If you've been to Ithaca, NY, you know all about The Commons.
This is the strip that doesn't allow traffic but does allow quaint, unique, and obscure little shops and restaurants, in addition to your occasional street musician. Currently under construction, The Commons had something special for everyone in our family. We loved the vegan waffle bar (Jonah could have everything, including ice cream), the glass blowers with big windows to the street where we could watch the action, the hemp clothing shop, the pizza place, and especially the used book shop.
Autumn Leaves Used Bookstore was our place. We visited it time and time again during our stay near the city. We hung out on the beat up old couches and read book after book from the children's section. We sipped local cider and root beer in the coffee shop and played endless chess games on the battered tables.
The gentlemen working in the shop were kind and interesting. They checked out the Wizard's Chess set Jonah purchased used from their window and commented on the cool pieces. They answered our questions. They remembered us from last time and were happy to see us again.
Also located in the bookshop is the local Occupy center and Anti-fracking board. In a "third floor" space above the coffee shop you could peruse indy literature, 'zines, and pamphlets with information about unionization, democratic choice, communal living, the environment, etc. Most of the literature there was free.
On the night we visited the pizza place, Kayleigh came from Rochester to pay us a visit. We played a little chess and ate a lot of food.
If we settle down in Ithaca, NY, I will be a regular customer at Autumn Leaves. So many used books in one place is dangerous. Not to mention the coffee and cider and activist literature and... well... I'm honestly surprised we ever went back to the bus after finding our space in The Commons.