Do you often crave a cup of joe while escaping into the literary world? These local bookstores offer much in the way of tasty menus, varying reads and entertaining events.
Breathe Bookstore and Cafe
810 W. 36th St.
Baltimore, Md. 21211
This Hampden-area bookstore encourages locals to take time to breathe while reflecting on the mind, body and spirit with a selection focusing on “conscious living and spiritual awareness.” Along with topics covering feng shui, nutrition, psychology, religion, yoga and relationships, you can peruse the store for music and gifts as well. A new onsite cafe opened in June, specializing in vegetarian, vegan, raw, gluten-free and Ayurvedic diets. Indulge in sweet baked goods, refreshing salads and savory soups. Authors often visit Breathe Books, which holds events such as weekly psychic readings, food discussions, past life explorations and a variety of workshops, including shop owner Susan Weis-Bohlen’s meditation group and consultation sessions focusing on the 5,000-year-old Indian practice of Ayurveda.
30 W. North Ave.
Baltimore, Md. 21201
Originally located on St. Paul Street in Mount Vernon, Red Emma’s returns this month in a new location next to Liam Flynn’s Ale House, promising additional space for more books and events. Important to the local community, it continues to promote fair trade and organic products, including the delicious vegetarian-vegan cafe menu with ingredients supplied by local vendors. Grab organic coffee, espresso or tea with your choice of bagels, paninis, soups, salads and muffins. Don’t forget to attend book discussions highlighting war and historical figures, feminism and the environment, as well as film screenings and author appearances.
4337 Harford Road
Baltimore, Md. 21214
This favorite spot in Lauraville boasts a cozy atmosphere and deck outside to sit, relax and meet with friends. Initially conceived as a children’s store, Red Canoe now offers books for all ages with friendly staff on hand to assist you. The cafe utilizes as much fresh, local, homemade and organic ingredients as possible, and is known for its popular sweet and savory muffins, from mango to spinach to bacon. Grilled sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads are also served, though you can stop by for Pizza Thursdays every week.
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Annapolis Bookstore & Cafe
35 Maryland Ave.
Annapolis, Md. 21401
Bedecked with books, globes, typewriters and trinkets from floor to ceiling, the Annapolis Bookstore invites you to come on in and indulge your curiosity. Due to the location by the Naval Academy and Annapolis harbor, it specializes in maritime topics and a selection for students of St. John’s College. However, the bookstore also offers a wide array of new, used and rare books including children’s books, as well as classic and popular titles. The cafe menu promotes seasonal specials, like Nonni’s pies, in addition to sandwiches from fresh, local ingredients and specialty drinks. Best of all, you can sip a pumpkin pie latte or peppermint hot cocoa all year long. Fun events include author signings, poet visits and film screenings.
Politics & Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Although a bit of a drive, this shop is absolutely perfect for a cup of coffee and a good read. Politics & Prose is the ideal place to meet with others to discuss literature and exchange ideas in our nation’s capital. Events are held for fiction and non-fiction readers alike, as well as for the younger crowd. Not only are in-store events free, attending a book group will earn you 20 percent off the featured book. Many classes are offered in topics such as writing, Shakespeare, French, Hemingway and Irish authors. The bookstore also organizes overseas trips, most recently to Paris, France and locations in Italy, so be sure to check back for upcoming trips. The Modern Times Coffeehouse within the shop offers hot, cold and specialty drinks, along with baked goods and selections served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The coffeehouse hosts community events, including Nerd Trivia and weekly open mic nights.
Pam Smith graduated from Penn State with a B.A. in English and a passion for writing. Her adaptive nature led her to work in the scientific, energy supply, and business industries while writing on a multitude of topics for various online media. Pam currently resides in Baltimore County. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.