A Restaurant with Something Extra
Our friends, Susan and Michael Paradise, called
recently and invited us to breakfast at a surprise location.
After first discovering it, they said, John and Judy would
love this place. We were intrigued, and besides being
glad to see them again, we wondered why this restaurant would
provide a special treat for us. Was it culinary? No. What, then?
Michael said, If we told you, it wouldnt be a surprise.
We set a date and let the idea of a surprise turn into delightful
anticipation. On that morning, Susan and Michael picked us up
and off we went. It made me think how few times I have gotten
into someones car without knowing where I was going. But
I trusted them completely and relaxed.
Our friends were right: we did love the place. In Union, Connecticut,
near the Sturbridge, Massachusetts line, sits The Traveler Restaurant.
Walking in, we noticed that the atmosphere was homey
at least to us, because the rooms were lined with bookshelves,
brimming with books.
Heres why Susan and Michael thought wed enjoy ourselves:
customers can enjoy a meal, and then are invited to choose 2
or 3 free books. Some people who know our book-filled house
might ask, Why do they need any more? Who needs
books nowadays, when a device can be substituted for the heft
of a real book? Well, we do.
After a delicious brunch, we split up and roamed. I chose a
book of poetry by Sharon Olds, for obvious reasons. Then I found
one about butterflies. This past summer, binoculars in hand,
I learned to identify 6 varieties that visited our garden. Lastly,
from an essay series, The History of Nations, I chose Italy,
edited by Tara Koellhoffer. No need to explain that.
We wondered how this restaurant started. Our server was accustomed
to the question and provided a copy of A Little History,
The restaurant is owned by the Murdock family, who believe in
the mission of promoting reading. In 1970, the previous owner
had started by thinning out his book collection and bringing
them to the restaurant to give away. The practice grew, with
books coming from many sources, private and public. Our
hope is that each and every one of our guests find a book to
their liking on our shelves, and we hope to promote reading.
If giving away about 100,000 books a year is any indication
of success, then the Murdocks have achieved it.
If you are in the area and have a similar hunger for food and
books, visit The Traveler Restaurant, 1257 Buckly Highway, Union,
Connecticut (I-84, exit 74).