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Oskaloosa's Hidden Gem: The Book Vault
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Oskaloosa's Hidden Gem: The Book Vault

Hours pass in an instant when I get to explore a bookstore. I was excited to hear of a unique bookstore in the bustling community of Oskaloosa, so I made the trip on a dreary winter day to check it out.

After parking on the side of the town square I noticed the display of buildings before me.  The bookstore is a two-story white terra cotta building that was constructed in 1890.  It’s squished between a coffee shop and another storefront, giving it a rather homey feel.  History tells us that the bookstore was home to a bank for most of the last century before becoming a favorite book haven. The owners played on the history and architecture of the building and named the bookstore The Book Vault. 

I wandered inside and was completely amazed. I was expecting a dark and dim, dusty bookstore and was pleasantly surprised. The shelves come alive with colorful book covers and the pleasant aroma of coffee from nearby Smokey Row Coffee Co. The ceiling was adorned with beautiful stained glass, and hanging globe lights added finesse to the atmosphere. I’ve never felt cozier in an old bank. Financial, fantasy, biography, poem and my favorite - cookbooks - were among the many books I could see. 

I started roaming and was delighted to see that this old financial institution still had its vaults intact, and are full of books! One vault is full of mysteries, while the other is full of works by Iowa authors. I couldn’t help myself from straying further and found a section devoted to food/cookbooks. I spent at least an hour flipping through the pages full of rustic cooking methods, skillet dishes and the perfect pies.

I giggled as I ran across a cookbook devoted entirely to venison recipes. My best friend’s husband is an avid deer hunter, and they have a freezer full of venison. You can bet the book made it into my car to go home as a birthday gift.

Time flies when you’re thumbing through pages of your favorite culinary books, and soon it was time for me to enter reality again and head home.

The Book Vault is an independent bookstore with a quality selection of books and gift items. Plan your visit around one of the in-store cooking demonstrations. Or grab a cup of coffee from next door’s Smokey Row Coffee Co. and peruse the mystery section on a rainy afternoon.

Leave a Comment

  1. Travel Iowa Team
    Travel Iowa Team
    Thanks for the post!
    Log in to reply.
  2. nsimpson
    Thanks for this posting!! Oskaloosa is so fortunate to have Book Vault! I'm very proud of it!
    Log in to reply.


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