Reading and eating good food are two of my favorite past-times. Combine them and I’m in heaven. I’m not talking about nibbling on chocolate as I read (my guiltiest of guilty pleasures!) but of visiting a wonderful bookstore that has a really good café or restaurant—or vice-versa.
|Browse books between courses at Berkelouw Book Barn|
Recently I had the pleasure of visiting two Australian venues that combined food and books in a most appealing way. First was the Berkelouw Book Barn at Berrima, in the Southern Highlands of NSW.
Second was the Whileaway Bookshop & Café in the tropical far-north Queensland resort town of Port Douglas. (Last year I also visited some wonderful bookstore/cafes in California but, unfortunately, didn’t take down the names or take photos.)
|Snack and choose books at Whileaway Bookshop & Cafe|
I’m the first to put my hand up for the pleasure of e-book reading. The convenience and portability has me hooked. I love seeing a novel that interests me in an on-line book store, and reading it on my iPad or Kindle just a few minutes later. I like being able to transport lots of books on one device, too.
|Lunch every bit as pleasurable as the books (Berkelouw Book Barn)|
But there’s something about paper-and-ink books—I’m resisting the terms “real” or “old-fashioned”—that still has me hooked. I still love the experience of visiting a bricks-and-mortar bookstore and browsing the shelves. To be able to savor both that experience and a delicious lunch, is very appealing.
|An old-fashioned book press|
The Berkelouw Book Barn in the grounds of the Bendooley Estate is renowned for its fine offerings of new, secondhand and antiquarian books. But my last two visits there were prompted by lunch at the new Bendooley Bar and Grill. The barn is a huge, open space with cathedral ceilings, exposed timber beams and stone fireplaces.
|So simple, so delicious at the cafe at Berkelouw|
The restaurant offers first-rate contemporary cuisine, stylishly presented. What fun to order lunch and browse the books between courses. Both times I’ve visited, I’ve gone away with a stack of new books and memories of an excellent meal.
|Lots of popular fiction at Whileaway|
I came across the delightful Whileaway Bookstore & Café on a short vacation—recommended for good coffee and food. Both cafe and bookstore were convivial, well-stocked, and with friendly service. Again I really enjoyed the experience of being able to browse books and enjoy good food.
If this is a way to keep independent bookstores flourishing, I’m all for it! What about you? What do you think of bookstore/cafes? Have you any recommendations? Do you worry you’ll spill coffee all over your new book? Do you prefer e-books to print books? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!
Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction.
Her new contemporary womens fiction e-book, Reinventing Rose, is available now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords, and other e-book retailers.
Kandy’s romances include the Amazon bestseller The Castaway Bride, Something About Joe, and the award-winners Love is a Four-Legged Word and Home Is Where the Bark Is.
Visit Kandy at her website