What a week and weekend! So much to share that this is going to be a long one. Stay with me, it’s worth it.
The Seaport is a fun area to live in. There were free concerts from some of the biggest names in the music industry all summer so long as we opened the living room window. We are mere paces from some of the finest dining establishments in town and the T gets us everywhere else we would want to go. It took a long time to get used to having a 24-7 concierge, the computer lab, and an in-house gym, though. It’s been great fun, but it didn’t truly feel like home until this past week.
I’ve been complaining to Gabe about how much I miss Gulu Gulu Cafe and Jaho in Salem, especially Gulu. Sit down with a book on the big orange couch and coffee comes to you in an endless stream. I spent hours there with novels or my laptop. It’s one of the first places I went when I was considering moving to the area when I was in Maine, the first place I went when I took up residence, and now the place I miss. It helped make Salem feel like home. And I miss that.
I started my search for a place to fill this need on foot Friday afternoon. I had seen Sleeper Street Cafe a few times in the late evening on walks and thought that could work for me. On closer inspection I saw that they have a great deli counter and would be a place to meet someone for lunch, but, alas, they did not have the hours, seating, or reduced price/free refills I was looking for (for anyone who plans on sitting and writing for a few hours, reduced price or free refills is a must). Moving on. Flour Bakery + Cafe has the funky hipster and liberal arts vibe I love. And so does every other hipster this side of town. It is always packed and loud. Great for their business and I visit them when I want a quick cup of coffee on the go or a mug of soup. Another great place to meet people for lunch but, again, not what I’m looking for.
Despite the long line and bustling seating area, I sat with a coffee on Friday at Flour and just watched people, listened in on conversations, and jotted some notes down for story ideas in my journal. I didn’t stay long, maybe half an hour. After clearing my table and grabbing my “adventure bag,” I noticed a sign I hadn’t seen before: Made in Fort Point. Paintings hung from the ceiling. Felted bowls sat on shelves. Original print t-shirts hung on industrial clothes racks. Poetry and comics displayed on tables. I couldn’t have been more drawn in to the store if I had been a metal filing to a magnet.
I still don’t have any concept of how much time I spent in there, but I was enchanted. I had been to Flour a handful of times and never saw this place before. A curtain had been removed and access granted at the very moment I needed it most. I learned, while at the counter purchasing a pair of clay lady bug earrings, that all of the pieces in the store were made by people in Fort Point. Where’s Fort Point? I asked. I was standing in it. I had no idea that I was standing in the middle of an artist Mecca. Bonnie, the woman working at the counter that day, gave me a ton of information on upcoming events and the history of the area. It was in that very moment I felt grounded, tap root down deep and enmeshed in the soil of this place. Bonnie revealed to me the secret I had been in search of, too: the location of the perfect cafe.
As I walked from the FPAC store towards their affiliated cafe, it was as though I had learned the secret paths through the swamp to Avalon. I took a right on A Street, went up rusted metal stairs, and discovered a street high above the others. I walked into the heart, pulsing with life, of the very thing I had needed.
This was the start of the discovery. Part Two will come tomorrow.