14 E Broadway, Port Jefferson, NY | Directions 1177740.947334 -73.068789
Mon - Thu, 9am - 6pm; Fri - Sat, 9am - 8pm; Sun, 10am - 6pm
Neighborhoods: Poquott, Long Island
Forget the Tourist-Trap Port Jefferson: Find the real thing – Port Jefferson is a lovely little village. Until you get to the harbor area, which is where all the tourists want to go. And that's who's here, mostly, tourists. Port Jefferson -- the harbor area -- is plainly a tourist trap. If you can say to your companion, "Oh, look honey! They've got a Gap and a Starbucks!" then you'll love it here.
Harbor View Books was in this little, overly cutesy, excessively boutiqued enclave. Despite all those references you'll find to it on Google, it's gone. It's replacement, an unfortunate establishment called Best Bargain Books, is a sad, depressing excuse for a bookstore. Don't waste your time. It's small, jumbled, and staffed by, well, let's leave it at that.
This doesn't mean you should skip Port Jefferson. Just get away from the harbor. Roam around the truly picturesque neighborhoods and genuine, non-boutiqued shops on Main Street (also called 112/also called 25A). Get a haircut at an honest-to-god real-thing barbershop. Find a deli, a real one, not a fake designed for tourists, and go in for a great sandwich and a beer. People are friendly and they appreciate folks from out of town who are looking for the real Port Jefferson rather than the plasticized one down by the water.
If you're serious about independent bookstores on Long Island, the only choice is Book Revue on New York Avenue in Huntington, about 30 miles west on 25A. It's a gorgeous drive any time of the year, and you'll find a genuine independent literary bookstore. Of course, you shouldn't miss going into New York to Strand Books with its 18 miles of shelves.
So, avoid the shrink-wrapped tourist-trap area of Port Jefferson, find the real things, and enjoy.
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