Purple Tree Books is a wonderful gem of a bookstore found in Cheboygan, Michigan, and I almost missed it.
This was during my family's near-annual vacation to Mackinac back in May. We took a day trip to Cheboygan where my mother, an antiques fanatic, immediately stopped to peruse her favorite antique shop. This was the purpose for our day trip because, yes, it takes my mom an entire day to investigate every nook and cranny of Yesteryears Antiques, sniffing through piles and piles of dusty, musty old things (somehow without sneezing) in search of hidden treasure. Which usually ends up being a rusty garden hoe or a chipped pot or a 50-year-old broom.
Antiquing — I will never understand you.
But it brings a smile to my mom's face in a way that makes everything tolerable. Still, you won't find me in an antique store for very long on account of my sneezing attacks (whether this is an allergy to dust or antiques in general has yet to be determined) and my overwhelming desire to shoot myself in the foot and/or the radio that is inevitably playing country. That said, I stayed in the car most of the time, enjoying the perfect spring weather with the windows down and rereading the The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis in preparation for an upcoming Mitten Books blog post (so excited!). Had it not been for an insatiable desire to eat chocolate, which this book never fails to inspire, I wouldn't have tried visiting Purple Tree Books in the first place.
As it was, my stomach was getting downright grouchy with the lack of chocolate in the car, and I knew I had to put the book down and think of something else to do before things got ugly. ("Ugly" being me rampaging through the streets of downtown Cheboygan on the hunt for a Hershey bar.) That's when I remembered a bookstore called Purple Tree Books. I'd done some research into bookstores near Mackinac before our trip and was pretty certain this one was located in Cheboygan. Sure enough, I typed the name into my GPS, and there it was! Just 5 minutes away!
Unfortunately, by the time I pulled up, Purple Tree Books — unwitting savior of Cheboygan citizens from my chocolate rage charge — was closed. As you may recall, I ran into this problem with Chillermania, too. (That's what you get for going Up North two weeks before tourist season!) Once again, I would've missed seeing this awesome bookstore, but thankfully I decided to come back when it was open.
From the moment you walk in, Purple Tree Books has an inviting atmosphere. There are bright flowers, comfortable chairs, well-stationed bookshelves, racks of magazines, and my personal favorite: A GIANT CHECKERS BOARD! I LOVE playing checkers! Though no one was willing to challenge me...
(My hat and bag fit in rather nicely, don't they?)
Purple Tree Books is also a great supporter of Michigan authors, having a whole section dedicated to them!
(I hope one day my own books will sit proudly on this shelf!)
I was honored to meet the owner, Emily, and her mom Kim who happened to be in the store that day. They are lovely, generous ladies, and if you get the chance to chat with them, I highly recommend it!
(Me, Kim, and Emily pointing to our location on our built-in Michigan maps! A Mitten Bookstore must.)
To satisfy my chocolate craving, I made my way over to the attractive coffee bar and was treated to delicious cookies and some equally tasty information. You see, Purple Tree Books was once a bookstore called Log Mark, and when Emily bought the place, they took the old bookshelves and refurbished them, turning them into the coffee bar! How neat is that?! Once the bearer of food for thought, now the bearer of food for sweet tooth...
(The old bookshelf coffee bar laden with yummies!)
The most endearing quality of Purple Tree Books, however, is its name. Purple is the awareness color for a chronic disease known as Cystic Fibrosis. Emily's beautiful niece Evangeline has been diagnosed with CF, and this amazing aunt uses her bookstore to support Evangeline and spread awareness of the disease.
(Me and Emily with the store plaque telling Evangeline's story.)
Purple Tree Books hits all the marks for the perfect bookstore: great selection, great atmosphere, great people, and great cookies!
If ever you're in the Cheboygan area, be sure to make a stop at:
Purple Tree Books
334 N Main St.
Cheboygan, MI 49721
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