Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Coffee Caravan + Rural Adventuring

Winchester + Middleburg, VA | January 27, 2018

Sometime last summer as I was scouring Instagram for D.C.-centric coffee pages to follow, I stumbled upon a fellow coffee enthusiast, Crystal, who goes by The Cappuccino Traveler and has since last fall run her own monthly Coffee Caravan event - a tour รก la bar crawl of several coffeeshops in Winchester, VA. When I found her page, she was heading to Raleigh and asking for coffeeshop suggestions so I shot her the names of a few of my favorites, and from then on we occasionally chatted over messages. When I moved back up to D.C., she invited me out for coffee with a few other coffee bloggers, and from then on, we've messaged each other back and forth almost daily.

All of this lead up to say -- when the January Coffee Caravan came around and I was actually in the area, I jumped at the chance to join. My love of coffeeshops is well documented on this space, and I was excited to try a few new ones, and of course, drink lots of coffee along the way.

I won't describe the whole experience, but it was such a fun morning. I had the chance to meet Crystal's mom, sister, and brother-in-law, as well as a few other fellow coffee lovers from around the state, and we spent the morning hopping between shops, trying different drinks and snacks, talking to the store owners, and chatting about our favorite types of coffees and brew methods (my mom is probably rolling her eyes right now). My favorite place was Hopscotch Coffee & Records -- the interior decor was stunning, and the coffee was incredible.

I had previously asked Crystal if there were any nearby towns to Winchester worth stopping in, and she suggested Middleburg, a cute little town known for its horses and wineries that's on the way back to D.C. By the time I arrived in Middleburg the weather had turned from overcast to absolutely beautiful - clear blue skies with a temperature of 65 degrees - so the sidewalks were full of pedestrians and shop doors were kept open. I stopped at the town deli for lunch and walked in and out of several of the stores, but mostly just enjoyed the atmosphere.

My route back to D.C. took me through miles of empty roads bordered on both sides by wineries, and I felt myself unexpectedly relax in the midst of a calm environment. I hadn't noticed how much the hustle and bustle of D.C. had started to wear on me until I was out in the rural openness, with gentle, sloping hills on all sides and views of golden fields stretching for miles. I've always liked big cities and have never been a country person, but there's something so peaceful about being all on your own surrounded by a gorgeous landscape. I drank in the views, playing Lord Huron and Dire Straits songs in the background until, all too soon, the rural roads connected with the more crowded highways, and I was back in the D.C. suburbs, preparing for the work week ahead.

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