Explore the Country’s Oldest Bookshop in Historic Bethlehem
With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s never too early to start checking gifts off of your list. On your next visit to Lehigh Valley, be sure to plan a visit to this unique shop – no matter what the season.
Moravian Book Shop, located along Main Street in Historic Bethlehem, is dubbed as the oldest bookshop in the country. Some even suggest that it may be the oldest continually operating bookshop in the entire world.
The shop was founded in 1745 when the Moravian Church appointed Samuel Powell of the Church’s Crown Inn on the South Side of the Lehigh River to operate a book store. After several locations, the Moravian Book Shop was moved to the church’s publications building near the Central Moravian Church in 1871. Today, the Moravian Book Shop’s Bethlehem location is this same site on Historic Main Street in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
While known for its full-service book department, Moravian Book Shop offers much more. Visitors will find a wide variety of gifts, stationary, home décor, gourmet treats, Christmas ornaments, and lots more to choose from. The year-round Christmas department remains a popular destination for both visitors and local residents of the area. The department holds a large selection of Christmas candles and ornaments, including the celebrated Moravian Star pieces.
Throughout the year, Moravian Book Shop hosts a number of events ranging from Meet the Author sessions, to the Historic Haunts of Downtown Bethlehem candlelit ghost tours through the Halloween season. For the holidays, visitors can enjoy a special reading of A Christmas Carol by Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great-grandson of author Charles Dickens. A full calendar of events can be found on their website.
While you browse the shop’s many rooms, enjoy a bite to eat at their on-site café, or glass of mead from The Colony Meadery from their tasting bar within the shop. Enjoy a flight of samples, and maybe even take a bottle (or two) home with you.
In September 2015, Moravian Book Shop opened a second location in downtown Allentown as part of the Shops at City Center. Located at 7th & Hamilton Streets, this smaller location offers sweet treats, home décor, and of course, books.