Four years ago, I founded a monthly critique group for children’s writers and illustrators in the seacoast Maine/NH area. We met in the “Roast & Crumb,” a lovely coffee house just off I-95 and easily accessible to our members, some of whom traveled over an hour to attend. Although we’re a small group, I have always looked forward to setting aside two hours every month to focus on my writing and help guide other writers and artists. The coffee house was an important cornerstone to our group, providing a warm and inviting space to meet with friendly faces, especially our dear barista Albert (behind the counter with the hat!) At our meeting today, we learned that the Roast & Crumb will be closing as of November 17th. The owner had been there for 15 years and had been working in the business for 40. It was time, he said. Thankfully, not due to any economic or health crisis. Just time.
I wish the owner and employees all the best, but it’s hard to say goodbye. I have a lot of great memories of that place– the enthusiastic greeting when you see friends walk through the door is the closest I’ve felt to “Cheers” (where everybody knows your name). Not to mention the joy with which I always looked forward to leaving the boys at home with my husband, grabbing a 10 dollar bill from the cookie jar (they only take cash), and indulging myself in a coffee and one of the best breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever had. Even on days like today, when I spent part of the morning by myself writing, I still felt surrounded by friends.
For now, we’re planning to move our meetings to the local public library. It’s a wonderful space, they have a meeting room right next to the children’s area, we can bring coffee from a neighboring shop, and there’s wi-fi. We may even get new members. But it won’t be the same. Go patronize your local coffee shop this week and not just for a take away cup. Sit there and soak in the atmosphere of a small local business. Starbucks is nice on occasion, but it just can’t beat the charm of a good neighborhood haunt.
We’ll miss you, Roast & Crumb.