This past Saturday I had my very first book signing for Secrets of Hallstead House. I was at Corbin’s River Heritage in Clayton, New York, as a guest of Alan “Hutch” and Marilyn Hutchinson, owners of Corbin’s. I never guessed that a book signing could be such a thoroughly enjoyable and fun experience. I will admit that I was a little nervous at first, but Marilyn and Hutch were friendly and gracious and put me at ease immediately.
For those of you who have never been lucky enough to visit Clayton, it’s a small town right on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. The public dock area has a well-kept, beautiful park with Adirondack chairs and comfy benches. I could have sat there all day watching the boats go by. The main streets down by the water are filled with boutiques and cozy restaurants nestled side-by-side with old-fashioned hardware stores, Save the River! offices, and one of my favorite cheese shops (River Rat), just to name a few. I even found a place I hadn’t visited before- an oil and vinegar store that invites shoppers to sample each and every one of their delicious offerings. The 1000 Islands Cruet is my new go-to spot for special oils and vinegars. This time I only bought one bottle (Black Mission Fig Balsamic Vinegar), but you can be quite sure that on my next visit I will pick up a Vermont Maple Balsamic Vinegar as well as at least one bottle of oil- probably the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil. If you get to Clayton, I highly recommend the Cruet.
Happily, Corbin’s is situated next to the best sub shop in Northern New York or anywhere else on earth- Jreck’s. Not to put too much pressure on Jreck’s, but I did read recently that one of my old friends traveled 1700 miles to get one of their subs. Okay, it was in conjunction with a visit to his family, but the fact that he wrote about how good the sub was tells you something, doesn’t it?
Corbin’s itself is a gem of a bookstore. The walls were covered with black and white photos and drawings of the river and its environs. My favorite was an old photo of a horse race that took place on the frozen river years ago. And as for the books, as I told Marilyn, I wish I could have bought at least one of every book in the place. If there is a book in print about the Thousand Islands, St. Lawrence River, or surrounding region, Marilyn and Hutch either have it or can get it. It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction, non-fiction, a book for children or adults, a cookbook, or a book of photography, they’ve heard of it and can talk about it with authority. I saw them discussing books with countless patrons who came in looking for specific items or just general ideas of what they wanted to read. Marilyn and Hutch were able to tailor their suggestions to each and every person who asked for assistance.
The best part of my book signing was the opportunity it gave me to meet lots of wonderful people. I met locals and tourists alike of all ages, and enjoyed talking to each one of them. Several members of my family (close and extended) stopped by, so that was an extra-special treat. I loved the stories that people shared with me about the recipients of the books I signed and about the writings some of them have produced.
So to Hutch and Marilyn and all the people who were kind enough to visit Corbin’s on Saturday and share a few moments with me, thank you. You made my first book signing a wonderful experience that left me with many happy memories.
Until next time,