Dave and I heard a new term today, May-cember.  It describes the sheer chaos of the month of May, like December in the run up to the holidays and the new year. We have been spending our afternoons watching the last sports games of high school. Our house has been preparing for AP exams and Prom. And very shortly the original Coffee House kids will be graduating from High School. We couldn’t be happier for them. These big life markers for the kids have had us reflecting on our families and the greater community that has helped us get them to the finish line.

 

Here at the coffee house we always feel May is a critical month, new menus, new protocols, deep cleans. Is the staff ready for summer? It’s a month where we get set up and ride the wave straight through October. When the kids were little there was always help if we needed to work weekends. There was a pick up truck at the ready if we needed to move equipment. Someone was willing to help with a construction project. Thank you for rallying around so we could continue to grow, and we sure have grown! The company has grown, the kids have grown, our staff has grown!!  

Dave and I love the history and culture of “Coffee Houses”. They have always been hubs of social interaction, intellectual exchange, and community building. Originating in the Arab world during the 15th century, coffee houses spread across continents, from the Middle East to Europe and beyond. In Istanbul, ancient coffee houses became bustling gathering spots for merchants, scholars, and travelers, fostering spirited discussions on politics, philosophy, literature, and commerce. This trend continued with the rise of coffee houses in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, attracting artists, writers, politicians and revolutionaries. These establishments served as catalysts for cultural and intellectual discourse, shaping the course of history by incubating revolutionary movements and social change. Moreover, the inclusive nature of coffee houses, welcoming individuals from all backgrounds, contributed to social cohesion and the emergence of vibrant cultural movements aimed at advancing equality and social justice. Today, coffee houses continue to serve as vital spaces for community building and social engagement offering  a little sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of daily life. People can come together to connect and collaborate in an increasingly digital world. We always say that if you want to get something done, you need to be at the coffee house before 7 AM. You’d be joined by the contractors, electricians, surveyors, real estate agents getting their coffee.  In the afternoon we are the study place, the work office, and meeting place.  

This past spring our community rallied so beautifully to help the folks that lost their homes in the condo fire in Thornton. Our Kitchen Manager, Becky and her husband Preston, lost their home with five other families. They walked away with their dog and the clothes on their backs. It was devastating for this young couple.  Our Coffee House Community was right there. The generous outreach to them included offers of financial support, donations, and furniture.  The staff donated tips, people came in with gift cards, and clothes. Some had offers for temporary housing. It was humbling to see the support.  Our community helped six families rebuild their lives. People dropped off gift cards and money. Runner’s Alley in Concord donated sneakers and clothes. The town of Thornton collected clothing, home goods, dog food, and more to get these folks going. We know Becky and Preston will bounce back much faster because of the care and support they received from you all. 

 

We saw the community connection in the run up to “Town Meeting”. The dining room was buzzing with town talk. Who was running for office? What articles were drawn up? Did you see the road bands were already posted? We are a community of small towns, people wanted to know what was happening not only in their own towns, but the other towns too. It affects us through business, the school systems, and family. We learned that residents in Ellsworth start their town meetings off with a Pot Luck Dinner. You may disagree with your neighbor, but having shared a meal together, there is a familiarity and sense of connection that you don’t get in other places.  It’s a key piece to what makes our community so unique.  

 

This winter we brought music back, it was the last piece from the pandemic.  We didn’t know if we were ready, we didn’t know if people would come. Our 2024 Winter Music Series and Apres Ski Sessions were a huge success. We kicked off with Carolann Sebello in December and wrapped up with a blow out show from Senie Hunt in April. It brought vitality back into the coffee house. That missing piece that makes us complete.  What blew us away was the popularity of the Apres Ski Events.  Seeing people piled in, folks sharing the couches, sitting on stools. Some stayed the whole afternoon, some for a song or two. We were all hanging out family style. Because we are a family. Yes, we are a coffee house, but the folks coming in for the third time that day, or the first time ever, feel it. We are a community.  

 

So, when Best of New2024 Best of NH Award Hampshire voted us Best Coffee House in the White Mountains 2024, it’s a vote for all of you.  Dave and I wanted to thank you for the support and community that you bring everyday to our lives.