Destination: R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison
Posted on March 3, 2016
Article & Photos By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com
A mystique has developed around R.J. Julia Booksellers. In an era when small, independent bookstores are being swallowed up or put out of business by large chains, this shoreline gem has not only survived but thrives.
Located in the downtown of quaint-ish Madison, Connecticut, R.J. Julia Booksellers is a ten minute drive from Hammonasset Beach State Park and about an hour north of New York City. It is a popular spot for author lectures and book-signings having drawn notables such as … Caroline Kennedy, Garrison Geillor, Nora Ephron, Barbara Walters, Julie Andrews, Bobby Flay, Amy Bloom, Tom Brokaw, local television news anchor Ann Nyberg
… and the list goes on.
Madison is a community of 18,000, a two-mile jogging distance to Long Island Sound, and a magnet for year round beach tourists. While its locale may well have helped fuel the success of R.J. Julia as a stop not to be missed when visiting the area, accolades must go to store owner Roxanne Coady. In 2015 Coady celebrated 25 years in business having established her place as one where desired, quality books can be found, as a must for major author tours and for having racked up awards for her bookstore. Coady founded the non-profit “Read to Grow” in 1998, aimed at language building and literacy from an early age. She also coauthored,”Books that Changed My Life”.
True to R.J. Julia’s promise of a welcoming ambiance, enter the main front entrance to a booklover’s fantasy. Nooks and crannies are filled with shelves of books, books and more books. Posted by some are hand-written reviews from staff. On the left, a Victorian-style stairwell leads to the children’s section – take note of a nearby, lovely framed print of Madison Train Station back in the day. In the center of the floor are tabletops of additional books. To continue the book tour, follow the “watch your step” sign down into the adjacent room where a speaker’s podium remains set-up and photos of past guests grace the walls.
In the rear of the bookstore is R.J. Cafe & Bistro where the ambiance of the store is extended. It is a small cafe with small tables but big cupcakes. Packed during a recent Sunday lunchtime, clearly the appealing atmosphere, as well as, soup, salad, sandwich etc. menu has made the cafe a hub for locals and out-of-towners alike.
R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT 203-245-3959 http://www.rjjulia.com