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Serendipity Books in Friday Harbor

By Jennifer Furber published on April 30, 2017

Serendipity Books is an oasis for book lovers. It’s located one block from the ferry terminal and right across the street from the Tucker House Inn. It’s a wonderful way to spend an afternoon getting losing yourself in pages.

Serendipity is 60,000 Books

serendipity books

With 60,000 unique titles logged into the computer database, searching for a particular book is simple. Most used bookstores have not adapted the keen organization of subject/genre, author, and titles all entered methodically. Organization is second nature to co-owner Carol Jackson. For 25 years, she was a librarian in LA Public Schools. Upon retirement, she moved to the Island. Her neighbor and co-owner Dilys Goodman moved to America 50 years ago. Both women loved books and the idea of sharing space amid the titles they love. So, the spark of owning a used bookstore was born over shared tea and talks about authors.

History of the Eclectic Shop

For over 20 years, they have owned Serendipity Books in a beautiful historic home built in 1892. It was originally a Presbyterian Manse and continues to hold its charm with stained glass windows, original trim and molding. From the late 1960s until 1980, the building was an antique shop. In the 1980s, the house was a bed and breakfast until the mid 90s when a clothing shop established business. In 1995, a nature-based photograph gallery occupied the house until Carol and Dilys opened the bookstore in March of 1997. Since the very beginning, books fill the rooms from floor to ceiling with hardcover and paper books in every subject and genre except computer/technology since those tend to become quickly out-of-date. They are open 360 days a year from 10 am to 5:30 pm.

Yes, You did See a Cat!

Many used bookstores throughout the Pacific Northwest seem to have a cat. Serendipity Books adopted Natasha as an elderly cat meant to spend her final years on the counter purring with customers. Even after her passing, her portrait is hanging prominently above the counter ensuring her presence is still felt. Just after Natasha died, one half-dozen feral cats were born underneath the bookstore. The owners had them all fixed, and decided to feed and care for them. Now that litter is old and upon visiting the bookstore, it’s common to see a few cats resting on the side lawn in the sunshine.

Why Serendipity Books?

Serendipity Books gets its name from co-owner Carol’s father and his frequent talk of things in life being serendipitous. In Carol’s own words, “Serendipity is the art of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.” It’s easy to find serendipity when a book you didn’t even know you were looking for finds its way into your hands upon visiting Serendipity Books.

Grab a Good Book and Settle in for the Night

Now that you have your new favorite book (or books) in hand, settle in for the night in your cozy room or cottage at the Tucker House. Our unique rooms are perfect for losing yourself in the pages of a good book. If you’re an avid reader and finish your new book, we even have a book swap shelf. So go ahead and swap it out for the ferry ride home!

Jenn ~ Local blogger for the San Juan Island Inn Collection

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