Saturday, February 16, 2013

Aggie's Restaurant, Essex Books, & Gather in Ivoryton

Hooray! My missing notebook, misplaced at Leeza Gibbons' table, was found (!!!) by none other than Sue McCann, owner of Essex Books, and co-founder of the Big Book Club Getaway event at the Mohegan Sun.

Sue graciously offered to snail-mail it to me, but the Cowboy and I were in serious need of a road trip, so we decided to take the short trip to scenic Ivoryton CT to retrieve it. We thought we'd stop and have a little breakfast, and then meander around her little shop Essex Books and the store Gather which houses her little book nook.
Ivortyton is a little borough that is part of the town of Essex.  At one time this tiny village was known for piano manufacturing, hence the name "Ivoryton" based on the "ivory" keys used in making of pianos. Most Connecticut-ians are familiar with this charming little area because of the popularity of the Essex Steam Train and the Ivoryton Playhouse.

We headed out early so we could have breakfast and found a great little cafe called Aggie's Restaurant right across from the Ivoryton Playhouse. This is one of those cute places that is always popular with the locals! I wondered why her sign had an elephant with tusks as a logo! Now I know! Elephant = tusks = ivory = piano keys!
Was it good? - Oh yes, see how the cowboy eventually wiped his plate clean!
The nice folks at Aggie's then gave us directions to Essex Books at Gather. Literally steps away, so we left our car at the Ivoryton Playhouse and walked over.


As soon as I peeked in the door I looked at the cowboy and said...

              oh, you're in trouble honey - I'm going to have fun in this place! 

It's a virtual treasure trove of items, from antiques to jewelry to furniture to clothes and BOOKS!  Best of all, we were happily greeted at the door by two of the cutest little pups!  They were the wriggling, happy, tail-wagging kind, that wouldn't sit still and pose for pictures! Just look at the cowboy ambling away with that cute little yellow lab!

I know what you're thinking, and I agree. Two cute little book ends!
Gather is pet friendly for friendly pets!
And there tucked in the corner in the cutest little nook, was Sue and Essex Books!

This great little book nook is the kind of place I could get lost in for hours.  Packed in a cozy corner of the store are books, books, and more books!  For the little ones there is a cute little gingham covered table just waiting for a fun game of checkers and some colored markers and paper for letting your imagination run wild! The Cowboy was THRILLED that he found a great little book on golf and I was pleased to see the beautiful display of Leeza Gibbons' book, Take 2
There's a little sign as you cross Sue's threshold that says "enter as strangers - leave as friends".  That is oh so very true.  As we chatted for a few minutes I felt right at home and learned all about her love for books (a background in education) and why she relocated to Gather (a flooding problem at the original location in Essex).

Her story of purchasing Essex Books four years ago is a real heart-warmer!  It was a place that she frequented for years with her mom...and one day, while visiting with her own daughter, she saw it was for sale!  Well, her daughter didn't skip a beat, and said, mom, you've just got to buy this place!  

And the rest, my friends, is history!  Out of the mouths of babes and into the book business! Right time, right place! They are certainly "a small independent bookstore with a big-hearted approach." You simply must make it a point to stop by and visit!

Gather, the host home of Essex Books, is another gem! Deanna Pinette, owner of Gather, is wonderful, warm, and witty! And best of all, her store is just like her!

There are all sorts of wonderful treasures! A french country dining set, arched full size mirror, baubles and bangles, Marilyn-esque dress!
Antique sconces, desk clocks, furniture & clothes, and a silver coffee urn are just some of the items available.
We also learned the history of the location of Gather! It was once the village of Ivoryton's general store, Rose's General Store.
Deanna later found that the home where she lives, was the former home of the Rose's family back in the 1880s!

Serendipity?  - There are no coincidences!

We had such a wonderful time visiting Ivoryton and I'm so glad I have my notebook back!  We'll definitely return to all these places when the warm weather returns and we can walk around and visit a little bit more!

And did I return empty-handed with just my notebook?  OF COURSE NOT!  I discovered a beautiful vintage double-breasted cashmere Escada by Margaretha Ley never-worn-tags-still-on blazer for a mere $50.00!

I figure this beauty retailed originally for at least $600.00.  Ka-Ching!

You bet I'll be back!

A visit to Ivoryton Connecticut is definitely worth the trip!  Stop at some of the places we did - or find some more and tell us all about them!

Here's the addresses and numbers of the great places we visited today!

Aggie's Village Restaurant, 107 Main Street, Ivoryton, Connecticut (860) 581-4555
you can "like" them on facebook by clicking on their name

Essex Books at Gather, 104 Main Street, Ivoryton, Connecticut (914) 310-5824
you can "like" them on facebook by clicking on their name

Gather of Ivoryton, 104 Main Street, Ivoryton, Connecticut (860) 767-7816
you can "like" them on facebook by clicking on their name

For additional pictures of our visit click HERE and "like/fan" the Home Place facebook page


Have you ever been to Ivoryton?

Do you have any favorite shops you visit?

I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!


  1. OMG! Escada for $50.00? I'm coming with you!

    1. Can't wait to wear it! Definitely take the trip there! It's a beautiful region in Connecticut.

  2. Oh Bonnie, I love bookstores! And this sounds like fabulous place. Maybe I will retire in Connecticut!

    1. Pat, it's more than a book store, it's a book loving paradise.
      You simply must visit this part of the country on your next visit stateside.

      We'll shop, eat, and catch some great basketball games!

  3. Thank you so much for your kind words, Bonnie! I'm so glad that you retrieved "The Lost Notebook," left at the premiere of The Big Book Club Getaway!

    Best wishes, and happy reading!

    Sue McCann
    Essex Books
    The Big Book Club Getaway

    1. You are welcome! Love your store and looking forward to the 2013 Book Club Getaway.

  4. Sounds like you guys had a great time. PS, that breakfast looks amazing :-)

    1. Kyle, he dug in so quickly, I couldn't take a picture soon enough. Sausage patties were great and he wiped the plate clean!

  5. Love the fact Gather's is pet friendly.
    Came across this looking for stuff in Essex UK but interesting all the same

    new build homes essex

    1. thanks for stopping by! Yes, a very interesting place! Hope one day we get a chance to visit Essex across the ocean!

  6. Hi Bonnie,

    My husband and I discovered Gather a couple of weeks ago while out for a drive. I practically ripped his arm off (pull OVER!) when I saw this fabulous shop! We live in Haddam so Gather is super close and Ivoryton is such a great place to visit :)

    1. It is a great place to visit! Hope you picked up something fun when you were there. I can't wait to go back myself!


Real Time Web Analytics