25 Mar 2013 2 Comments
I moved from Southern California to the Southern Oregon town of Ashland in July of 1993. I had been living in Orange County for seventeen long years, and was really ready to get out of there. I hated the traffic, the noise, the competitive atmosphere. When I moved to Ashland I felt I had finally moved home.
That was nearly twenty years ago, and I’ve never had a day of missing SoCal. Ashland embraced me with her warm, inviting, liberal arms. I met scads of people right away. I got involved in the community, which I’d never been comfortable doing in California, even though I’d owned my own business there.
I now live next door to Ashland, in the tiny little town of Talent. Its population is a minuscule 6,100 compared to Ashland’s 20,200. I live so close to Ashland, though, that I can get to the downtown plaza faster than half the people who live in Ashland. In fact, I spend most of my time out of my house in town, simply because it’s such a groovy place to hang out.
I freelance, so when I need to get out, my office comprises half a dozen charming little coffee houses in town. Some are easy for tourists and visitors to find, such as Boulevard Cafe, which is part of the Stratford Inn. Boulevard is a top hangout choice for locals who like the open, sunny atmosphere, the great selection of loose teas, and the plentiful tables with outlets for laptops. Clearly I’m not alone in calling this favorite shop my office.
Other coffee hangouts, such as Case Coffee, are not as easy to stumble across if you don’t leave the downtown area. Case is across the street from Southern Oregon University and is typically missed by visitors. This may change, though, because Case just won one of the prestigious Good Food 2013 national awards for its coffee, an honor indeed for this tiny little hideaway. Find Case Coffee at 1255 Siskiyou Boulevard, right across from the emerald green lawn of SOU.
Also off the beaten path, but sometimes discovered by out-of-towners, is the Rogue Valley Roasting Company, or RoCo, as it’s affectionately called by locals. Since it’s near a few B&Bs, visitors often chance to stop in for some of their delectable spanikopita, scones, or pumpkin muffins. This rustic old building has been well-preserved. While I don’t know its history, it has surely seen many generations come and go. Sit outside on the front porch, or go around to the shaded patio to relax and watch the slow traffic go by.
When I want to experience Ashland’s abundance of visitors in a relaxing, homey atmosphere, I stop by Bloomsbury Coffee House. This charming bookstore coffee house boasts comfy stuffed chairs, wifi, reading materials, and the good cheer of its owner, David, who is usually on the premises either serving coffee or cooking in the kitchen. You’ll find the famous Bloomsbury’s bookstore and its independently owned coffee house on the main drag, a few blocks up from the downtown plaza. Head in and up for a cuppa.
The list of coffee house hangouts goes on. At any one of them, a visitor can engage with the locals, who often visit their beloved baristas. These offices-away-from-home remind me of why I love Ashland. I sure didn’t get that feeling when I had coffee at a Denny’s in Costa Mesa. California, I don’t miss ya.
To visit any of these local gems, check them out here:
Boulevard Cafe: http://boulevard-coffee.com/
Case Coffee Roasters: http://casecoffeeroasters.com/
Rogue Valley Roasting Co: http://ashlandcoffee.com/
Bloomsbury Coffee House doesn’t have a website, but you can check out the bookstore here: http://bloomsburyashland.com/
Oh, and apparently the Denny’s in Costa Mesa closed. 😉