THE GENERAL STORE—GEORGEVILLE, QUEBEC / THREE PINES
The dark wooden shelves were neatly stacked with tins. Sacks of dog food and birdseed leaned against the counter. Above the shelves were old boxes with backgammon games. Checkers, Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly. Paint by numbers and jigsaw puzzles were stacked in the neat, orderly rows. Dried goods were displayed along one wall, paint, boots, birdfeeders were down another. (The Brutal Telling, Chapter 14)
I’m a sucker for General Stores. From the worn hardwood floors to the super stocked shelves of everything you could possibly need; wine, cheese, hats, gloves, pocket knives, maple syrup, and—if you’re lucky—a big old barrel of peanuts that you can shuck and freely discard the shells right there on those well-worn floors.
Whenever I get the chance I spend hours reveling in the history of these iconic establishments which sadly had their heyday in the late 18th century. That said, if you look hard enough and take the roads less traveled, you can still find them out there well beyond the neon signs of the big box stores.
Some of my personal favorites:
Kelloggs & Lawrence (established in 1887) in Katonah, NY. Rife with tools, camping gear, and folksy children’s games; K&L has it all including the peanut barrel!
FH Gillingham & Sons (established in 1886) in Woodstock, VT. Just about dead center in the most picturesque village in the Green Mountains, it’s one of the state’s oldest General Stores “where you can buy everything from caviar to cow manure—accompanied by a farmstead cheese and a bottle of Corton Charlemagne!”
Gray’s General Store (established in 1788 and sadly closed in 2012) in Adamsville, RI. It still pains me that that after 225 years the doors of this Ocean State mainstay were shuttered. It actually had a vintage soda fountain and authentic Johnnycakes!
The General Store in Georgeville, Quebec is the model for Three Pines’ General Store. While I’ve found a photo of the store dating back to 1910, historical information beyond that is scant and, as of this writing, inquires to the general store have gone unanswered although, from what I gather, they’re only open from May to November, so more to come! I have learned they do sell local products like honey and not so local products like fireworks! Looks like I’ll have to take a trip up there soon to see for myself.
Special thanks to Bob Heath (see comments) for filling in some of the General Store’s background!
Anyone here ever been to the General Store in Georgeville?
Tell us all about your favorite General Store!