Friday, December 11, 2009

My town's little secret

You know, not only is my husband a Domestic Hero, but he's a good writing-spot-finder, too.

He found a coffee shop for me to write in when I need to get out of the house/office/mommy role.

Now, I know this doesn't sound like a momentous discovery, but you have to understand about where I live. It's suburban Philly, but it's one of the moral rural areas, just what we wanted. In our old house I felt as if I couldn't breathe, with all the traffic. Remember, I went to Penn State. Back in the day, State College was the biggest town in that area, with the Nittany Mall considered huge. (Since I grew up going to the King of Prussia Mall, Nittany was NOT impressive, but for the area, it was big.)

Anyhow, I digress. So, I went to Penn State, home of the student-friendly squirrels who knew there were other kinds of nuts on that campus that could keep a squirrel fed through the winter. It was rural. Then we moved back to suburban Philly, and the suburban sprawl started. A big shopping complex was going to go up across the street from our neighborhood, which would only increase the traffic headache. I'd had enough.

So I scoured area maps, found a nice township with less roads and more open space than the surrounding areas, a good school district and off we moved.

I love where I live. I love hearing cows--even smelling them isn't so bad. I tell my kids "cow exhaust is better than car exhaust." It sums up the move from one home to the next. I love the peregrine falcons who roost nearby and would make a meal of our kitten if I let her outside. I love the feral cats who live on the farm across the road, the red tailed hawk that landed in the tree outside my front window, the occasional horseback rider riding just outside the neighborhood, the churchbell that rings at 8 am on Sundays and wakes me up... It's very peaceful where I live, even though we're not that far from major roadways.

The one thing about where we live, however, is that it's 20 minutes from the nearest shopping center. The local farmers' market doesn't count as a shopping center, and neither does the tiny strip mall two miles away. I'm talking places where you can buy food, then clothing, maybe some automotive parts, pick up a dog collar, visit a bookstore, etc. You have to go 20 minutes to get to the closest one of those, which also means 20 minutes back, which means 40 minutes of writing time.

So, okay 40 minutes out of my day might not seem like a lot, but when you're cramming it in between kids' schedules, it can be.

Well, Hubs found a coffee shop less than a mile from my house. And I'm typing this from that location. And just as soon as I finish, I'm going back to drinking my wonderful peppermint hot chocolate and enjoying the homebaked chocolate chip cookie she sells here, and get back to writing.

I just wished she didn't close at 5 pm. But then, that's life in the burbs. And I'm not trading it!

So, any little secrets in your town?


  1. Hmm, all the secrets in my little town are pretty scandalous! Great post, Judi!

  2. Sounds like the perfect spot. You couldn't get homebaked chocolate chipped cookies at a shopping mall.

  3. I love cow exhaust! I have two bovines in the back yard myself. When you pull in the yard you get a drive in mooing. Small town life has its up and downs but it is a good place for children to grow.

    Nancy O

  4. I live in a small town, just up the hill from our one-block down town. There's a coffee shop there, but I think their coffee is rank.

    There is a Starbucks about a mile away, but the local moms club started using it for play dates. I can't work when there are three three-year-old running around on the two-sided fireplace hearth.

    I really wish my library had a Starbucks kiosk. It would be heavenly.

  5. Hmmm, my town's little secrets...

    I don't think there are any, but the nearest mall is 50 minutes away. Does that tell you anything?
    Glad you found a nook to write in. Me, I'm distracted by comings and goings. I do better in my the nook back in my bedroom.

  6. Robin--what a fun post! And a great idea to have Starbucks kiosks in libraries... I bet that would even encourage people to start going to and supporting their libraries a bit more!

  7. I grew up in a small town, Robin, and now live in a congested, large city. I hope to someday move back to a small town, and I'm envious of your cow-smells. :}

  8. Hi Judi,
    I grew up in a small town but thankfully didn't have any cows nearby. I'd rather smell honeysuckle vines or gardenias, but perhaps it's too cold for them to grow in Philly.

  9. Aside from rolling up the sidewalks at 8 pm? Coffee shops? Try cafes. The meeting place of about everyone in town and a hot bed of gossip, if you listen to various conversations. Which I do--you can't help but hear what everyone is saying.

    For writing? I've been thinking on that. While home is quiet when Dan and Jake aren't there, I'm too easily distracted by *things* that have to be done. Family dropping in unexpectedly. I need a place away from home, that's relatively quiet and has a nice corner for me to sit with a laptop. I'm looking. I think I might have found one. We'll see.

  10. Secrets I'm not allowed to divulge. :}

    I have six Starbucks within five minutes of home, so I can hide out at one of them along with It's Your Grind and Java Hut. I can take my netbook and do my thing there if I want to, although I have my very own cave at home where the dogs keep my feet warm and I can work.

    But I can also remember when I had to seriously travel to do grocery shopping which shows how much we've grown in the last 20 years.


  11. I'm actually at my local Borders right now. No cave here, esp. b/c all the booksellers stop by and chat (they have a really nice endcap covered in In Over Her Heads and Wild Blue Unders). But I'm editing the book that's due at the end of the month, so I've been scarce today.

    And now I'll go back to being scarce again. Happy Friday!

  12. Hey, I live in one of those towns with the cow smell too! LOL! Doesn't bother me all that much either, but then I think my nasal passages are destroyed from the California smog.

    Secrets? Oh yeah! Not all good, but really I love our little town. Our best not-so-secrets are Superior Dairy that makes the best ice cream in the entire San Joaquin Valley and the antique and still functioning carousel at the park.

    I love small towns!