For many of us, the slow slide of summer has long since passed. While fall slowly drifts towards winter’s short days, I like to think back on a late summer road trip I got to take with friend and club member, Craig Harrel.
Here in the midwest we are blessed with a few legacy tobacco stores. Most of these shops harken back to the days when every university town had an old fashioned pipe shop where many a young scholar could ponder their prepositions with a pipe in hand. Craig and I had a tight schedule to keep. The goal was to visit three pipe shops in Illinois in Indiana. Our destinations, John’s Pipe Shop in Champaign, Illinois, The Pipe Puffer in Indianapolis and The Briar and Burley in Bloomington, Indiana.
Our first stop was John’s Pipe Shop. Stepping in the door I could tell right away that this was indeed a legacy store. Vintage and new pipes were there in plenty. John’s pipe shop had pipes for all price margins. Their tobacco inventory was decent with a few hard to find tobaccos to be bought by the ounce. John’s lounge is small and rather cozy. Craig and I were there fairly early in the day and we had the place to ourselves. The staff was knowledgeable and helpful with all purchases. We had time for a quick smoke and then we were off to our next stop, The Pipe Puffer in Indianapolis.
The Pipe Puffer was a pleasant surprise. The shop was well stocked with standard tins and a decent selection of low to medium priced pipes. Their walk in humidor was very well stocked. The staff was very cordial and helpful. I wasn’t expecting too much from this little shop as its name isn’t one you hear about in the community. After visiting, I have to say that if I was visiting Indy, I would surely stop in again.
The last shop on the list was The Briar & Burley. Stepping into this shop I could easily see why it was a legacy store. This shop was well stocked with pipes and tobacco. Many, if not all of the major brands were there to be had. In the display case where some of the harder to come by pipes from major makers. I myself really liked the Peterson Pipes Titanic set which they had in stock. The store had a great selection of pipe tobacco and a wall humidor stocked with cigars from most major vendors. The store also had a large collection of meerschaum pipes the likes of which I have not seen in any store. Briar and Burley also has a unique collection of shaving and luggage for the well traveled customer. For your gear heads out there, the store has a real Indy Formula 1 car in the shop. The lounge was very cozy and the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful.
As winter takes hold, and days burn fast, I light my pipe with fond memories of a late summer road trip.