The Ultimate Vacation for Book Lovers

By Lauren Ablondi-Olivo

While most of us are perfectly content having a staycation at home with a good book, some of us bibliophiles want a little bit more adventure in our lives. And by adventure, I mean the ultimate bookworm fantasy: running our own bookstore. 

That’s exactly what The Open Book in Wigtown, Scotland allows its guests to do. Wigtown is Scotland’s National Book Town, and for just around $100 a night, you can stay in an apartment above the quaint bookstore nestled into the country’s lowlands and run the store during your stay. But don’t worry! You’re not alone; the bookstore has volunteer employees to help you run everything smoothly. 

The store is a non-profit started by The Wigtown Festival Company that aims to celebrate and highlight books and independent bookstores. Because of this, the cost of staying is much cheaper than one would think, and covers the costs of running the store only. It’s a volunteer opportunity, so you aren’t getting paid (also due in part to visa restrictions) but let’s not kid ourselves; almost any booklover would gladly pay to live out our Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail or Hugh Grant in Notting Hill fantasy. 

Almost all of the reviews on the store’s Airbnb page are boastful and positive, but here are just a few of my favorites:

“Cosy winter time, hot water bottle snuggles, toasty bookshop open until midnight just because we can!! CO-OP snacks, Craft meals, kindness overload of town people, all is always well in Wigtown” – Carla 

“Wigtown is a special place. It’s a bit of a fib saying that The Open Book was better than I expected. I expected it to be MAGICAL and it was. It was an adventure and the town folk are so hospitable. They stopped by to check in with us. We were invited to tea, to supper and treated to free whiskey by the local pub owner. The flat is quaint and overlooks the town square. The shop is loads of fun.” – Colleen 

“One of the most unique travel experiences I’ve ever had. The booksellers and the town were hospitable in the truest sense. We were welcomed and seamlessly folded into the regular rhythms of the town. We’ll be back to Wigtownshire as soon as we’re able!” – Peter

Unfortunately, the store/apartment is booked almost solidly for the next two years, but if the reviews and experiences shared online are enough to persuade you, it might just be worth the wait. 

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Lauren Ablondi-Olivo is the Long River Review fiction editor. She can be reached at lauren.ablondi@uconn.edu.


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