Spotlight on Bookstores: The Traveler Restaurant in Union, Connecticut


No, you didn’t read that wrong … this is a Spotlight on Bookstores post about a restaurant.  But it’s not just any restaurant …

For years, when J and I made the trip between our home near Boston and his family in New Jersey, we passed a huge sign on Route 84 in Connecticut, near the Massachusetts border.  The sign reads “FOOD … BOOKS” two of the essential elements to life, in my judgment!

And for years, we never stopped.  We saved our meal breaks for Rein’s Deli in Vernon (highly recommended for the food; alas, they have no books!).  And so it went, year after year (18 since we started dating!), driving Route 84 past that enticing sign.traveler exterior

That changed this summer, due to strategic planning on my part.  We were driving back from visiting a friend in Connecticut; this is only about a 2 1/2 hour drive, but I had timed it so that the kids’ “belly alarms” would be going off – they’re vocal when they’re hungry.  And they knew there were books in it for them.  And, the final piece of the puzzle … I was in complete control behind the wheel, so J couldn’t drive past saying, “we’ll just eat when we get home.”

Yay, I won!

So, we pulled into the parking lot next to this nondescript building (and that wonderful sign!  I swear, it was glowing in the midday sun!)

traveler childrensWe stepped inside and were greeted by a bookcase.  No, not a walking/talking bookcase, but this stack labeled “children’s books.”  After we dragged the younger kids away from their quest of scanning the titles and pictures, we were shown to a table for six.

The menu is what you might expect – lots of fried food, club sandwiches, and deli food.  After being assured it was freshly made that morning, I enjoyed a yummy (non #gameondiet) tuna melt with fries.  J had his usual turkey club and gave it a thumbs up.traveler sign

So, what makes this a bookstore?  What makes this worth a stop instead of letting that sign pass by in a blur once again?  The books!

With every meal, we were allowed to choose THREE books from the stacks on the first floor.  J and I passed (have you seen my TBR?!?), but the kids loved browsing the shelves and selecting their books.




traveler downstairsThe basement level is a full-fledged second-hand bookstore, with books for sale.  The titles were less-than-fresh on the day we visited, but I understand that the inventory is constantly changing.

Is The Traveler Restaurant worth a look?  Well, it won’t become a regular stop on in our travels, but I’m glad I finally go to see what it was all about.  If, like me, you’ve passed by it too many times to count … do take the exit on your next trip, and satisfy your curiosity.

traveler in booktraveler wall

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