When I’m feeling bored, sad or just generally feel like driving, I find myself at a small cafe in a neighboring town. I order my usual green mint tea and sometimes an apple pastry and sit down to think. There are times when I write and alternatively, times when I don’t. But no matter what, it always feels comfortable.
My favorite thing is how little cafes feel packed, yet somehow still undiscovered. Sitting by myself amongst a sea of people I don't know or rather, have yet to meet, feels like heaven on Earth on days when I yearn for no human contact. I'm alone, but have company. It's an odd sensation, without a doubt.
And the food and drinks are the best. The baristas put care and heart into everything they make which is why the bagels taste incredible and the frozen lattes tickle my taste buds. I hear the soft chatter, which sometimes gets to be anything but soft.
Of course, while I like to be alone, there are occasions when I happen to run into someone who I do know. But they get it too. This is a safe haven so we say our quick hellos and part ways.
There are a few cafes that I can't help but feel personally connected to. 2 Alice's in Cornwall is one of these. There is where I first shared my poetry at an open mic. There is where I came after "Once Upon a Mattress" rehearsals that didn't go exactly the way I wanted them to. I go there to catch up with my brother, Brian, whenever he comes home. One of my fondest memories of this little coffee shop is when I went there with my five best friends after school on my 18th birthday. We laughed the whole time and even when we may have gotten a bit too loud, no one complained.
One of the other cafes that I often end up at is Sweet Pea's in New Windsor. There was a span of time when my dad and I would go there for breakfast at least once a week. The memories we made there are forever. I remember one time there was a horrible snowstorm and my dad had to go into work in about two hours, but before he went, we went to Sweet Pea's and ate breakfast and listened to live music. It seemed like something out of a movie, but the small town cafe made it real life.
My favorite days are the ones like today. The ones where I wake up in a bit of a sour mood, but go to lunch with my mom at Sweet Pea's and then write by myself in 2 Alice's. It's difficult to imagine a sweeter combination.
I often come here for the quiet to write poetry or essays. The conversations and the characters provide inspiration that I am forever thankful for. The old man reading the newspaper, the group of three friends catching up during their first summer back since college, the boy sitting next to me highlighting his textbook are all contributing to the experience I'm having here whether they know it or not.
No matter what topic is filling my brain when I walk in, I am cleared of worry by the time I walk out. The peace of mind I experience in small town cafes is like no other and I am extraordinarily grateful for that.