Sorry, Starbucks. I won’t be coming to hang out anymore. It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve found someplace new that’s a better fit for me. Red Rocket Coffee.
Scones baked fresh every morning. Cranberry lemon, strawberry coconut, white chocolate orange… The best I’ve had. Favourites are usually sold out by afternoon. Specialty drinks like Dirt n’ Worms Hot Chocolate, apple cider (caramel or apple pie), and the best tea lattes.
There are little corners to hide away. A long bench stretches along the back, dotted with small tables. There’s a spot I like near the corner, next to the little side table with a lamp.
There’s also a great spot that backs against the fireplace and faces the street. I love the openness of seeing the street and still feeling like I’m tucked away in my own little space.
It’s here where I sneak away for a little time for myself – to write to my boys in the journals I keep for them, to work on my latest online course, or to write in my notebook.
This week I’m going to share with you my new favourite coffee shop. This place has a small community feel, complete with its own cast of characters.
First, there’s Mrs. Tate.
A sweet, older lady who I ‘met’ one Saturday morning. She came into the shop with flowers. She had remembered it was one of the barista’s birthdays. Her gift was met with “aaawwws, thank you’s, and you’re so sweet.”
I assumed that Mrs. Tate owned a flower shop as she told the girls that on Easter weekend, it had been the busiest it had been in 30+ years. “I feel so supported by the community. Everyone came out.” They were yelling out goodbye’s to Mrs. Tate as she walked out the door.
I am loving this neighbourhood more and more.
Then there’s the eclectic graphic designer who roams around, striking up a conversation with anyone – staff, complete strangers, and people he seems to know. He hasn’t approached me yet but I bet it would make for a great story afterwards.
I found him so entertaining that one morning I flipped between my online course and an open Google doc so I could jot down the things he was saying. People must have thought I looked strange. Sitting there quietly with a smile on my face. I found him hilarious. Interesting. Smart. A total character.
He approaches a young family with a little girl. He tries to talk to her but she’s shy and unsure of him.
Good to be suspicious of old men. We’re up to no good.
I like kids and dogs. They are the only things that get along with me. I’m just the guy at the end of the street.
Drinks are ready. Names are being called out. Not forced or fake feeling. They actually know people’s names.
The designer begins talking about his niece and nephew, and when they play music together. The jazz trio of crazy.
She’s only shooting at people who are mean to her. Marlow – shotgun apocalypse. My Ted Kennedy impression.
At this point I have no idea what he’s talking about. Apparently his niece has a great imagination that’s fuelled by her uncle.
He’s in mid conversation with someone and is now yelling out across the room to strike up a conversation with one of the baristas.
He joins a father and his young son playing battleship. They’re sitting in the comfy couch area near the fireplace.
Do you have a strategy for where you put your guys? The fog of war. I’ve studied the art of war. Sun Tzu. I’d be trembling in some trench somewhere. I don’t think I could kill anyone. I don’t think I’d like the threat of being killed. I’m sure I’d find God somewhere along the way. Bahaha.
He’s now yelling at a man leaving the coffee shop. The man smiles as he leaves, throwing his arm up in the air to wave goodbye.
The young boy gets up to leave the battleship game for a moment.
Your dad’s not so dumb. He’s going to cheat while you’re gone. I’m a provocateur. That’s what they say in Francais. I play both sides. I’d be a spy. I’m too flamboyant to be a spy.
He continues to roam around the small shop for another hour or so, before leaving.
On a different day, I ran in for a tea. A lady came in after me to order a drink and something to eat. She told Kayla that she hadn’t been feeling well and was going home instead of into work. Kayla’s response, “Coffee is on Robin and I.”
I love this place. The people, the small community feel, and the constant hum of life.
I’m glad my hubby had me venture away from my usual tea at Starbucks. I haven’t been back in months.
It’s nice to support a local business where you begin to recognize familiar faces from the neighbourhood. A place where knowing your name isn’t a corporate attempt at creating a false human connection.
Maybe you have a great little place near your home too.