HEBRON – Abraham Lincoln has his own bookshelf.
Tucked away in shelves, stacked on the floor.
Every nook and cranny of the 18th century barn on Wilson Homestead’s 40 acres is stuffed with books.
About 25,000 of them in fact.
This barn begs to be explored, especially because its owner, Sally Brillon, doesn’t dither on the online market.
“I’m not the least bit interested in selling online. I think people still love looking at books,” Brillon said. “How can you order a book you don’t know exists?” That’s what a bookstore is for.
Brillon, who owned Towpath Antiques in Fort Ann, moved the books and antiques to his barn in Hebron in 2010. The barn bookstore is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. mothers in October and by appointment at other times of the year.
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The bookstore was recently named “New York’s Coolest Bookstore”, by the website Thrillist.com. The site features the best places to travel, drink and eat across the country.
The November Thrillist article calls the barn “the kind of place where the hours could easily disappear.”
“I had never heard of Thrillist,” Brillon said. “I didn’t know what it was. It was nice of him to do that.
The Wilson Homestead at 1117 Chamberlin Mills Road in Hebron is named after the Wilson family who had lived there since 1772. The Wilsons fought in the Battle of Saratoga.
Brillon and her husband, Joe, purchased the property in 1990, meticulously restored all of the buildings, and moved in after their retirement in 1998.
The shop mainly sells non-fiction and the subjects of the books are extensive.
The organization of the books is methodical and not as haphazard as it seems. There are separate sections for each genre.
“If you could tell me a little bit what you’re interested in, I can tell you how many places I have these books,” Brillon said.
Topics include Architecture, Cookbooks, American History, All Wars, Presidents, Diaries, Letters, Journals, Regional America, Adirondacks, Warren County, and others Hudson, Vermont, Washington County and Vermont and Washington County books.
“Regional America, which I love. I love all parts of the United States,” she said. “I collect things from all states. I like to travel.”
There are books on vegan and gluten-free cooking. The large number of cookbooks are also organized by subject.
“I’m not so into diet cookbooks,” she said, noting that she loves to cook and eat.
There are sections on Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and other New England states and travel guides.
There are books on Brittany, the Welsh in Granville, small books, rare books and books on writing. Other topics include Benedict Arnold, Asia, gardening, more cookbooks, hunting, decoys, nautical books on boats and ships, woodworking, automobiles, and historic weapons.
There are Native American books and Native American children’s books. There are books on education, biographies, dogs, cats and Scandinavia. There are sections for world travel, world history, more cookbooks, America, Canada, women, black history, France, Italy, birds, biking, camping, canoeing, trails, dance, film, theater, art, religion, anthropology, natural history and health.
She finds books everywhere she goes, she says.
“If I leave here, I’ll probably come home with at least one book,” she says, “because I know where the books are. I know where to stop and check, and that’s what I do. That’s what I like to do.
There are books about Fort Ticonderoga, antique furniture, trees, animals, and the Amish. Brillon is building a collection on climate change.
There is a small fiction section, organized alphabetically. There is also a poetry section.
“I wanted my bookstore to be a non-fiction bookstore, but you can’t have a bookstore and not have the classics,” she said.
Next to the barn is an old chicken coop dedicated to books on sustainable farming, chickens, farming history, composting, cheese, farming, decorating a farmhouse and, of course, other cookbooks.
“It’s like a catalog of cards,” Brillon said. “You come here and if you’re interested in the subject, you scan the books and you’re bound to find books that you don’t have.”
Besides books, the shop also sells other items like records, photographs, a 1930s fridge, baskets, maps, linens, a $20 ice saw, and even a pair of cotton pants. black leather. The chicken coop has latches for the historic doors and strap hinges for the barns.
Brillon does not have a favorite book. She can’t name the rarest or oldest book in her shop.
“When you’re bombarded with books every week, tons of books,” she said, “that’s just not the way I think about books.”
Gretta Hochsprung writes features and news from her hometown. She can be reached at 518-742-3206 or [email protected]