A Little College Nostalgia at an Off-Campus Coffeehouse: Day Sixteen

(Sometimes it’s tough to feel at home in your own city.  Which is why I’ve given myself a challenge:  each day, for forty days, I’m going to find *one* thing I love about this place.  And then I’m going to tell you about it.  If you want to follow my journey, start here.  Today is Day Sixteen.)

Call me crazy, but in November I grow nostalgic for college:  the long nights.  The caffeine-fueled surges of euphoric creativity.  The mounting energy (and anxiety) leading up to finals, and the glimmering light at end of the tunnel… Holiday Break.

I guess that’s why, whenever I feel like getting some serious creative work done, I want to hang around college students.  Catch some of their contagious, work-all-day, who-needs-sleep mentality.  I like getting my productivity fix at Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea in Salem, just across the way from Roanoke College.


This place nails the off-campus coffeehouse vibe.  There’s the usual melange of amateur and professional art on the walls.  The bulletin boards are crowded with rainbow-bright flyers and band posters and advertisements for English tutors.  The clientele’s always dressed in an endearingly haphazard combination of hoodies and flip flops (no matter how cold it is outside), and laptops hum on graffitied tabletops.

Are you into coffeehouse eavesdropping?  ((Don’t judge.))  There’s always plenty of sorority-house gossip and stimulating intellectual conversation here — sometimes both in the same breath.

And of course, there’s the coffee.  Today I’m drinking a “make-whatever-you-like” concoction, made by barista-extraordinaire Devin and the new barista in training, Ellen.

I don’t know exactly what’s in my cup, but it’s tasting pretty good to me.

And I’m grateful.



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