Along Main Street in the waterside town of Port Washington lies a gem of the community The Dolphin Bookshop. A staple since 1946, the independently-owned bookstore recently moved into the idyllic location steps away from the footpath that runs through town. With the renovation came a community center playing host to art installations, book signings, children’s events and a general meeting spot for coffee, lunch or just conversation.
Walking through the front door of The Dolphin, you are greeted by whimsical gifts and seasonal displays, inviting you to think about your gift-buying list. Obviously, an array of beautiful books including coffee table books are categorized for simple browsing. But interspersed are beautiful scarves, hats, jewelry and other gift items carefully selected with the unique gifter in mind. It is clear that the typical customer expects to discover items unparallelled to other gift shops. The Dolphin also keeps the customer in mind by curating select books. Employees chat with customers on end about their tastes in literature so that they can tell which books will appeal to the general purveyor. Every turn through the maze of bookshelves reveals a new treasure. Games, tea sets, and picture frames are hidden throughout.
Making your way through the store, you will find the airy café sandwiched in between the two major sections. A plethora of tables in the multi-windowed room lends itself to a relaxing break. The aroma of Stumptown Coffee and the view of the treats available for purchase is enough to entice anyone to settle in. Lunch items include paninis with names such as Catcher in the Rye and Alice in Wonderland – which are made to order (gluten-free available) – as well as various homemade soups. A plethora of snacks are also available. The café is the venue for book talks and other events as well. On Friday nights, The Dolphin hosts free music performances.
Past the café is The Dolphin’s kids’ section, which is truly a special place for any child. Toys of various sizes are carefully selected for the customer looking to move beyond Toys R Us’ selection. Toys like GoldieBlox, designed to enhance problem solving, are just one of the unique brands that the Dolphin carries. The books available are for all ages, ranging from baby books to teenage novels. Puzzle and other activity books are plentiful as well. You can satisfy the demanding child with moderately-priced tokens to appeal to their need to leave the store.
The charm of The Dolphin Bookstore resides not only within the store but in its surroundings. Port Washington is a lovely place with antique shops and quaint restaurants. Taking a trip to the store can be a full day activity with the exploration of this destination town.
Check out the website here for weekly events.
This review was written by Denise Goldman.