A Readers Road Trip & A Readers Retreat

I am very, very excited. Some of you might have seen mumblings of this on Twitter, or may have heard it on The Readers Podcast earlier today, but if you haven’t… I am going on a Readers Road Trip in September through Northern America with Thomas of Hogglestock, who is my cohost on the podcast! How ace is that?

Some of you may remember I went to Ann and Michael of Books on the Nightstand’s wonderful Booktopia in Asheville, where book lovers and authors meet and have a whale of a time (where does that expression come from?) over a few days, last year. Well this September sees the last ever Booktopia (for now) in Petoskey and after much planning, plotting and some magic Thomas and I are going to be there to take part in all the fun and have the most bookish few days of our lives. Only that wasn’t enough for Thomas and I, we needed to take it further and make it bigger. So we decided that we would turn it into something I have wanted to do all my life… A road trip through America.

I am thinking of it being like Thelma and Louise (which shockingly Thomas has not seen) but with less police chases and more bookshops.

I will be arriving in Washington DC and then instantly be whisked, or driven, away (after an eight hour flight) and heading up through West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Far Western New York to Niagra Falls, then going through Canada and possibly stopping in Toronto and Stratford Ontario before heading back down into the US to Lake Michigan and Petoskey, obviously staying for a few days there. Then we drive back via Ohio and Cleveland before returning to DC where I will have a few days to recover. So if you have any places, basically bookshops and lovely fooderies, in those places and Pittsburgh, Ann Arbour etc then please let me know where we should head to, I would be grateful for your recommendations. I cannot wait to see Thomas, Ann, Michael and some of the wonderful folk I met in Asheville as well as meeting some lovely new bookish sorts. It’s going to be ace.

If that isn’t enough excitement for one week I am also off on an exciting reading retreat this week as I will be heading off on the train back down to London tomorrow for an unusual Reading Retreat for one, in the Shangri La Hotel in The Shard. I know, bonkers.


This is because they are hosting a new and really interesting selection of Cultural Events and Salons in order to add something extra special to guests and London locals. This week sees author and poet Tishani Doshi talking about her books and her life, there might still be some tickets going so head here for more. I will be reporting back on the event, and the hotel, next week and letting you know more about their future line ups.

Blimey, that is quite enough excitement for me. Do let me know if you have any recommendations of bookshops, booky tourist hot spots or good places to eat for my trip around the Northern US  as you are always great with recommendations. Also, do let me know of any unusual and amazing reading places you have been and if you would like a series of reading retreats to start to feature on the blog more often such as this trip to the Shard or more like when I went to Sweden. I think it could be an interesting new range of potential posts. Anyway, over to you.


Filed under Random Savidgeness

18 responses to “A Readers Road Trip & A Readers Retreat

  1. So so so jealous! Enjoy your road trip.

  2. I have rarely been this jealous! Readers road trip and retreat?! What the heck am I doing with my life? I may need to inform my boyfriend that our hiking trip in northern Sweden and Norway this summer will contain a lot more reading time than he’s probably anticipating. Anyway, I’m looking forward to hearing more about your adventures.

  3. Elaine Showalter

    Dear Simon,

    When you are in DC, don’t miss Politics& Prose–the greatest independent bookstore in the US!

    best, Elaine Showalter

    • Elaine, When Simon was in DC last August P&P was one of the first places I took him. While we were there a staff member was being so unpleasant to a customer on the phone that it made for a somewhat unhappy excursion. I still love the place though, and I am sure we will make another visit while Simon is here.

  4. This sounds so wonderful. I grew up in Michigan and it won’t be cold enough to be miserable yet in September, which is great news for you and your driving trip. If you’re in Detroit, King Books is a must as is Slow’s BBQ. I went to college on the West side of the state in Kalamazoo, which is an adorable little city, as are all of the lakeside towns like Saugatuck and South Haven.

    You can always come visit sweet little Richmond, Virginia once you’re back in DC – we have plenty of food and bad history 😉

  5. Oh! This is something I’ve always wanted to do driving between Michigan and Richmond, but just never had the time: Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater house is not far off the path you’ll be taking if it’s something that interests you.

  6. Stephanie

    In Cleveland, you should try Melt, for amazing grilled cheese sandwiches! You can have one with pierogi on it (very Cleveland) or eggs and bacon, or chicken and waffles, among many other choices. I will meet you if you are here at dinner time. http://meltbarandgrilled.com/
    Stephanie (wowcsmom on Twitter)

  7. Ann

    I am from Michigan. You will love Petoskey. Beautiful tourist area. September is a good time to go you will miss the hoards of tourists but still have excellent weather.

  8. You’ll be in PITTSBURGH??! Would love to have a chance to see you. (Big fan of your blog, albeit a bit of a lurker when it comes to commenting.) If not, some bookish recommendations:

    We have more than a dozen independent bookstores here in the ‘Burgh. http://www.nextpittsburgh.com/features/11-independent-bookstores-in-pittsburgh-worth-browsing-often/

    My favorite is East End Book Exchange. Many fantastic, local author readings. And of course, our grand library, founded in 1895. Happy to give you and Thomas a tour, if you wish.

    Happy to help with any details of your Pittsburgh visit. I’ll be looking forward to hearing more!

  9. Karen

    How incredibly exciting! I’m so jealous! I live in NY, but near NYC, so I don’t have any recommendations for you. I haven’t been to the Niagra Falls area in a long time, but I’m sure there are some very lovely places up there. I think it would be great if you posted a series of literary retreats on your blog. I’d really enjoy reading about them. Have a great time in your trip. September is a perfect time of year for the areas you’ll be visiting!

  10. I hope you visit me in Toronto.

    We will visit my local – http://www.typebooks.ca/
    Word on the street is Sept. 27th – http://www.thewordonthestreet.ca/wots/toronto

    Many thoughts more thoughts on food.

  11. Mary Arth

    If you are going through Lafayette, Indiana you have a place to stay at our house. We are 60 miles north of Indianapolis. We have an extra bedroom and couch! See you in Petosky!

  12. Leslie

    When traveling through Western New York you should stop by The Anchor Bar in Buffalo to enjoy some chicken wings. Not just any wings but the ORIGINAL chicken wings.

  13. Pingback: Reading Retreats #3: The Shagri-La Shard, London | Savidge Reads

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