Bookstores…archaic? Think again. A place like Barnes & Noble isn’t just there for the books. It’s the Tiffany’s to Holly Golightly, the Oz to Dorothy, the open water to Jaws. It’s a place that makes you feel like it was created just for you and yet somehow, all different types of people belong there, just like the many genres winding throughout the store.
Not only is the Barnes & Noble at One Loudoun brand new, but it’s different from any other location. It’s a mixture between a trendy café, bookstore, and the most popular corner of your college library.
When we entered the store, we bee-lined straight to the café in desperate need of caffeine and there’s no better sign of good coffee than the glorious green glow and signature Starbucks siren on the wall. After we ordered some Bucky’s (you can thank my dad for that nickname), we also decided to dabble in the food menu.
The menu items are carefully selected and there is something for everyone on it – think a cheese board, salads, soups, sandwiches, etc. The coolest part of the café menu isn’t really even the food, but the fact that the Barnes & Noble chef is Harrison Ford’s son, Ben Ford. SO, you’re really eating at a celebrity café! We ordered the tomato soup (highly recommended from a friend) and the heirloom tomato salad. Both were great, both were fresh and delicious, and both heightened our Barnes & Noble experience tenfold (although it also could have just been the caffeine).
There was also a bar attached to the opposite side of the Starbucks counter, where we observed a group of friends presumably studying. They had a bunch of notebooks sprawled out and each had an adult beverage in front of them. Hey – if you’re going to work on the weekends, why not make it a little interesting? The bar, which by the way is a new addition to Barnes & Noble, has a nice selection of wines, beers, and ciders sure to please all.
By the pure force of B&N, I went into the store craving a new cook book. Envisioning one with a rainbow-colored salad or anything with avocado on the cover (yes, I am trying to be trendy), I set out for the cooking section. Browsing – OOH maybe this one! Browsing some more – but this one would look GREAT on my cookbook stand. Browsing browsing browsing – (insert celebrity here) uses this one, so I obviously need it.
Confession time: Not only did I leave with a cookbook that I’m sure will put me on the path to my own Food Network show, but I also left with a record. Guess what? I don’t even own a record player, but I couldn’t resist because records are back baby! The sound is incomparable and the nostalgia is overwhelming. The moral of the story being, you may go into Barnes & Noble wanting one thing, and walk out with something totally different, or multiple things that you didn’t even know you could purchase there. Guess it’s time to purchase a record player.
There are many unique features in this store, and what makes it even better is the open layout. Where Barnes & Noble stores from back in the day were more closed and sectioned off from one another, this store is an open book (see what I did there?). There was a cool kid’s corner with bright colors, mini chairs, a Lego table, and all of the children’s books you could dream of. For anyone who is curious, yes, they still sell the classics that you remember as a child like Rainbowfish and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (I spent about 5 minutes reminiscing in the children’s section). There’s also a full Harry Potter display featuring books, games, toys, and anything you could think of that involves the magical series.
Admittedly, I hadn’t been to a book store in a long time – what with audiobooks, podcasts, and Netflix to keep me entertained. Walking into the Barnes & Noble at One Loudoun for the first time gave me an overwhelming feeling of something I used to love, and have now rediscovered. It seemed like I wasn’t the only one with this feeling since all of the seating throughout the store was taken when I tried to get a studious photo of myself amongst the stacks. Nothing beats the feeling of picking up a book, smelling the freshly printed pages, and seeing the progress made as you read your way through it whilst sipping a cup of joe, a nice cabernet, or IPA. But hey – don’t take my word for it, visit for yourself!