Robert T. Rhode

Robert T. Rhode
Robert T. Rhode

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Coffee Shops 6 (Last Installment in This Series)

Heather’s Coffee and Café in Springboro, Ohio, serves a great latte. Owner Heather Sukola’s motto is “where friends become family.” Without exception, staff members have welcomed me with genuine smiles every time I have walked through the door. Heather’s slogan sets a high standard, and her shop lives up to it.

Latte to Go at Heather's Coffee and Café
In Springboro, Ohio

In Springboro’s historic district, the house features lovely woodwork, warm patinas, and homey feelings. Each room has exactly the right number of tables. The café is not only a hangout for morning coffee but also a destination for light lunch. In the evening, Heather’s is transformed into a party place. Throughout the year, Heather’s hosts live music and offers wine and beer. Such celebrations (for celebrations they truly are) are held in the spacious backyard patio with its tents and umbrellas. The café sponsors numerous other events, as well.

Heather’s Coffee and Café in Springboro’s
Charming Historic District

Recently, I swung by Heather’s to order a latte. Parking was not a problem on the quiet street. Sure enough, the moment I walked through the door, two baristas greeted me with friendly smiles! I was only second in line and soon had my hot coffee in hand. The weather was warm for this time of year, so I chose a table on the patio. Such joy to sip a delicious latte in the fresh air with cardinals flitting among the branches of a nearby tree! Golden leaves of autumn glowed here and there where a breezy shower the night before had affixed them. Even though I had gone alone on this occasion, I felt I was in the company of others. I could easily imagine the conversations that had flowed between friends who had sat where I was sitting earlier that morning and who would arrive there later that day. After all, few pastimes are more fulfilling than getting together for coffee at a pleasant café. I felt snugly content, much as a kitten might feel when lapping a splash of cream from a saucer. Gradually, the idea stole over me that I could be sitting within a Christmas card scene with the bright red birds, the light green shrubbery, the shiny black tables, and the bright white cream floating atop my cup of coffee.

My camera could not capture all the blissful elements I just mentioned. As the saying goes, “You would have to have been there.” … and I hope you will be, as Heather’s is worth many a visit!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Coffee Shops 5

“Organic” and “fair trade” are two terms that matter to serious patrons of coffee shops, and Springfield, Ohio, lays claim to a business living up to the best traditions of both. Un Mundo is a logical destination for any customer acknowledging ecological dimensions (environmental and human) of food and drink. And the low-fat lattes are dreamy!

Lattes at Un Mundo in Springfield, Ohio

Un Mundo is in a sunny corner of the spectacular Heritage Center of Springfield. The building is an architectural wonder in a city with more than its share of ornamented edifices to “ooh” and “awe” over. Domes and steeples, columns and carvings, brickwork and stonework! Examples of generations of buildings, private and public, abound!

My dear friend and co-author Eleanor Y. Stewart and I had just selected our table when Director of Collections Virginia Weygandt entered Un Mundo. The Heritage Center houses the first-class museum and research facility of the Clark County Historical Society, and I have relied on Virginia’s expertise for many of my publications. Virginia is no stranger to Eleanor, either. Once, Eleanor and I carefully paged through a year or two of nineteenth-century newspapers from Springfield. I wanted to know if a detail of importance to my research had been mentioned in the newspaper, and Eleanor graciously volunteered to assist me. Throughout the time that we spent with the newspapers, Virginia patiently came and went, bringing us volumes of newsprint from the archives. Virginia is a boon to historians, for she makes their tedious detective work a joy.

Eleanor and I invited Virginia to join us, but Virginia said she had only enough time to place her order and to run back to her post, so we agreed to get together again in the near future. Turning to our lattes, Eleanor and I appreciated their perfection. They were ethereal. Paracelsus (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus) (1493–1541), a philosopher I studied in graduate school, defined sylphs as beings formed from the element of air. Sylphs would find our lattes as heavenly as we found them! They were delectable, like certain candies that are not too sweet but exquisitely satisfying.

Taking Time to Smell the Coffee
At Un Mundo in the Heritage Center
In Springfield, Ohio

After our lattes, Eleanor and I toured the historical society’s museum and felt marvelously entertained—not to mention educated—by the exhibits. Even though I have visited the museum on several occasions, I see many new things on each stroll through the halls. Further, the exhibits change frequently, with only about ten percent of the collection on view at any one time.

I heartily recommend Un Mundo to all who seek a worthy coffee shop!