Roseledge Books is a very small, very fine, bookstore, open from Memorial Day through Labor Day on Sea Street in Tenants Harbor. The (roughly) 750 paperback books are on shelves and a table on the front porch of Roseledge cottage.
#1 Roseledge from across the road, before the new deck, without the ROSELEDGE sign over the door, and before the flowers blossomed. (Or is white snow on the mountain with gray green leaves next to the road?)*
For twenty years, I’ve offered lawn chairs in the front yard as a fringe benefit for book buyers, et al., but last summer I added a discreet front deck. This is exciting because now, while the reader partner browses, the non-reader partner of a bookstore visiting duo can monitor the harbor from an upper, even better vantage point than the erratically hedged, down-sloping front yard. As one deck-sitter told his partner, “Take your time; I’ve got the best seat in the harbor.” Music to this bookseller’s ears.
#2 Tenants Harbor at high tide with mostly lobster boats in the harbor. This must be in June before the sailboats occupy half of the harbor visible from Roseledge. The closed end of the harbor to the “front line” of boats becomes glorious mudflats as the tide goes out. The garage that used to be across the road, right in front of the cottage was hauled away and put elsewhere by the best neighbors in the world.*
Some first-timers have thought Roseledge Books was hard to find. If you know where to look, you can see the red cottage from the harbor.
#3 Roseledge is the red cottage up the hill as seen from the harbor. Picture was taken by Charlie in a kayak. Sailors have suggested I get a flashing neon rose, raise a rose flag that says BOOKS, or insert not-green insert roof tiles that spell BOOKS so that readers can see a perfect place from the harbor. I love this shot.*
I have a wooden sign attached to a tree at the foot of Sea Street, three houses away down the hill. The trick is finding the tree once you’ve left your dinghy at the public landing. The sign has an aging, red wood tulip and says ROSELEDGE BOOKS, 2-6 pm, with an arrow. I changed the vinyl letters from black to white when an astute observer noted that the old wood of the sign turned as black as the letters when it was wet and were, therefore, unreadable in the rain when readers most often needed more to read. And I asked the chestnut tree owner if I could trim the branches when, one fertile summer, the new growth severely brushed the letters on the sign. Still, one person commented,
“You need to advertise more.”
I have the sign on the tree.”
“You make it hard for people to find what you want to sell.”
It’s the Maine way, I said.
I used to post a suitable post card on the side of the cooler at Hall’s Market. I even got a coveted eye-height site. But Hall’s Market was sold and procedures, floor plan, and now the name changed. I used to post a different, but equally suitable postcard at the post office, but I was declared a for-profit business and therefore no longer eligible to post my postcard at the post office. I pointed out the difference between being for-profit and making a profit, but to no avail. Okay, I need to post postcards in new places. And I may do so. But mostly Roseledge Books draws return customers and is otherwise a word-of-mouth experience.
*The pictures are from son Charlie, who might or might not pay attention to my useful suggestions but who always takes great pictures.