For fresh-roasted coffee beans and an incredible selection of loose teas from around the world, go to Kaffeeklatsch on the courthouse square in downtown Huntsville, Alabama. This is one of those places that just makes you happy as soon as you walk in: jars of coffee beans and tea leaves line the shelves and a helpful and friendly staff will answer any of your questions. The country-of-origin list reads like a coffee who’s-who — Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Yemen, Columbia, Panama and of course the U.S.’s contribution of Hawaii. And tea made from loose leaves tastes so much fresher and more natural than even the best pre-packaged tea bags. Check out the Web site at http://www.kaffeeklatsch.com/. You can order online if you can’t make it to the store.
I want to live in downtown Franklin, Tenn. And have lots of money. Well, a girl’s gotta dream, right? But even without lots of money, it’s still fun to go to Franklin. So many cute stores! Visit http://www.historicfranklin.com/ to learn more about this historic, renovated, shopper-friendly downtown. Some of my favorite stores include Philanthropy, www.philanthropyfashion.com, a clothing and gift boutique full of creative pieces from around the world, like these candles that look and smell unlike any others. You’ll also find jewelry, handbags, notepads, T-shirts, swingy skirts, throw pillows, party goods and other treasures there. Part of your purchase price goes to causes the store supports, so you can feel even better about shopping there.
At the bright and airy Bathos, www.bathosonline.com, you buy soaps, scrubs, lotions, oils and other goodies in a shop set up like an old-fashioned grocery store.
In fact, this reminded me so much of a tiny grocery near my gandparents’ house in Effingham, Ill., when I was little that I felt as if I’d time-traveled there. Other downtown Franklin spots I love to linger in are Rare Prints Gallery, www.rareprintsgallery.com, where you can wander around and admire and learn from the knowledgable staffers who are happy to talk about their museum-quality offerings and Franklin Tea, www.franklintea.com , a calm and serene sanctuary of international tea. Also try Bijou, a home and gift shop with cheerful fabrics and nature motifs. And this was only one block on one side of the street! Everyone is helpful and friendly — a great day or weekend trip for anyone who needs a break.