Thursday, March 13, 2014

MacDonald's Bookstore, A Gem of a Store in Estes Park

Did you ever see the movie where a big box bookseller took over a small children’s bookstore? Though the movie came out years ago and independent bookstores seemed doomed forevermore, there is a charming, family-owned bookshop still thriving in Estes Park, Colorado.

In fact, no visit to Estes Park, which is the town adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, should be considered complete without a stop in MacDonald’s Bookstore. Though small in size, this shop manages to pack in the latest bestsellers, magazines and an exclusive selection of Rocky Mountain regional books.

But before you even enter the bookshop, take a good look at its exterior. The store is housed in an original log cabin built in 1907 by the forest service, which was then purchased a year later by Ed MacDonald, the current store owner’s grandfather. Ed originally opened a general store with a small corner devoted to books. But when Ed retired in 1928, his wife decided to change the parlor of their home into a bookstore. Over the years the bookstore expanded to take over more of the original home.

This shop has survived more than one major Estes Park flood in its long history. In particular, in 1982, the Lawn Lake flood devastated the structure. But by then this bookstore had become so beloved that over eighty volunteers helped to repair the building.


Once you enter the store, expect to be greeted with exceptional service. Paula Steige, the current family member owning the store, and her staff are invariably friendly and very knowledgeable in helping you choose a book of your choice. The store has a wonderful collection of books concerning all western themes. The owner likes to support local authors and topics of regional interest, but if all you’re interested in is picking up the latest bestsellers, the store keeps them regularly stocked. It is one of the amazing things about this store, that a structure so small can be so wonderfully stocked with such a wide variety of reading materials.
 

On a personal note, my son Charlie always loathed having to do summer reading assignments and would pick his books based on how short they were. His famous line in our family was “I’d read an American Girl book if it was only a hundred pages long!” Yes, even my son Charlie frequents this bookstore. By the way, Charlie is now at the University of Colorado…he must have learned something from his 100 page novels!

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