Friday Favorites | William James, Bookseller – A Favorite Place to Spend Time

One of our favorite getaways is located in the state of Washington along the Puget Sound. A Victorian shipping town established in circa 1851, Port Townsend is about 40 miles west of Seattle and sits opposite Vancouver Island, Canada, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Not much about downtown Port Townsend has changed as you can see from this look at Main Street buildings viewed from the bay.

Several years ago we were strolling down Main Street after lunch when we happened upon William James, Bookseller. Book fanatics that we are we went right in.

The next several hours were spent in absolute delight searching and finding books we thought we’d never come across again. One of my set of Anne of Green Gables books had gone missing in a move from Tennessee to Oregon, and yes, William James had a copy!

William James books

William James, Bookseller on Main Street, Port Townsend, WA

William James has all the essentials of a great bookstore: dark, crowded shelves and aisles, the smell of old paper and leather, new and old books, hard-to-find books, books you have to climb a short ladder to reach, hidden rooms off the back of the main room, old and worn out leather club chairs for sitting while you browse the dusty pages of a book. And did I mention the shop is housed in a great Victorian building?

What more could a book fanatic want?

The only other thing would be great customer service, and William James, although not online or fully computer-facilitated, is capable of rendering exceptional customer service.

An example: my husband owns an almost complete set of Automobile Quarterly, a car collector and designer’s dream set of books. For years, we’ve tried to complete that set and some volumes are very rare.

We gave William James a copy of our existing list, and they actually found one of the copies we were searching for. It took six months or so, but the employees were diligent, pleasant and stuck to the task until completed.

A glimpse inside William James

A glimpse inside William James

If you’re ever in the area of Port Townsend, a drive over to visit William James is in order. Along the street are many other shops and eateries that will be amenable to making for a fun getaway.

When we’re there, we usually set aside a full day for William James and then go back several times for shorter visits or to pick up that book we left by mistake.

As a bonus, here’s a tourist tip if you want to stay in Port Townsend. The town is crawling with wonderful Victorian houses converted to B&Bs, easily found by searching the Chamber of Commerce website.

However, having stayed in several of the B&Bs, we happened to luck upon a place we enjoy a good deal more. Called The Sea Loft, it’s nestled away near a dead-end street and out the dining area window, we can see Puget Sound and lovely landscaping, AND we’re in walking distance of William James. Here’s a glimpse of The Sea Loft view and a book lover’s feature:

Sea Loft view from dining area

Well, no more dreaming of Port Townsend now — I’ve got books to read and one to write!

Just for book lovers!

Just for book lovers!


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8 thoughts on “Friday Favorites | William James, Bookseller – A Favorite Place to Spend Time

  1. Joan January 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm Reply

    This sounds like a delightful place! We probably sailed past it when we went to Alaska in 2012. We loved Seattle and Victoria. Would love to visit that part of the country again sometime. And I could spend hours in that bookstore!


    • Sherrey Meyer January 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm Reply

      Well, Joan, if you two decide to make the trip to the NW, you’ll just have to let us know and we’d gladly meet you in Port Townsend for a visit to the bookstore and other highlights of the area. As a a photographer, you’d love it!


  2. Linda Thomas January 17, 2014 at 9:04 am Reply

    Ah, Sherrey, what a delightful read! I grew up on Puget Sound and have been visiting Port Townsend all my life. My husband and I raised our kids an hour west of PT, and our son-in-law grew up there. And the book store…. heaven!

    Thanks for your comment on my blog, too.



    • Sherrey Meyer January 18, 2014 at 2:23 pm Reply

      Linda, this is what I love about blogs. We’re always learning something new about our friends. I had no idea you grew up and raised your family on Puget Sound! Heaven definitely describes William James. And you’re welcome for the comment on your blog too.



  3. tpolen January 17, 2014 at 5:15 am Reply

    The bookstore sounds amazing and the pics are beautiful! I could easily spend a whole day there.


    • Sherrey Meyer January 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm Reply

      Teri, this shop is a book lover’s dream! You’d definitely need a day and likely want more. 🙂


  4. marianbeaman January 17, 2014 at 5:15 am Reply

    I believe we visited here briefly years ago on our way to British Columbia. Lovely scenery, especially in the summer-time.


    • Sherrey Meyer January 18, 2014 at 2:21 pm Reply

      Marian, it’s likely you did if you were en route to BC. Strong ferry path through this area toward Canada.


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