Bookstore Review: Book Plate, Chestertown

Chestertown is one of those places I dream about escaping to on weekends (like this short getaway last summer).  Not least because, in addition to the water and historic, tree-lined streets, it features *two* independent bookshops.

Book Plate - New Yorker Shelves

The Book Plate is a very well-curated shop right in the main historic section of town.

Book Plate Interior

It has an inviting, warm decor: natural light, upholstered chairs that feel like they might have come from someone’s living room, a long oriental runner.  The front room features an eclectic collection of chapbooks and ephemera that totally sucked us in and had us laughing.

Book Plate - New Yorker

And the heart of the bookstore reflects its college-town surroundings.  There are several shelves dedicated to writers from the New Yorker, and an extensive feminist section that includes some impressive tomes.

Book Plate - By Women

(The one bone I’d pick is the signage here: “By Women, About Women” is fantastic.  But I question “For Women.”  It seems to me that the next important step in gender studies… and in literary equity as a whole, is to have books by and about women be FOR both women and men.)

As our spring continues to lag behind, I’ve been dreaming about whiling away a morning at Book Plate… and then a long afternoon eating crabcakes on a Chester River dock.  Soon, I hope…

Book Plate - Exterior



Chestertown, on the Eastern Shore, is one of my favorite places in Maryland.  We went for the first time last summer, and have decided to make it an annual trek.  This year we only had time for a short overnight, but the twenty-two hours we spent there were among the most relaxing and restorative of the summer.

Our historic B&B had gorgeous views of a small pond and local farmland.  We read / napped in a nearby hammock, and then settled into the Adirondack chairs just in time to watch a blue heron land by the pond.

The Harbor Shack in Rock Hall, where we had dinner, had a live classic rock band playing that night.

Jim, our B&B owner, informed us that the Harbor Shack is the local alternative to some of the more touristy restaurants nearby.  That certainly seemed to be the case: though the restaurant was packed, most of the people there were chatting and hopping tables and shaking hands, which gave the place a nice community vibe.  We closed out our night dancing with the crowd on a dock over the harbor.

While we were up there, we checked out Chestertown’s famous craft and farmer’s market (I’ll have to post about some of our purchases another time) and then stopped for some awesome bread before we left town.

I’m already looking forward to next summer.