As I have been working with my thesis (and have been for years it feels like), I have found a few fun places to study, write and read. I am not a big fan of Starbucks. Partially because it is because I am not a coffee fan, partially because I often dislike the things that everyone loves, and partially because I don’t find them that cozy. But if you like them, more power to ya! But if you want a new unique place to sit and work and enjoy, try these places out.
I’m starting with a place you probably know and love for their tasty chicken and delicious lemonade. But did you know this place is the perfect place to read a book in leisure.
Order a meal or a drink or a milkshake (mmm….) and sit down. If you are there at a busy time in a busy location, you might need to hover to get your order. But if you’re there at a good time, you can sit down (I think they give you a number) and sit down in a comfy booth. Now if you are there to work on the computer either A. Look for a outlet or B. Own a computer with a good battery. I’ve had trouble finding outlets at Chic-Fil-A, but often you just have to scout them out. But let’s say you can’t even find an outlet. Just have a nice book handy.
They will deliver your food, and ask you if there is anything else you need. You can eat your wonderful food and once you are done, they will come and take your tray, and ask if there is anything else they can do. I you run low on your lemonade, they will fetch you a refill and see if there is anything else you want. This is truly a service establishment where the customer comes first. I do believe it is because of their Christian foundations and the importance of serving and caring for others.
You can sit like a king or queen for hours and constantly get refills of awesome lemonade or dee-licious sweet tea. Enjoy your time there and “eat mor chikin!” (Especially the Spicy Chicken Sandwich- my new favorite)
2. Cafe Jitterbug
If you want a coffee shop with a different fee to it, try Cafe Jitterbug over on Mason Road, near the Houston Premium Outlets around Fairfield. You step inside and find it very simple and neat- a few tables and chairs, some bookcases, a counter with large menus overhead. It is really quite simple, and that is part of its charm.
I sat here for hours on my first visit and saw people come in and out– teenagers, young moms with their kids in tow, lady’s groups, businessmen, elderly individuals, preteens, young adults– each on straggled in and 9 times out of 10 it seemed that they knew the workers and were known as well. There is a nice community here, and there is culture here as well. They have small groups meet at the cafe, including “Socrates Cafe” a “Philosophical Discussion Group.” There is also live music there, giving musicians a chance to showcase their talents. There is also art and photography found throughout the shop, ready for sale. The bookshelves have games to play and books and magazines to borrow.
There is a smorgasbord of gelato flavors before you as your stand at the counter. The menu holds options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have quite enjoyed my snacks there, such as their muffins and smoothies. And if you don’t want to order that much, you are still provided with excellent service. One day I ordered some water and a chocolate muffin. I expected a plastic cup of water and a dry muffin. But this is what I got.
Huge Carafe of Ice FILLED water, fancy wine glass to act all fancy with, and luscious chocolate muffin drizzled with chocolate syrup. Wow.
Throughout my visit, they offered to reheat my muffin if it had gotten too cold and they checked up on me to see if I needed anything else. The wi-fi is free, and they are clever with the password- It always is a reference to the upcoming musician they are featuring in the near future.
The people come in and out, but are never a distraction. Instead it is heartening to see a local community of people enjoying this excellent cafe and keeping it in business. I am glad to help out as well, for it truly is a wonderful place to study.
Check them out: http://cafejitterbug.com/
3. Lanier Theological Library
Go ahead and head over to www.laniertheologicallibrary.org/. I can’t do it justice with my feeble words.
This place was set up by Mark Lanier to provide a theological library to the people of Northwest Houston. It is hidden away on his property near Cypresswood, with gates that supposedly close off the library to the public. It is not so exclusive, however. If you want to visit during business hours, merely give them a call and they will buzz you in at the gate. After you visit and fall in love with the place (and you will fall in love with Lanier), you can become a patron of the library FOR FREE, which means you can simply call and say you are coming to study whenever you drive up to the gates.
Inside the gates is a lush green landscape filled with bushes and trees. You will drive over a small railroad track that the Lanier Law Firm makes use of at their annual Christmas party. You will park and notice a few buildings off to the side. If you take a stroll through a doorway in a wall, you will suddenly find yourself in a European village, complete with hand-shaped buildings and crooked cobblestones underfoot. If the weather is right, nice and cool, you can trick yourself into thinking you are in Spain or France or England. Walk further along and you will find the Stone Chapel, a replica of a 500 AD Byzantine chapel with gorgeous interiors and stunning art on the ceilings. As you exit, you will notice to your right is a path that will lead you further onto Mr. Lanier’s property (which I explored once, but found a point where I decided I might be trespassing). On your left is the library. Yes, I am just now getting to the library. You enter.
Beautiful designs and ambient lights hang above you. Dark, rich woods surround you on all sides. Before you is a collection of biblical artifacts and documents. There are rows upon rows of books. There is a catwalk that stretches around the second level. Spiral staircases stretch upwards. There even more books. The library has a capacity for 120,000 volumes– and it seems near that amount. There are couches and cozy leather chairs, window seats that wrap around custom built wood tables. Fireplaces and exquisite lamps light the interior. Art and maps hang upon the walls. You settle down in a window booth (or at least I do) and make yourself comfortable.
There is a kitchen with drinks in a fridge where you can store your lunch. There is a copier and scanner and printers that can be used. You can walk throughout the entire library and explore its contents. You can also request the library to obtain a certain volume, and they will attempt to do so! The library specializes inarchaeology, biblical studies, church history, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Egyptology, linguistics, and theology, but it also numbers of texts on other topics. And the wi-fi is free!
I could go on and on about this treasure, but you get the picture. Visit. Become a patron. Fall in love with the place each time you come. I do.
(By the way- there is a TARDIS out in garden. Oh yeah.)