Loodles Coffee, Books, & Art

My Saturday morning wanderabout has turned into an all day coffee shop cruising event.  After having lunch at Bruce’s Bar in Severance, Colorado, it was suggested to me that I find Loodles Coffee Shop in Windsor before heading back. 

Located on Main Street in Windsor, Loodles is in an attractive small strip mall near the medical center and Hospice.  The front entrance is off main street and showcases an attractive patio decorated with lights.  Even before walking in it has a tiki bar feel to it.  Upon entering the front door, you find that tiki bar coffee station in front of you. 

Once room has a study-library theme going for it, with a large flat screen TV on the wall.  I was please to find the room quiet without the TV on.  A couple women were reading some books from the shelves and a man was busy on his laptop.  It’s a pleasant, quiet room – a great place to sit on the couch and read a book.

In the main coffee shop is a double sided gas fireplace.  I planted myself on the secluded side – where there are only two chair available – one for me and one for my baggage.  Located above the fireplace is a very unique selection of children’s books.  Upon looking closer at the books, I found they were written by the coffee shop owner, Mark Ludy.

Ahh….a little investigation after another cuppa, and it all begins to make sense – coffee, book, and art.  Mark is an author and illustrator of children’s books.  Now that I have a clue, I’m checking out his artwork and find it very fun and whimsical.  You can find his work at www.markludy.com

What a wonderful way to end the day….at a coffee, book, and art shop created by a children’s book author and illustrator on Halloween.  I feel like a kid today.

 

 

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Johnstown Java Jams or…Jesus’ Juke Joint?

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Last night I decided that I would start my Saturday morning with a back roads drive, a cup of coffee, my camera, and eventually a small town coffee shop. 

It was one of the few nights I slept past 3 am, and woke up shortly after 5.  I took my time getting ready, but was out the door within an hour.  My first destination was to be a quaint little coffee shop off Taft and Highway 402 in Loveland, but I was unable to find it.  What I did “wanderabout” upon was Schmidt’s Bakery where I found coffee and an apple pastry.  I believe that I was divinely guided to start my day there. 

The sun would be my next destination, so I headed east, finding a road that must’ve been muddy yesterday with the melting snow, which was now frozen.  This took me on a slight incline where I found myself between two fields – one on the east where the sun was just beginning to rise, the other as the foreground to a view of the Rocky Mountains.  Morning heaven.  Coffee, apple pastry, Nickelback in the background, and the sunrise.  Yes, I’m living heaven on earth this morning.

After taking a few moments to enjoy the break of dawn, I hopped back in The Bluebird (my car), and headed toward Johnstown.  I was able to find an eclectic little coffee shop right away – Johnstown Java Jams.  The sandwich board outside caught my eye, so I turned my car around, parked, and headed in for a cuppa.  A non-profit coffee shop that features live music on the weekends.

Dana, the “coffee shop curator” greeted me and gave me a brief overview, but Larry and Bob, a couple of locals, filled me with information about the coffee house.  They referred to it as 3 J’s, and pointed out that it could also be known as Jesus’ Juke Joint and told me about Mississippi Blues roots in that nickname.  Music, coffee, and community seem to be what flows freely and easily here.

This is a non-profit business that benefits everyone, not just the youth in the area.  A retired group meets here on Friday mornings, a young woman who’s working on her undergrad in international business sets up her laptop every Saturday morning, and there’s a group of about eight locals who have gathered around the coffee bar area.  Discussions range from family reunions to economics to the coffee itself.  What’s so wonderful about the conversations I hear is the lack of pity party about the economy and more about how people are looking at making changes to overcome hardships. 

What a beautiful, friendly place to sit and enjoy a cuppa for a few hours, just outside the Land of Love.  I must say, the people here and around the Loveland area are some of the most friendliest I’ve met in Colorado. 

www.3jscoffeehouse.org – Johnstown’s Java Jams!


Russian roasted coffee becomes the American Dream

Dazbog Coffee. I first discovered them in a little neighborhood when I lived in Denver, but didn’t begin to appreciate it until I was spending time in Fort Collins last fall. The one near the Poudre River Trail in north Fort Collins is still my favorite Dazbog.

Today my ‘snowstorm day off from work wanderabout’ took me to the Dazbog at 556 Lincoln in Loveland, Colorado. Unlike the one located on Eisenhower in Loveland, this one has plenty of windows on the west, south, and even east side of their space. I love the light and openness that windows provide. I’ve been here almost three hours, writing, listening to music, playing on Facebook, and watching the snow fall….it’s a beautiful thing.

This coffee roaster/franchise coffee shop is the manifestation of an American Dream by Leonid and Anatoly Yuffa, and is based in Denver, Colorado.  According to the website – www.dazbog.com, the Yuffa family fled Russia to pursue a better life of freedom, democracy, and opportunity.

I don’t know if they have the best coffee, but what I am fond of is the customer service at the few Dazbog locations that I’ve been to. I don’t know if it is the corporation or the franchisees that create the service standards here, but I’ve found the coffee shops to be warm, inviting, and full of color and cultural flavor. For me, a good coffee shop is one that I can sit in for three hours and it feels like only a few minutes.  This visit is fast approaching the four hour mark.


The Merchant Voyage…words are flowing out across the universe.


“words are flowing out across the universe” & “the long and winding road”

The shop owner, Mary, told me that she found some old flashcards and decided to make her own and use phrases from Beatles’ songs. An entire tree was decorated with these phrases and elegantly draped ribbons. I would love to have a room decorated like this, where I could retreat to when I need inspiration, affirmations, or just a dose of whimsy.

Merchant Voyage is a little gift store located on Fourth Street in downtown Loveland, Colorado. Taking up two storefront spaces, you can find books, cards, jewelry, embroidered ribbons, candles, ornaments – whatever you imagine or don’t imagine! It’s a great place to find unique gifts for yourself or others.

Located in downtown Loveland, this is a great place to spend time wandering through coffee shops, restaurants, theatre, galleries, boutiques, and gift shops. During the summer there are many weekend activities from art walks to BBQ events in the streets. It’s a hoppin’ little town just north of Denver and east of the Rocky Mountains.

I feel like I am on my own little voyage, on the long and winding road through life.


Coffee in the Land of Love…


The Loveland Coffee Company could almost be one of my ‘secret garden spots’ in Loveland, Colorado. Located in a small strip mall on 29th Street, I’ve passed it many times without considering stopping. Yesterday I decided to give it a shot and was pleasantly surprised.

Inside I found the decor very pleasing. The colors are are my favorites (actually, all colors are) – warm, dark caramels, olive greens, chocolate browns – colors with food names! Cozy sofas, big chairs, a gas fireplace, and plenty of tables and chairs.

The staff is very welcoming. I’m an in-house coffee drinker and both days was offered to have my cup warmed up. What a nice gesture! This is something I’ve noticed only once before, and that was at Catalyst Coffee in Fort Collins. At Catalyst, they don’t ask, they just automatically warm it up with hot water.

I could live here. In fact, I think I was here yesterday for four hours and today I’ve already been here over two. My comfort level hanging out here might be too high – I don’t want to move. Thank goodness I have dog responsibilities today, otherwise I’d probably be here through the lunch hour.

Although most of the morning they’ve had a full house of in-house and to-go traffic, it never felt too busy. The mix of people flowing through here is both diverse and interesting – farmers, professionals, grandparents with a grandchild, friends, singles, and parents with young children. I love the people watching opportunities here. There are so many beautiful connections that happen here…in the Land of Love…at the Loveland Coffee Company!

This little hideaway is now on the top of my coffee shop cruising destinations!


Cucuru Art Gallery and Cafe

My first visit to this eclectic cafe in Colorado Springs was two years ago. What I remembered about it I liked enough to stop by when I was wandering through Old Colorado City. An art gallery and coffee shop – perfect!

A few changes since I was there last, but nothing that disappointed me. The patio in the back has more seating, they’ve added more music, more tapas to the menu, and it’s still an art gallery. Tango lessons are still available, but unfortunately, I did not have the time to check it out.

While housesitting in Woodland Park, I made two visits to Cucuru Art Gallery and Cafe and both were enjoyable. I met a friend on the second visit and we were able to spend a couple hours catching up without noisy interruptions. Before leaving the cafe, we were able to get a taste of the Bossa Nova band playing.

The owner supports international artists, with a particular love for Cuban art. While I was there, I had just a few moments to check out the paintings, but I was sidetracked by the beautiful display of colorful, beaded necklaces and the molas in a display case. I was in my own little multicultural art cafe heaven – colors, textiles, paintings, tapas, and coffee!

Cucuru Art Gallery and Cafe
Old Colorado City
Colorado Springs, Colorado
http://www.cucurugallerycafe.com


Keep your face to the sunshine…

“Keep your face to the sunshine then you cannot see the shadows….that’s what sunflowers do!” – Helen Keller

Sunflowers are satellite dishes that follow the sun! Always looking up, always following the light…always beautiful! They embrace the sun, absorb the warmth and radiate it all around them in glorious colour…they are sublime! They remind me of our lives…all the choices we make…we can choose to be like the sunflower and and look for the warmth and the light in our friendships, in our work, in what we do. We can choose to be upbeat and positive regardless of the changes happening in our lives.

For me, moving to New Zealand took me out of my comfort zone. You don’t expect to hit 50, have 3 teenage children, and be moving halfway across the world from everything you’ve been accustomed to! It’s a new adventure though, and like the sunflower, I’m embracing it with my whole being. I am the eternal optimist, there is something positive to find in every new adventure…just depends if you choose to look for it or not. The friends I’ve left behind in South Africa will always be my friends. In some ways, being this far away from them forces us to look at our friendships even more. It’s no longer so easy to pop in and visit or pick up the phone and call them. I, and them, have to make a concerted effort to stay in touch…and we do!

I’m making new friends here, too. I have a 6 month old, furry, 4-legged coffee companion called Chocolat who comes on long walks along the sea with me and loves coffee-to-go on the beach. Together, we are making new friends who share our passion for the sea, nature, and all things beautiful!

I am my very own sunflower!

Carol Jardine, New Zealand
coffee shop cruiser