lavender.

I adore lavender. The smell brings such peace and stillness; it's just lovely.

Alright, back to my story....

For a few days proceeding this walk, I had been in a delicious need for a beautiful used bookstore. Benjamin, my supremely kindred-hearted brother shared my desire. Thus, while the others were taking their time in the health food store, we decided to go on ahead and scout out a bookstore. Surely downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts would have something to curb our literary appetite?

It did. Farther down the brick sidewalk we came upon it. The shelves of dusty old hardback editions filled our hearts with warm happiness. We perused quietly for many minutes before we heard the door open, and the rest of the troop came in.
To cut a long story short, I came out with a beautiful little hard-backed edition of one of my favorite children's books (complete with full-color illustrations. Lucky me!). Alex came out beaming, with a five volume set of John Ruskin's Modern Painters in his arms, which he got for a steal. Benjamin, thanks to my watchful eye, came out with a small, hard-backed edition of a collection of short, out-of-print essays by G.K. Chesterton. Aren't I a good sister?

The joys of our purchases lasted for a few days. But no joys, however blissful, can stand against three long, consecutive days of iron gray clouds, rain, and a small house with nine people squashed into it. And so, yesterday we found ourselves walking listlessly about the house, yearning for a day of sunshine, an escape, an adventure.... ANYTHING to break up the monotonous boredom of cabin-fever mixed with persistent rain.

So after dinner that evening, we all decided to go to a lovely little local bakery, Blue Blinds Bakery, to enjoy some scrumptious treats and live music. Mama, Daddy, and I were the first to leave. We took a stroll down to the ocean to see Plymouth Rock, then wound our way back up to the main street and to the bakery. Taking our coffees and giant cranberry biscotti to a corner table, we experienced the happy comfort of quiet familial conversation. I love my Mama and Daddy.

Soon the rest arrived, and I got to make the rounds of ordered sweets and pick off of everyone else's. Oh the joys of family! The cinnamon rolls were, hands down, the best. There are few things in this beautiful world so scrumptious as an excellent, hot cinnamon roll. Loverly!

We enjoyed a wonderful evening of fellowship with all the kind, generous folks at the bakery. It was a pleasure that I was not expecting, but very thankful for. God is very, very good. We went home that night with our former boredom and cabin fever gone, good memories to take with us, and a giant bag of bakery yummies in our arms.



Briana Mahoney said...

Dear Gretchen, I share in your bookstore glee. I shall apologize ahead of time for the length of my comment, but you have hit upon one of my favorite topics and I have had a bookstore trip that has me bursting with joy. I had an excuse to go to the Winter Haven Library Used Bookstore this past week. I usually don’t feel I can enter that place unless I have a bunch of money saved up, for fear of seeing a treasure that I can’t possibly leave behind. Since there is a large population of the wealthy elderly in W.H., it is a goldmine for good, old, beautiful, books (my favorite!). This time I was only going to peek very quickly around, and then only glance at the special, special, (expensive) books in the cases. Well, in just a few minutes I had a whole armload of hardback tomes. I got a pretty copy of Quo Vadis, an antique Beethoven biography, two hardback children’s history books (I remember Mom spending a pretty penny for them in paperback at a Home School Convention) for a dollar each, The Prisoner of Zenda (I have loved that story ever since I was little) with the sequel Rupert of Hentzau which I have never read, and an ornate book that I had never heard of, called The Castle Comedy by Thompson Buchanan. The latter looked like a tolerable story, and a romantic comedy with different pictures adorning the edges of each page, and a beautiful cover, was certainly worth the chance. I threw it on the stack. When I couldn’t hold any more it was a signal to “get out quick”! But lo, at the cash register is were they have all the best books in the cases, I looked down and beheld a copy of Lorna Doone that was enough to take my breath away. Gold designs, an embossed crest, and sumptuous lettering covered the front. In a tone of reverence I asked if I might see it. Oh, the pages were thick and glossy with heavy gilt edges but they turned with supreme ease, though an old book all the pages stood fast in their places. I sighed, I would need to read a library copy of Lorna Doone and decide if I liked the story first, then maybe by that time I could afford it also. My feet felt lighter even though I was loaded down with my spoils. I escaped the bookstore for a fee of under $25.00 for which I was grateful. When I came home, Mom and the girls could tell I had “got something good” by the monstrous grin on my face. Mom said, she would read the “Castle Comedy”, Christy took “Rupert of Hentzau”, and Katie snatched “Quo Vadis”. My piano student came the next day, and it so happened that a biography of Beethoven was just what he required. As I am still reading “Bleak House” I was happy to see that I had such a busy lending library. However, I straitly charged my family that they should not utter a word about what they were reading and spoil my surprise for when I finally get around to reading the books. Mom started The Castle Comedy that afternoon, (a rare thing for her, but she had expended her bodily energy with the full measure of devotion to our garden and needed some re-cooping time since she could hardly walk) as she was reading it …….. she laughed…………., then she said the book was “doofy” and she might not finish it. A few minutes later she said, “I’ve got to finish this tonight”….. and she did. Now she wants me to hurry up and read it so we can talk about it. We have decided to read it as a family on our drive to and from the Orlando conference this coming Monday and Tuesday. That way we can ALL talk about it.
I would recommend a visit the Winter Haven Library when you are in the town in February. It may be considered a rather small bookstore, but may prove to be worth your while; and…. if I have not bought “my” copy of Lorna Doone by then, I shall not be hurt if it becomes “your” Lorna Doone.
Thanks so much for your stories. We always have great fun reading about your larks.

Katelyn Mahoney said...

Dear Gretchen,
Thanks for the interesting post. I would have especially enjoyed the book shop. I would be interested to know the name of the favorite childhood story you found. Maybe during those three dreary days the great finds were already in use, but that would have been a great time to read them. Rainy days are one of my favorite times to read. I like to imagine that I am in England as I grab a hot cup of tea in a fine tea cup, and sit by a window with a view, and open a good book. I read a while, and then watch the rain as I ponder what I have just read.

Your picture of the fire in the fireplace increases my anticipation that cool weather is coming, and of the cozy evenings that we have around the fireplace. : ) I like the pictures that you pick for your posts!

Jessica Hall said...

Oh, that sounds so wonderful! :D I'm glad you could do all that! :D

Love ya,

Taylor said...

What a lovely trip that must have been! I've only been up North three times, once at Baltimore and twice at Niagara Falls, though I don't know if those places are considered as New England or not.
The scenery sounds like it was so beautiful, I would love to see a place like that.
Haha, I know what you mean by the burning need for a used bookstore, I had that desire not too long ago, and I and my sisters found a lot of treasures when we were able to go.
Oh, little bakeries with hot cinnamon rolls and time alone with parents. Don't you love it? Simply splendid.
I'm glad to hear that you had such a good time!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Hailey Renée said...

Gretchen, Gretchen, I am almost through with O Pioneers, and I just read the most tragic part! Oh, poor Amedee and Emil and Maria! Sorry, I had to vent my feelings about the book to someone who knew what happened. It's still good, I guess, but it's so awfully tragic!

Hailey Renée said...

Now I have finished O Pioneers!. Thank you for recommending it. I really enjoyed it. I might read Song of the Lark soon so I shall have finished all of the prairie trilogy. Now Taylor wants me to start Les Miserables, so I will be busy for a while!


Jessica Hall said...

Hi Gretchen! =P

Jessie said...

Your trip sounds so wonderful! My family and I recently went to a bookstore and had a lovely time browsing among shelves and shelves of books. I love your blog; I'm a follower!

I'd love it if you'd visit mine sometime :)

In Christ,

Briana Mahoney said...


Ode to a silent blog,
The strains of which I oft would hear,
Come singing through the fog
And bring my heart good cheer.

But silent now is Gretchie-Pooh,
No stories or poems for her friends forlorn
Who know not what to do,
But shake their heads and sigh and mourn.

Still they hope and pray,
She will write and post again someday.
And whether morning, night, or noon,
They hope it will be soon!

Gretchen Emily Wolaver said...

Okay! Okay! Ya'll have got me and made me feel very sorry. =D

Briana, I love your poem! =D Hahaha!!!

Hello, Jessica!

Jessie, thanks so much for posting! I'm going to follow your blog... thanks for following mine! :)

Anonymous said...


PLEASE post soon! I check your blog almost every day... PLEASE!!! I may not be an official follower, but I am one of your most loyal readers... but I have had nothing to read for MONTHS!!!

You're a pretty good writer, I might add!

Emily from FASA