today i had the afternoon to venture around our latest stop – traverse city. this town is so beautiful. it’s right on the bay with plenty of local shops and local food initiatives. my bike and i traveled around for a bit looking for a good lunch spot and stopped at 9 bean rows – a small farm and artisan bakery.

bakery + farm = best of all worlds. (at least in my book.)

plus, they are currently home to the Great Northern Roasting Company. could not get better than that. i had a cup of black decaf Mexican coffee; my first cup of coffee in awhile. it was a pour over and it was perfect. actually it was the best decaf i think i’ve ever had, not over-roasted like most decafs.
i bought a bag for Alli Miller to continue our non-tradition. i send her a bag of coffee from every stop on my travels. she has received packages containing one pound bags of coffee from NYC, Puerto Rico, Chicago and Thomasville thus far. really every place i find an independent coffee shop i love and want to support i support by sharing the goods. i told her to let me know when she tires of receiving random coffee from me, but i don’t expect she will.

another great thing about 9 bean rows is they had terrariums on display. which made me miss Stephan Monteserin. found out that they were from a Terrarium Bar a few blocks down which i headed over to right after lunch. really interesting concept in 3 parts:
1) build your own terrarium
2) have them build you a custom terrarium
3) traditional florist of sorts

they also host parties, such as bridal showers. and of course you could just stop in and get materials for building your own terrarium at home. very creative business model; diversifying to survive and fill the niche. it’s one way to make doing the thing you love a reality. (insert awkward picture of me that someone in the shop was nice enough to take on their phone and email to me! friendly mid-westerners.)

fun fact about me is that i, like my mom and gramps, never meet a stranger. i asked the girl behind the counter, Kirsten, what to do around Traverse City. she joined me at the table with plenty of suggestions until her mom and grandmother walked in to eat. in which they proceeded to tell me all the great things about this town of theirs. they were a wealth of information. Sunday will be another solo adventure day for me and i plan to head down by the river, per suggestion, and see what i can find. that and to buy some chocolate.