Books, gardens, coffee…(continued)

With less than a week left here, I want  to finish sharing some coffee, gardens and favorite small businesses with you.

One of the first places we went for coffee when we got here was The Rock Espresso Bar. We saw it while taking a walk and decided to check it out.

The Rock Espresso Bar

The interior was clean but somewhat stark, the barista friendly.

Friendly Barista

Friendly Barista

The coffee was excellent. I love a good bagel but few live up to the bagels of my childhood memories when on weekend mornings dad would pick them up, still warm from the oven. The one I had here was incredible, perfectly fresh and just the right degree of crusty and chewy. It was served open face with cream cheese and a topping of fresh ripe tomatoes, avocado, pico de gallo and fresh cilantro if I recall correctly. The tomato was freshly picked from the barrel in the below photo and there were herbs from the garden, too.
2374 (1024x768) We sat outside in the garden to enjoy our coffee and food, surrounded by herbs, vegetables and flowers, all used in the kitchen. Earlier this week, I stopped in to take a photo of the garden and it had been cleaned out with new planting beginning so it didn’t look as lush as it did in the fall.
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Garden shelter

Garden shelter

Coming from a farm community without a coffee bar, we are overwhelmed with the choices for coffee here and still haven’t tried them all.

The second place we tried, which really felt like home to us, was Top Dog Coffee Bar.

Top Dog

Top Dog

It’s cozy and comfortable and we enjoyed live acoustic guitar music the first afternoon we stopped in. They have an interesting menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and fresh-baked goods.

Morro Bay is a very dog friendly community

Morro Bay is a very dog friendly community

2461 (1024x768) 2463 (1024x768) Inside the tables are a bit close and it can get loud at times, but in the back there’s a quiet garden with numerous comfortable, intimate spots for reading or quiet conversation.

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Through a new friend here, we were introduced to a curmudgeonly group of artists, musicians, intellectuals, bikers and other odd-ball but interesting folks. Just the sort of folks I enjoy, but they gather to solve the world’s problems much too early in the day for me. Later in the day,  I  feel right at home in the curmudgeon corner later and one never knows what character will wander in the door.

Curmudgeon Corner

Curmudgeon Corner

The next garden, doesn’t come with coffee or snacks, but Beads by the Bay tempts with all its beautiful sparkly beads, chains, findings and other shiny bits but I simply can’t find time for yet another hobby. Susan helped me put together a special gift for my friend and neighbor who has been patiently responding to the frightening and ear-splitting false alarms of our security system and sharing custody of Scruffy, our semi-feral cat. I can’t say what the gift is, but it’s something very interesting and something I’ve never seen before. I like the unique.

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Just a hint of the treasures within.

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Behind this glittery shop is a peaceful garden with a Koi pond (inhabited by goldfish with big dreams), garden art, organic herbs, succulents, sedums , tillandsia, bonsai, pottery and more for sale. The garden boasts a Psoralea pinnata, sometimes called Grape Kool-Aid Bush. I would love to see and smell it in bloom.

Koi Pond (the sign has a story)

Koi Pond (and Taco Temple sign, perhaps with a story)

In my next post, I’ll tell you about Taco Temple, what it is, why I went there last night, and if I can do a little detective work today, perhaps an interesting story about why the sign is here.

The little garden cottage (up the steps in the below photo) is used as a classroom and also is open for informal beading groups or anyone who’d like to work here.

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The last “garden” I want to mention is The Garden Gallery, a remarkable two-story complex which rambles here and there with many small  areas or “shops” with artfully displayed home accessories and a large outdoor area of pottery, fountains and a mind-boggling assortment of succulent plants, most of which, to my disappointment, wouldn’t be hardy in Oregon. The plants are beautiful, all healthy and well maintained, dead-leafed, etc. (well, as much as cacti could be). I’ve only a few photos to share, enough to give you just a taste of what is there.
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Hope you’ve enjoyed sharing a bit of Morro Bay and thanks for joining me on my journey. If time allows before I leave, I’ll have one more post about where regular people eat in Morro Bay, and I’d also like to show you some beautiful and interesting plants I’ve seen on my rambling walks around town. By the weekend, I’ll be heading north and then blogging from home, New Leaf Garden at the Porter-Brasfield House in Oregon.

Books, gardens, coffee…

Morro Bay not only has some of my favorite things, but it also blends them in a most delightful way. Despite the drought, volunteer groups keep gardens going in almost every vacant lot, parking strip, street planters, around public buildings and on private land loaned for that purpose.  Many businesses have gardens including a bead shop that displays garden art for sale in a cozy space behind the store. Two of my favorite coffee cafes have lovely sheltered gardens behind them that are great places to sip while reading or catching up with Facebook friends. Even on cool breezy days they’re comfortable.

Next door to one of the coffee cafes is a wonderful, small independent bookstore,  Coalesce Books, with a lovely garden and garden chapel that is used for weddings, concerts and other events.

Garden Entry

Garden Entry

The bookstore was founded in 1973 by two young women from Oregon. Just outside of the store is a sidewalk chalkboard donated by the Morro Bay Public Art Foundation. Often it will have very literate graffiti but occasionally somebody wanders by from the local saloon. The teensy mailbox on the left side of the chalk board holds colored chalk for passing artists and poets.

Graffiti Chalk Board

Graffiti Chalk Board

The book store carries a wide variety of books, new and used, features local authors, but is perhaps a little heavy on the “new age” and metaphysical, at least for my taste. They also have music and a nice selection of greeting cards and small gifts.

Cozy Reading Corner

Cozy Reading Corner

Another quiet corner

A quiet spot for browsing...

A quiet spot for browsing…

And many photos of the peaceful garden:
2156 (1024x768) 2155 (768x1024) 2153 (1024x768) 2152 (1024x768) 2150 (1024x768) 2148 (1024x768) 2146 (1024x768) 2145 (1024x768) 2144 (1024x768)I hope you enjoyed your photo visit to my favorite bookstore here. It’s late, so I’ll share some of the other gardens around town with you in a future blog post.