Anyone who knows me knows that two of life’s greatest pleasures for me are books and coffee – and I have a definite weak spot for any place that can combine both. Whether they be neighborhood coffee shops with shelves of second-hand books for customers or bookshops with couches and caffeine on demand, be they big or small, sophisticated or down-to-earth, it’ll be hard to drag me back out of the door once I find them. In any town I’ve ever visited or city I’ve ever lived in, I generally found them all within a matter of days or even hours. And what better and cozier thing is there to do on a snowy (or rainy) day?
As you can see, when I first discovered the Griffin Bookshop and Coffee Bar, we were at the tail end of summer. The trees were still cloaked in brilliant, living green and, if anything, I was looking for a place to escape the heat of the late-August sun. Still, on this snowy March day, I would love to be curled up in a corner of the Griffin with a steaming cup of coffee, surrounded by its seemingly endless shelves of books. The front room has tables devoted to subjects ranging from new fiction to local interest. In the back, behind the coffee-bar, a further two rooms are stuffed to the ceiling with shelves where books are arranged alphabetically and by subject-matter, as neatly as in any library.
The feeling, however, is more as if I’d wandered into the private reading rooms of some wealthy intellectual who has, inexplicably, given me the run of his home for the day.
They also have a little, brightly colored and carpeted nook of a room off the main reading room where everything – from the decor to the size of the furniture to the choice of reading material – has been chosen for the very youngest of readers. Seeing it was enough to make we wish I’d had a chance to be a kid in Fredericksburg. And the Griffin’s not just a welcome refuge when the weather’s bad, either. Their tables out front and the marvelous back garden make this a perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon in the springtime. A soon as this snow melts, I think I’m going to have to head back for a day. Call me strange, but I’ll drive an hour and a half for a good coffee shop any day…
Here’s wishing you all somewhere as cozy to wait out these last days of winter.
Until next time, stay warm and keep a good book close to hand!