I recently spent a magical day at Barnhill’s Bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a book-signing. I didn’t sign many books, but I nevertheless had a fabulous time, finally getting to meet Second Wind writers Lazarus Barnhill, Claire Collins (Tracy Beltran), and Suzette Vaughn. In the process of hanging out, I got to know Barnhill’s pretty well.
First of all, it’s in a prime location. The president of SIBA, Kelly Justice of Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, summed it up well when she said, “Winston-Salem needed an Indie Bookstore.”
Inside Barnhills, polished hardwood floors match a centrally-located, hand-crafted check-out island. The cashier’s stand also matches the bookshelves, since it’s made from a blend of two types of wood.
The two huge storefront windows let in excellent light, and the throughway (you can enter through the back or the front) creates a friendly, open mood. The walls are covered with art and murals from local artists, and Tracy’s warm greeting is a given.
Unique gifts delight at every turn: In one cubby you’ll find an eclectic collection of letter openers. In another, homemade pickles. There is something for everyone, from jewelry, to ornaments, to children’s toys, to hand-sewn wine bottle gift bags, to gourmet tea, to fudge, to … well, I won’t give it all away. You need to visit Barnhill’s yourself … or, if you live too far away, you might have to settle for visiting online.
More about the wine bottle gift bags: They have an excellent purpose for being there. Barnhill’s also offers a wide variety of wines from the North Carolinian vineyards. The day that I was there, Ken, from Round Peak Winery, led a wine tasting, and I bought a red zinfandel and a sangiovese. I’d have bought more if I hadn’t been driving down to Atlanta the next day, before heading home to Richmond. I wasn’t sure that the wine would appreciate being jostled so much … but I’ll be back for more in June.
And, of course, Barnhill’s is a bookstore and has books of all kinds. If you don’t see one that you want it can be ordered. When I was there, Carri Davis, the massage therapist who was giving chair massages (proceeds to benefit the Shephard’s Center), found an amazing book by artist Mark Ryden.
And that’s really one of the coolest things about Barnhill’s. Being there is like being on a treasure hunt. You never know what you’ll find.
May you be around for many years to come, Barnhill’s!
Author of Love Trumps Logic, available at Barnhills’s