Monday, February 14, 2011

Swede Hollow Cafe

A great name never hurts a Third Place, it can lure you in when you would otherwise not discover it. Swede Hollow sounds like something out of a fairytale, and indeed in the summer the garden with its lovely tiered fountain and cobblestones and rambling terraced area is magical. Luckily the cafe faces south and west with enormous windows and a wonderful brick interior wall which gives the place a warm feel even if the frigid air blows in with each new customer during the winter months.

Despite the great name, it was two new factors which have created a shift in my daily routine that made Swede Hollow a Third Place for me this year. The first was that both children started attending the same school again located just a few blocks from the Swede Hollow. The second is that my mother, who just retired this spring, also lives within a few blocks from the cafe. This coincidence has turned into the perfect excuse for a new Third Place for me.

I will often pick up my mom and then we will head together to split a piece of quiche for breakfast, and we each get a latte, hers decaf mine regular. The display case is full of other options for those who prefer a sweeter launch into the day, gorgeous sticky carmel rolls and a variety of scones and beautiful granola, but generally we stick with the quiche because it is delicious, a large portion, and each of us tries to put forward a healthy image for the other's sake. Besides, the bar of dark chocolate on the latte cup makes you feel decadent anyway. The latte is served in a heavy large cup that warms my always cold hands and they make sure to have the perfect decorative wave across the foam, just so. The servers are friendly and remember our standard order and stop to chat with us about our knitting projects, etc. The owner is very congenial too, checking in to make sure everyone is doing well and he seems appreciative and genuinely happy to have created such a warm community spot.

My mom is off traveling now so I drop by Swede Hollow less frequently, but I will call her on occasion from my cell phone when I'm there to check up on her and have a little rendez- vous as though we are having coffee together. I look forward to the warm spring days when she returns and we can sit outside and get a hint of sunburn.