When I’m writing, I like to get out of my house (unfortunate, as the house is more convenient, cheaper, and keeps longer hours). In general I’m looking for a place where I can spread out, camp out for a few hours, sip a prolonged beverage, and enjoy without being distracted by the atmosphere. I’ve been writing more this month and here are a few of the places I’ve tried to concentrate.
One day last week I went back to Bloc 11 and since I’ve posted on there before, I won’t rehash it all. I’ll just say that if it were closer and parking easier, I’d be there almost daily. There’s always space, the breakfast and coffees are amazing, the vibe is comfortable. The Internet’s not free, but I don’t always want to be online. Alas that Bloc 11 isn’t in Arlington…
Jam N Java, Arlington Center (No website I can find– strike one.)
Visited: Wednesday, January 20, afternoon
I always hope that I’m going to have a fantastic experience at this former Carberry’s… but never have. I wind up there occasionally because it’s very close to my house, has parking, and is an independent.
Atmosphere: Consistently too loud for concentration, thanks to: 1. the blasting Sirius radio, cleverly playing the “coffee house” station 2. large numbers of mommies and toddlers 3. the staff! The staff seemed to be carrying on a raucous banter the entire time I was there. I wear headphones when I work, so if volume is still a problem, it’s a no-go for me.
Internet: Yes. Free.
Cons: My latte was not the greatest… and I definitely watched the woman sneeze while she was making it. (She turned her head, but still.) Then when she handed it to me, she said, “I need to go home… I keep making mistakes.” I wasn’t sure if she was apologizing for the latte being bad, or…? Maybe it was because of the sneeze, or the remnants of a previous snack at my table, but I kept feeling the need to sanitize my hands while I was there.
Pros: Usually not hard to get a table. Outlets available. Soups looked tasty. Close to the bike path. Parking.
Cambridge Public Library (Main)
Visisted: Friday, January 22, afternoon
Atmosphere: Mostly quiet (exception being the occasional obnoxious cell-phone user. Where are old-fashioned librarians when you need them?). Lots of nooks and crannies with tables, outlets, ample space to spread out. Inspirational, being a hallowed hall of writers and whatnot.
Internet: Cambridge Public Internet is available and free.
Cons: Availability of hot beverages. I saw a “knife and fork” sign and thought, if they have a cafe, I could live here… but alas it was only a vending machine, and out-of-order at that. To camp out for an afternoon, I need the availability of food and permission to eat/drink. Got a little rowdy about the time the local high schools got out. But who am I to begrudge teens who want to hang out at a library?
Pros: If I get interested in anything else while I’m there (like today: speaking Dutch or Norse mythology), I can probably find books about it. Parking garage (not sure how much this costs; I didn’t use it) or metered street parking.
Any tips? Earlier this week I was looking for late-night cafes and only found a handful past 10PM, and hardly any past 11PM.