Posts tagged travel
Coffeeshops of the Summer

Hey y'all!It's Grace here sitting at my kitchen counter after a long day of writing, packing, running, and making sweet potato fries. Good times. I love days that feel "full," that cater to all the sections of what I view as being a happy, healthy person: working out, reading, doing homework, making something productive. Like, during the school year, days when I go grocery shopping and do my laundry make me feel like I have myself together.Additionally, coffee shop hunting makes me feel like I've done a lot. It's a combination of the caffeine and the work space. Luckily, between New Orleans and Port Hope, I've gotten to discover some new ones and revisit some favorites.Normally, in Lexington, my usual question is just LexCo or Pronto, so it feels good to be able to write about some others.

NEW ORLEANS

The Vintage | Magazine Street

The Vintage was one of my best spots that I found in New Orleans. I was a huge fan. It functioned well both as a coffee house, and as a lunch restaurant, and -- if it were a few months later -- a well-stocked bar. The décor was so well put together, both the patrons and the baristas were friendly, and I just soaked in the atmosphere. The aesthetic was divine, and so up my alley -- my favorite coffeeshop discovery of the summer. So nice I went back twice.Drinks: My coffee was delicious.Food: They have a pretty small menu, but it's crammed with excellent choices; my flatbread was divine, and I came back the next day for some truffle fries.Lighting: Solid.Seating: A ton of it! Comfortable couches and cushions near one side, with lines of tables near another that were all marble or similarly nice. I would take so many pictures here.Crowded? No.

Drip Affogato Bar | Carondelet St

I actually completely stumbled across this one as I was walking from Magazine Street to Bourbon Street. I'd recognized it from my vigorous coffee stalking and being in Lexington has given me such a taste for gelato. So needless to say, I had to check it out. It's a tiny spot, very pristine and minimalist in an appealing way. The goods were expensive, and it didn't feel like a place that would be conducive to lingering, so I only got a small scoop of gelato. It was worth checking out though!Drinks: A small menu.Food: Just gelato, but it was great.Lighting: Solid.Seating: Tiny.Crowded? No.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters | Carondelet St

I'm glad I finally got to check out Stumptown as a coffee shop and not just a brand for me to grab on shelves. I'd tried their nitro cold brew before -- which Buddy Brew Coffee in Tampa turned me on to -- but was compelled to try it from the tap. It also smelled so much like roasting coffee beans, which was so wonderful. I loved the dark wooden vibe of Stumptown, but didn't stay long. It was standard, and solid.Drinks: Excellent.Food: I don't recall them having any.Lighting: Dark in the perfect way.Seating: Decent amount.Crowded? No.

Rue De La Course | Carrollton Ave

I popped into Rue De La Course after a long, hot day. All I wanted was a sandwich and a tea, which I got. I loved the atmosphere -- old bank building, gorgeous lighting fixtures, creaky wooden tables. It feels very open as a whole, and is probably one of the places I would study if I went to Tulane. Because it was pretty crowded, I had to go to the upstairs level, which was suffocatingly warm. Also, they don't have pricing on their board -- so it's kind of guess and check.Drinks: I just got an iced tea, but it was refreshing. They had a ton of different drink variations I would love to have tried if I'd been there longer.Food: My sandwich was fine, and it looked like they had a wide range. I wouldn't go out of my way to go there specifically for one, but it hit the spot.Lighting: Patchy. Some spots were pretty dark, but the open style of the building makes it feel airy.Seating: Hard wooden chairs.Crowded? Yes.

PORT HOPE

Coffee Public | Main Street

I discovered Coffee Public last year after bonding with the owner, who apparently almost played soccer at W&L. Their summer menu is so great: maple lattes and other syrups that are perfectly stereotypical for Canada, as well as various tea/lemonade/spritzer combinations that satisfy the heat. They offer yummy breakfast sandwiches as well as a cozy atmosphere with art, neutrally painted tables, bench seating -- and they serve their beverages in heavy beer mugs. I love the vibe, and it's been an excellent haunt.Drinks: Lots of variation, and they're all so good. They err on the sweet side, so the drinks feel more like a treat. Also, they come with striped straws or all dressed up.Food: Their pastries are well-done and their sandwiches are small but good.Lighting: Great.Seating: Wooden but comfortable.Crowded? Depends.I drink more coffee at camp than I do at any point else in the year -- more than during exam week at school. There are some coffee shops I LOVE in Brevard and Asheville, so let me know in the comments or via social media if you want me to do write-ups on those as well!

What have y'all been sipping on lately? Any good haunts?

ALA & NOLA

Hey y'all!As you're reading this, I'm currently either flying to or exploring in New Orleans, Louisiana. I've never been before, and I'm psyched to be doing my first (and probably only) solo trip this summer.I decided relatively recently to head to the American Library Association's annual conference, which is big for several reasons.For one, it's been two years since I've been to a publishing conference. It doesn't sound like that long ago, but I last went before college, back when I was still convinced I would work in publishing no matter what, and when I was still totally up to date on industry everything. Two years has changed a lot. For one, I've been reading mostly older releases, or books I buy myself; I haven't done as much reviewing for upcoming titles. For another, I have more options in terms of working, so I may not actually end up working for a publishing house like I'd always expected. And then I'm also much more comfortable with leaving my schedule up to fate.I've never gone into a book conference this blindly. Back before I first went to BookExpo America, I'd have nightmares about screwing up my schedule or missing books I'd really wanted. This year, I'm more curious for the conversations I can have with publicists, especially because I have a much better grasp on my taste. I'm willing to be a little adventurous in what I read this summer, and I miss the freedom of browsing.I'll still put together a list of must-have titles, but it'll probably be much smaller than in years past. I've already read The Wren Huntwhich was the book I was really dying for in 2018 (and it lived up to the hype!) I'll probably cut my days a little shorter to go explore the city because I love cities with character, and what has more personality than New Orleans?Hoping to write a spectacular wrap-up when I'm back (and get to dish on all the hot books coming up throughout the rest of the summer.) If you have any suggestions for where I should go, or what I should try to read, please let me know in the comments!See you on the flip side.

Welcome to New York

Hey y'all!This is Grace here, post-midterms, ready to get back into the swing of things. I'm hoping that classes -- and my immune system -- no longer consume my life. (And I'm doing the Whole30, which will supposedly help with all that.)I'm currently typing away from New York City, the first time I've gotten to the city since BEA 2015. Since W&L goes later than most other schools (and has a shorter winter break), we get two spring breaks: one "cold weather spring break" and one "warm weather spring break." I'm in the middle of the first, dubbed Washington Break for our observance of President's Day, and figured I'd go shop around at some publishing houses and see what the day-to-day of the jobs really are.Plus, I haven't gotten the scoop on what 2018 book titles I should get excited for!I'm hoping to do a BEA-style recap of my time in NYC as I go, or else I'll forget all the details, so excuse the small bit of lifestyle sneaking its way onto a blog that is -- usually -- predominantly bookish. Without further ado, here's what being in NYC has been like again.I got up around 6 A.M. Getting up early doesn't bother me -- in fact, I love it way more than staying up late. I immediately bundled up in my business casual sweaters, coat. Did my makeup, which I never really do for the daytime. My brother's godfather drove me to the airport since he was in Tampa, which was kind. Drank a green juice. (Whole30 rocks, y'all.)I'd missed home. I always try to catalog as much as possible because all the associations are no longer part of my normal. The scent of sunscreen, sweet water soap, neroli. The sounds of birds in the morning. Palm trees!While I nearly missed my flight, I did not!!! I did, however, leave my keys in Florida because I am an idiot. Working that out, but I was just relieved to be on my flight, where I promptly passed out for a few hours because white noise knocks me out.When I got to New York, I spent about thirty minutes trying to figure out public transportation before realizing there were no more buses headed my way. Luckily, I ended up with the kindest taxi driver, whose son actually goes to school in Virginia too. "Welcome to the jungle, miss!"I'm very much a little-things person, and there were a lot of little things I loved about being in NYC again. Especially since it was 70+ degrees and sunny -- it felt like I wasn't giving up so much of the Florida lifestyle I already missed.When I arrived at Scholastic, I went up to see Jeremy and Jeffrey West again. They're both friends from blogging who it feels like I've known forever. They take good care of me, and had set up all these mini-meetings with Scholastic folks throughout the day.First, we went to La Mercerié for lunch. I loved the aesthetic -- the faded gray brick walls, the wooden platters, the white plates, dried flowers. That's what I'll be hunting for in the city -- well-branded areas with plenty of character. And the food!Back at Scholastic, I met with a flurry of people who pitched their jobs/departments to me and answered questions I had about the industry.

  • Editorial: project managers, excel at keeping track of deadlines, acquisitions, editing on own time.

  • Publicity: managing with editors, author care, lots of writing copy, arranging tour logistics and scheduling.

  • Rights: visiting book fairs, negotiating contracts, exploring co-editions and intellectual property.

  • Sales: dealing with physical displays, brokering sales (obviously.)

That's a little simplified, but it's the basic gist. All the people I met at Scholastic were so nice and helpful -- and I ultimately left the day laden down with new books to read. Including the GORGEOUS illustrated version of the second and third books in the Harry Potter series, which will reside on my coffee table someday. Additionally, Jeremy West gave me Ally Carter's latest, which I'm already about halfway through. (You can preorder here, and support independent bookstores!) Love love love any and all of her books -- and this one is no exception.This is the first time I've been to New York without a set agenda, or without spending most of my time in the Javits Center. BEA (BookExpo America) week is a special kind of beast.To be entirely honest, I love New York but I'm not entirely sure I could handle it for an extended period of time. This week is a bit of an experiment for me, in seeing what I adjust to and what I might want to consider.After Scholastic, I wandered SoHo for a little while and got something to eat. Now that I'm actually settled in, I'm deciding what I want to hammer into the schedule versus when I want to wander. Mostly, I'm just trying to get a feel for what in publishing I might like to go into (if that's a field I ultimately pursue) and be around people who thrive on the same creative field that I do.This weekend, the plan is just to have lots of coffees with people in assorted fields and get a little bit more clarity. Just a little step further to whatever I'll end up doing that's not chipping away at a blog I've been running for sevenish years.

Feel free to send any suggestions my way!

otherGracetravelComment
Fall Coffeeshop Reviews

Hey y'all!

It's Grace here, at the tail end of Thanksgiving Break. While it's been lovely in terms of getting some more books under my belt -- eleven, so far -- it's only serving to remind me exactly how much work I have when I get back.

I'm a planner gal, so I put everything into my agenda; a few weeks ago, when I misplaced it, the world was ending. Luckily, I'm back to scheduling everything to-the-minute, which also makes me realize that I may never actually see the light of Winter Break.We all know what that much work means: coffeeshops.What a few of y'all may not know is that my work-study involves working on W&L's social media, which is so much fun. I wrote a post about a month ago reviewing coffeeshops around the area, and figured I'd go ahead and share it with y'all. Without further ado, here are some of the shops I've frequented in recent months. You can read my original post here

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BEDFORD

Happycoffee

Although a little out of the way, Happycoffee was worth checking out. Nestled in small town Bedford, a scenic drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway will empty you out here. Unfortunately, the lighting issue was enough to put it out of the running for a study spot, but perhaps it has its use as a lunch spot. 3/5.Drinks: A definite assortment.Food: An extensive menu of sandwiches and similar options.Lighting: Limited.Seating: Two rows of wooden booths, as well as a cushioned area near the back.Crowded? No.

FOREST

Third Wave Coffee

Right outside of Lynchburg, Third Wave Coffee is a definite gem. The drinks are reasonably priced for their quality, and the ambience is trendy but welcoming. 4/5.Drinks: Simple, but with enough variety to satisfy. Their matcha latte is a personal favorite.Food: Third Wave doesn’t offer much in terms of food options, but their coffee makes up for it.Lighting: Bright.Seating: Industrial-looking chairs, a leather couch, and space up at the bar.Crowded? No.

CROZET

Mudhouse Coffee

A small town right outside of Charlottesville, Crozet evokes a similar spirit to Lexington. Mudhouse Coffee is located next to some shops, but retains a warehouse vibe. The space itself is atmospheric – with leather booth seating, velvet curtains, and ironwork lights. The drinks are delicious, and it’s well-lit, making it the favorite study spot of some nearby UVA students. 5/5.Drinks: A little pricey, but with a solid menu and flavor.Food: A few pastry options.Lighting: Bright.Seating: Variety of couches, tables, and booths.Crowded: Not particularly.

CHARLOTTESVILLE

Grit Coffee – on the Corner

A cozy Cavalier favorite, Grit Coffee has a nice vibe stuffed with leather armchairs, chalkboard wall signs, and even outdoor seating. While funky, it’s also approachable and perfect for camping out. The lighting is bright enough for work. 4.5/5.Drinks: Straightforward. If you don’t see your preferred drink on the menu, they encourage you to ask for it.Food: A few pastry options.Seating: Options of armchairs or tables.Crowded? Usually, but the amount of seating means this is rarely an issue.

What coffee shops do y'all love?

My 5 Favorite Coffeeshops of the Summer (So Far)

Hey y'all!It’s Canada Day, I'm at my family's cottage in Ontario, and I'm settled in with about twenty books that I've been stockpiling for the summer. For one, I didn't get to read as much as I would have liked during my freshman year of college, and fully plan on making that a priority for my sophomore go-round. For another, I always save the thick reads for summertime because I can set aside a day or two reserved specifically for them, as opposed to slugging through them over months and getting tired out. Exciting times, are they not?It's pretty gray up here right now. Choppy waves, storms. As lovely as it is to wake up to rain pounding the tin roof, I'm aching for some sunshine. (Although curling up inside with some cocoa and a nice read is great too.) We haven't even had one pretty day, which is disappointing since normally we lounge around by the lakefront and get some sunshine under our skin.So naturally, I've been headed to coffeeshops. Although I haven't gotten to poke around a lot in Port Hope and surrounding areas, I have been exploring a lot during my time in Asheville and the Carolinas. During camp off days, all I want is to sit in a coffeeshop and be alone for a little while. So I figured I'd share the places I've been evaluating (in no particular order.)

The Shops

1. Coyote Coffee Cafe -- Pickens, South Carolina.Coyote Coffee Cafe was a find Hannah and I stumbled upon during the drive from Clemson to Brevard. After visiting my sister, we weren't quite ready to go back to the camp grind. We camped out in there for a little while -- she working on her business school application, me working on the blog -- until it started pouring. Which was naturally, when we had to leave. (It has such atmosphere, y'all: blue metal chairs, little flowers, chalkboard signs. And delicious coffee and sandwiches.)2. World Coffee Cafe -- Asheville, North Carolina -- Downtown.Okay, y'all, I dig Asheville. I found so many tucked away little corners that I adored. Hannah's big at UNC -- who's from Asheville -- recommended this one. While I found the menu to be a tad overwhelming and the atmosphere to be a little underwhelming, I loved curling up by the window with a latte.3. Methodical Coffee -- Greenville, South Carolina -- Downtown.While it's a little hard to find, Methodical Coffee was worth blindly wandering. It has a bit of a sparse feel to it: a lot of whites and metal. Despite being a bit minimal, it also boasts china saucers, old pieces of art hanging the walls, gold-foiled wallpaper. It's funky but understated. Also, their raspberry latte was worth the experimentation.4. Coffee Public -- Port Hope, Ontario.To preface, I never expect anyone to recognize W&L. So when I walked into a little coffee shop in small town Canada, the last thing I expected was for the owner to tell me he almost played soccer there. (Go Gennies!) Anyhow, while I scrambled in my bag for change, he told me about their specialties for the day, let me open a tab, and I marveled at my surroundings. Loved the vibe. Extra love for a marvelously kind staff and community feel. Also, their iced maple latte was sinfully good.5. Odd's Cafe -- Asheville, North Carolina -- West.During the Opening Day of the second camp session (which I was not a part of,) I had to make myself scarce. So I drove to West Asheville purely for this cafe that I found out about from Mary in Cabin 11. Not only did I have the best breakfast at West End Bakery (best biscuit I've had in my entire life,) but I spent the rest of my afternoon lounging around in Odd's. I loved how expansive and inventive their menu was. I loved a lot about the atmosphere -- dark wood tables, leather booth seats, murals, colorful fliers. Bonus points for a sharing shelf. Their matcha smoothie was divine.

What are y'all's favorite coffeeshops?