Three Arts Bookstore
The Three Arts Bookstore is Arlington’s best independent bookstore, located right next to Babycakes Café on Collegeview Avenue. Walter Effron has owned the business since 1982 when he took over the store from his parents, who opened the doors in 1946. Effron is extremely helpful in tracking down obscure items; the last time I visited the store, he happily searched for a paperback version of the hardcover I was buying.
The bookstore is rather small, but full of fascinating books handpicked by Effron himself. This is one of my favorite stores to browse because the books are all unique and their presentation is not overwhelming. The Three Arts covers a wide range of genres, featuring sports, travel, cooking, fiction, nature, reference, language, poetry and a sizeable collection of children’s books. Any book not found in the store can be ordered on request. A number of Vassar professors have their students buy textbooks through Three Arts, rather than using the campus bookstore. There is a selection of discounted books, though the collection is somewhat small and only contains books with imperfections.
The Three Arts also sells postcards, note cards, old prints of maps and some magazines, though the magazine collection is small. The connection between Vassar and the store has always been a strong one. In fact, the store began advertising in The Miscellany News as early as the 1950s. Today, they sell original prints and watercolors of historic Vassar images.
Overall, The Three Arts is a great bookstore for browsing and for finding obscure items not available in chain stores. The store is an easy walk from campus and a joy to visit.