For work on Monday I drove to Charlottesville, VA for the day. (I love my job.) Charlottesville is the MOST beautiful this time of year. I remember my Junior year of college, Kim Sharer, Jessica and one other (whose name escapes me now) took a trip to Richmond, Charlottesville, etc. in VA for fall break just because. And now I get paid to do it! How fun.
On my trip, I needed to work while I was on the road. I brought my laptop so I could check in and get some writing done. I found this cute little place called Shenandoah Joe. I figured it was independent because it had the word ‘Shenandoah,’ but it’s probably owned by McDonald’s like everything else! Based on my senses, I “discovered” this gem. And by discovered, I mean I didn’t use a phone or GPS or any device but my eyes and brain and a couple of U-turns. Oh, and a note: The one thing that planning school really taught me was how to navigate successfully based on land use patterns. I totally rock that skill, and it will serve me throughout my life trying to find any type of land use. Definitely worth the debt.
Anyway, this place reminded me of my favorite study place in Los Angeles when I was at USC. Actually, I had quite a few. Ragazzi Room on Hoover for big tables and group meetings, Caffe Marco in West Hollywood where I asked a stranger – Todd Elliott – for a job and he gave me one, and which now has new owners and a different vibe than it used to, and that one I didn’t know the name of but found it every time I needed it. Now, LA coffee shops are surreal, and this isn’t a post about them. However, I should mention that there are some great spots in that large metropolis and the places were always full of writers and creative types at ALL hours of the day and night. What a fun environment to study anything!
I love the feel of indie coffee houses this time of year. My productivity picks up immensely when the weather turns just a bit cold. I love the mismatched furniture, oversized community tables and board games sitting in the corner just waiting to be played. I love that you can choose to tune out the world around you or gab with your neighbor (as long as he or she is giving you the sign that it’s okay, of course!). I love that I can pretend to work while listening to people’s conversations. I love that I can get hours of entertainment for a $2.00 cup of tea, though, if I stay long enough I will surely break down and buy some sort of pastry to go with the cold tea and mostly honey mixture left in my mug.
I was appreciative that I found Shenandoah Joe at the right time and it could provide me with free wi-fi and a roof over my head and a relaxing atmosphere to settle in and get some work done for a bit. Thanks to all those indie coffee houses. Let’s continue to support the small guy, okay?