A devastating fire in Vineyard Haven this morning ripped through Cafe Moxie and into the Bunch of Grapes bookstore.
Cafe Moxie itself has been around for a few years, it was just bought in May by a young couple who were realizing their dreams. Before it was Cafe Moxie it was The Linden Tree for a few years, named for the huge Linden tree which used to stand in front of the Capawock movie theatre across the street. But long before it was the Linden Tree it was a barber shop. My mother’s step-cousin was a hairdresser and the man who owned the barber shop let her use one of his chairs for hair styling. Before long she moved into a space behind the barber shop and eventually her beauty salon took over the barber shop. Those are my memories of that corner building.
The Bunch of Grapes…ahh… what can be said of one of the best bookstores in the United States. It was one of a kind and hopefully will survive this devastating blow. One of my first stops every trip to MV was the BOG and within the store my first stop was always, always the “Vineyard Table”. Every Vineyard author was on that table at one time or another. The table was filled with books of all kinds…fiction, non-fiction, mysteries, history, cookbooks, childrens books, art books… everything Vineyard that you could imagine in book form. Calendars, CD’s, DVD’s, newspapers and magazines rounded out the eclectic assortment. I can honestly say that I have enough books from that table that I could probably start my own “Vineyard Table.” The Bunch of Grapes was the anchor store in the middle of Main St… whether you were a book lover or not it drew you in to spend some time browsing around. A few years ago the Bunch of Grapes won an award for the #1 bookstore in the United States… quite an accomplishment and honor for the store and its owner Ann Nelson. Sadly there aren’t too many independent book stores left anymore, the Bunch of Grapes was the epitome of what one should be like.
I hope with all my heart that both establishments will flourish again.