Cannon Beach Book Store
On our recent vacation, my wife and I spent a few days on the Oregon Coast at the lovely town of Cannon Beach. Whenever visiting a new place, I always want to find the local book store, and I’ve never been more delighted than to discover the charming Cannon Beach Book Store in downtown Cannon Beach.
Upon walking up the steps into the small clapboard building, it’s about what you’d expect from the outside – a one room collection of books for visitors to a town built around the tourist trade. With bookshelves against the walls, the tables stacked with best sellers and local travel guides formed aisles for the patrons browsing. To my surprise, instead of being near the front door, the checkout stand was located towards the back of the room. Then I noticed a door behind the counter that opened up to another room in the back. The back room was about double the size of the front, containing a children’s section, a decent collection of classic literature, and other categories, including my favorite: biographies.
We’d made our choices, and my wife and I sauntered to the checkout counter. The cashier, a pleasant young lady, was apologizing to a customer that the American Express card was the only credit card that they did not accept. When it was our turn, I complimented her on the great book selection and asked if she knew of the bookstore that was for sale in Cannon Beach. I’d heard that the lady who owned the place had died. She sighed that it was this bookstore whose owner had died, but it appeared as though two of the key employees were going to buy the place, and give it a go.
Cannon Beach Book Co. owner Valerie Ryan, 76, had lost her battle with cancer in May. Ryan was well known in Cannon Beach, and described as a “brassy, outspoken woman of fierce independence who is also fun, witty, smart and irreplaceable.” Known for riding through town with her convertible’s top down, her scarf flowing behind her, a local editor wrote, “Even the camera was intimidated by Val Ryan.” Sounds like someone who would have been worth knowing.
Cannon Beach is an idyllic coastal retreat. It’s sad that one of the town’s icons has died. Let’s hope the bookstore survives as her legacy.