Rachel and I spend a lot of our writing time on Capitol Hill. But once and a while we head out to other locations. I found myself recently in the area just north of Seattle, near the University of Washington. On the dividing line between the University District and Ravenna is the Cowen Park Grocery. It’s about two blocks from Roosevelt Avenue and just a little south of 65th Ave N. The neighborhood has a gem of a park, one side Cowen and one side Ravenna linked by a wild ravine. There are restaurants dotted around the area ranging from Indian to Italian, and the Sunlight vegetarian café. There are also plenty of nail salons, and a 10,000 Villages store, an Aveda salon named Caruh, and the Whole Foods. But if you want to write, you might try the enchanting little Cowen Park Grocery, tucked right across from the green grass fields of Cowen Park.
On a soggy Seattle day, it was a total joy to walk into the warm and comfortable Cowen Park Grocery. This coffee shop is attached to the grocery but they both feel separate. There are the requisite pastries and real cakes, quiche and croissants. There are enough places to sit with about 11 modern wood/formica tables and west elm type chairs. I chose a little table tucked next to a long bench along a bank of windows. I like a place where I feel welcome, but I can remain anonymous. This place is big enough that I feel connected, but not so tiny that I’m part of your conversation. Five more tables nestle into the space next to the other windows. On a sunny day, there are tables scattered about the ample outdoor area. The colors in here feel good: warm red ceilings, dark brown and pistachio green walls with warm school-house lights and cracked cement floors adding to the ambiance. When I walked in at 8:45 am, there were plenty of seats available, but by 9, the place had filled up. For a writing group, a few tables would need to be pushed together. I didn’t notice any gluten-free options in the pastry case, but the last time I came, there was a kind of gluten-free granola bar.
Nearby, you can walk to Whole Foods for lunch, and grab another latte at the most hidden Starbucks in the city. Sure, its Starbucks, with a more hurried, more loud, less cozy feel, but this location is pretty nice. Take the elevator to above the Whole Foods at the edge of the upper parking lot, and walk past a few stores to a very nice courtyard that manages to block out the city. I guess all that concrete and light, from being up higher makes me feel like I’ve stepped out of the Northwest and into California.
Across the street from Whole Foods you can browse at East West Books, and or walk about ten more blocks to get lost in a great bookstore, Ravenna Third Place Books. Reviewed here, https://writeinseattle.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/ravenna-third-place-books/. Great bookstores and coffee places are our rewards for living in such a
gloomy wet, cloudy, lush place.