After having my hair cut last week, I went next door for a sandwich at Canoe Creek Coffee. It's a small, family-run place and something Ashville has needed for a while. Judging by the number of cars parked there most of the time, I’d say business is good.
I intended to work on some blogs while there. I’m planning one about another road trip by Lucy and Ethel, one about the perfectionism of my handyman, and a third about some people whose Christian mission work is helping local folks with chores and trips to the doctor. Those will have to wait, though, while I extol the virtues of our new coffee shop.
The owners, Mike and Alison Bailey, wanted a place where friends could meet in a casual atmosphere for coffee and a chat. They have achieved that and more. I ran into three different people I know in the first half hour of munching on my turkey-and- cheddar panini. One man I had written a Discover magazine article about brought his three little girls in for hot chocolate.
A woman with whom I had been on a mission trip was having coffee and a Danish with her daughter. A friend of hers came in, and it turns out she’s the wife of another guy I’ve written an article on. Meanwhile, a woman who goes to my church came in for eggnog and a box of assorted sweets for a party, took one look at the new lunch menu and decided to have a sandwich.
Canoe Creek’s paninis are to die for, especially those spread with apple butter. They also serve frappes, smoothies and hot tea. Their pastry menu varies from day to day. Alison might make Cheddar Bacon Scones one day, chocolate muffins the next and cookies the next. On this day, they had put out samples of her Luscious Layer Bars. I know they were trying to sell them, but a couple of the bite-size samples seemed plenty for me. Then I felt guilty about having only samples for dessert, so I just had to get a cup of coffee to assuage my guilt. Okay, I admit it, I also bought a layer bar to go with it.
Listening to the women at the next table, I couldn't help but joining into the conversation. That’s what you do in a small town. I learned about one woman's problems finding a doctor in her insurance provider network, about another who wants to go back to work too soon after surgery, and the travails of a teenager who needs a higher grade on her SAT test to get a college scholarship. Fortunately, none of the conversations were what you'd call, "intimate."
I like doing business with local merchants, and I'd really like to see this place succeed. I’m doing my part, at least.