Ah, the "Armchair Sailor".... I do miss that place. I could spend a couple of hours there while my wife went into every store on Thames Street and touched every piece of merchandise. A win-win.
The Armchair Sailor had a great selection of modern and historical nautical fiction too. I don't think I ever left that place without buying at least a couple of books.
I must reluctantly agree that Amazon and it's ilk were probably a big reason for their demise.
It wasn’t just books at the Armchair Sailor, it was also about the encyclopedic knowledge of the proprietor.
Case in point: An acquaintance from the Seattle area, who had sailed south upon retirement, thru the Panama Canal and around the Caribbean for 2 years, and was headed for the St Lawrence River, found himself stopped by cold, wet weather in Marblehead for a few weeks. He decided to turn back and use the Erie Canal to reach the Great Lakes, with the intention of going as far west as possible before having the boat trucked back to Puget Sound.
Well, he sailed back to Newport and stopped at the Armchair Sailor for the charts to navigate the Hudson and the Erie Canal, only to find out—from the owner of Armchair Sailor—that the Erie Canal was closed due to winter damage. Now what?
Well, the owner suggested Lake Champlain and the canal to the St Lawrence. But it appeared that my friend had too much draft for the canal. Not to be discouraged, the owner called the canal authority and found that they could increase the depth by a foot with 24 hour notice.
And that’s how my friend got to the Great Lakes. Wouldn’t have happened if he bought charts from the internet. Many of us will continue to miss the whole atmosphere of the Armchair Sailor.