Book lovers in Mercer County Itinerary

Last updated: July 15, 2024

For book lovers visiting Mercer County, this itinerary promises a delightful journey through literary treasures and charming bookish havens.

Insta-worthy: With more than dozen murals along the Mercer Street Grassroots District, one stands out in particular. In the parking lot of the Princeton Public Library, you will see a mural celebrating bestselling works of fiction. Take an Instagram-worthy photo next to your favorite book!

Bookstore: The Hatter’s Bookshop, the only bookstore in Mercer County, is a mecca of used books of every genre. Find a good book and settle in the reading area for a quiet afternoon. There is nothing like the smell of new and used books! Keep your eyes open for tiny free libraries sprinkled throughout Mercer County. You can find one in Bluefield City Park.

Libraries: The Princeton Public Library, which is the former Princeton Post Office, features cozy reading chairs, a large children’s room and a pet turtle. M. Shelley, the official library pet, is a red-footed tortoise, native to the Amazon rainforest. She isn’t much of a reader, but according to the library’s website she enjoys bananas and naps. She is named after Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. Craft Memorial Library, in Bluefield, boosts the Eastern Regional Coal Archives, which is perfect for research.

Food and drink: Coffee shops and books are the perfect part of trips. Take your book to one of our local coffee shops. The Blue Spoon Cafe, right down from the Granada Theater, has a wide variety of iced coffee, as well as breakfast and lunch menu. If you catch Sister’s Coffee House, you will find a cozy couch, scatterings of magazines and books, memorabilia on the wall, as well as a well-loved coffee and lunch menu.

Bookish sites: Head over to Bowen Field in Bluefield to see the site of the true story behind the baseball movie Bull Durham. The Church of Baseball by Ron Shelton writes about those firsts years of baseball in Bluefield.

For poetry, drive to Bramwell, where the words of Anne Spencer centers on religion, race and the natural world. The poet lived in Bramwell as a child and returned to Bramwell to teach grade school for three years. A bridge in Bramwell is named after the famous poet, who was also a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance.

Southern West Virginia is no stranger to book lovers. The area has been the story behind many well-known books and movies such as October Sky by Homer Hickman, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and many more.

Feature photo by Britini Purdy.