No one told me that parking my car in D.C. would give me severe anxiety. It’s not because of the traffic or anything like that. It’s because none of the Pay to Park stations work! I had finally found a legal curbside parking space, only to find that I wasn’t really able to make it “legal” because of stupid failed technology’s inability to allow me to pay for it. Seriously, people. It’s almost 2012. We have robots in space and iPads! I don’t think a working Pay to Park Station is too much to ask for. You’d think our nation’s capitol would be much more efficient, right? HA!
For this reason, today’s “Blogging From” post is a combination recap of my time at Idle Time Books and Tryst, all of which was spent playing the game of, “How Long Can I Last Before I Break Into a Serious Sweat Wondering Weather or Not I’ve Received a Parking Ticket I Can’t Afford for Something Completely Out of My Control.”
Thankfully, Idle Time and Tryst are located only a few doors down from one another. I was headed to Tryst because reader Mike Ridley so kindly recommended it as one of his favorite “work in public” D.C. establishments. It was originally my one and only destination, where I was planning to sit and stay a while. But as I made my way up the street, a bright green storefront came into view and there was absolutely no question as to whether or not I was going to go in.
Idle Time; what an ironic store name given my time-limited situation. I really had no “idle time,” but I stepped inside and gave the store a quick browse. It was a pretty standard used book store. You won’t find every single book here but they have a hearty selection of classic literature, non-fiction, science, history, and a few other categories too. They also have a miniature vinyl record section, which is something that for me, will always set any store apart from others. Books and music man. Books and music.
I ventured upstairs where plenty of signs had indicated I would find even more books. And more books I found. A small and simple quirk that added that little extra something to the store was the books that were lined along the stairs. The types of books a store chooses to feature in this kind of fashion give the store character. Judging by their staircase books, I’d pin Idle Time’s character as classically diverse. And of course all things classic are essentially good.
The second floor was warm and inviting thanks to it’s large windows and the sunshine shining through. With a few chairs scattered here and there, the store certainly invites its shoppers to pop a squat and read for a while. Unfortunately I had not been granted the luxury of doing so.
As for Tryst, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to spend some quality time with my laptop there. Although, I don’t know that even if I had had the time I would have been able to, because man, the place was packed. There was not one empty table that I could see. Almost everyone there was either working on a laptop or buried in a book with a highlighter in their hand. Clearly, Tryst is a D.C. Student “work in public” hot-spot. It was a bit loud in there though. I’m not sure if I would be able to concentrate on writing surrounded by so many chatty “studiers.”
Because of my anxiety-induced time limit, I walked up to the to-go counter and ordered a Strawberry Banana Pineapple smoothie. So all I can tell you about Tryst is that it’s crowded on Saturdays, they’ve got some kick-butt artwork on their walls (I spied Dirty Harry), they have decent smoothies, and oh, really good looking men work there. At least three different handsome baristas assisted me with my order and they only made me wish that I could have stayed a while.
Are these good places for reading and writing?
Idle Time: I could see myself getting lost in books pulled from their shelves for hours at time. (That is when I have the time. *Rolls eyes at city of D.C.*) So yes. But it’s not so much a “write in public” place.
Tryst: Yes. Not that I would really know, but everyone else there seemed to be getting some kind of work done.
Bonus Points: Tryst and Idle Time are neighbors on 18th St NW in D.C.’s cutesy Adams Morgan neighborhood. They are like bookstore and coffee shop best friends!
What: Independent Coffee Shop
Where: Washington, D.C.
I’m sitting at a table in the back room of Pound the Hill, a small coffee shop located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Wasthington D.C. This is one of the more, reader/writer friendly coffee shops I’ve come across in the Northern Virginia area. Although, I’m sure there are plenty more here in D.C. Most people here have a laptop in front of them though, so I feel right at home.
The atmosphere here is cute and homey. They have a few big, comfy sofa type chairs in the back room, but the setup mainly includes your typical coffee shop chairs and tables. I ordered their Curried Chicken Wrap. I can gladly say that it is absolutely delicious, as I continue to blog and stuff my face simultaneously. Sorry for the lack of photos, but I was too hungry to even think about photographing my food before chowing down.
I also treated myself to a Honey Pear Iced Tea, (the barista convinced me!) which is the perfectly delightful blend of honey, pear, and of course, tea. The staff here is super friendly and the customers are mostly young DC-ers who are too cool to work within the confinements of their own home’s.
Before I began to blog, I also got some reading done here. It’s a calm, quiet environment. An ideal place to read, write, study, or do whatever it is you need to do that needed to be done in a public setting without being bothered.
Is this a good place for reading or writing? Yes! It’s quiet, almost every customer has their nose buried in a book or their face entranced by a laptop, and the diverse menu of good food makes it almost so you would never have to leave (blog & eat forever!), except maybe for a shower. My only criticism is that even though it’s cute and coffee-shop-like, there’s nothing specifically unique or characteristic about the physical space. You know? There’s no shoe chandeliers or anything like that.
Bonus Points: Their coffee comes from a highly rated micro-roaster and they promise that it’s organic, sustainable, and fair trade. On their website, they even claim to be able to tell you the names of the farmers who harvest the beans that they use. If I ever return, I’m quizzing them! Oh, and they’re pretty tech savvy. Ever seen a cash register in the form of an iPad? Yeah, they have that.