The Cape & Islands Bookstore Trail

Cape Cod Life  /  September/October 2022 /

Writer: Abigail Jones

Independent bookstores are the heart of Cape Cod and Islands towns. Their peaceful atmospheres draw visitors in, and the adventures they promise encourage people to stay. Cape Cod bookstores are a popular destination for travelers and locals, connecting them to Cape communities as well as to one another.  While many people have one or two bookstores that they frequent, far fewer have stepped outside this reach and explored the many other shops scattered throughout the Cape. In 2019, local bookstore owners Vicky Titcomb, Sara Hines, and Caitlin Doggart began a project to map the independent bookstores throughout the Cape and Islands so that readers across the region could explore those they have never visited. They called their project the “Cape & Islands Bookstore Trail.”  “We met at a booksellers’ conference, and the three of us started talking,” explains Vicky, owner of Titcomb’s Bookshop in East Sandwich. She continues, “We wanted to highlight how many great bookstores there are on the Cape. When we started researching, we were shocked, because we had no idea how many there really were. I remember saying, ‘If it’s the three of us on the trail, that’s pretty good.’ However, we ended up with 21 bookstores participating, which is unbelievable.”  Sea Howl Bookshop Although the pandemic put a pause to the bookstore trail in the years 2020 and 2021, Titcomb, Hines, and Vicky’s niece, Rae Titcomb, picked up the project for the summer of 2022.  “There are a couple of new stores that have joined since we did this in 2019,” describes Hines, owner of Eight Cousins Books in Falmouth. “There’s this great new enthusiasm and energy coming from these new places. And that’s exciting.”  Rae shares this sentiment. “We’re excited that the new bookstores are bringing more diversity into the group. Belonging Books is a pop-up store,…

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