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My love and I started exploring small-town coffee shops last year. On rare weekends when we have no morning commitments, we head out to visit (or re-visit) places I’ve discovered through my foodie feed on Instagram or exploring random places on Google Maps.

Latte Art

Latte at Buggy Town Coffee.

Our favorite spot so far is close to an hour south of us in Carthage, North Carolina. Buggy Town Coffee is a bright coffee shop with a full breakfast menu (and lunch too), creative lattes, loose-leaf teas, and they sell coffeemakers and coffee and tea-themed bath goods. (The coffee cardamom body scrub makes showers yummy!)

Part of our drive out to the coffee shop is on North Carolina Scenic Byways. I know not everyone shares my sentiments, but when I see a barn my stress level plummets. When I see cows and horses, it hits the basement. Our entire drive there passes rolling farmland, fields with tattered hunting blinds, and more cows than I can count. With the trees still out of bloom, I point out every ball of mistletoe flashing green in bare forked branches.

blackout poetry

Blackout poetry made from a local newspaper.

I get so many ideas for stories on these drives. A few months ago I used the local paper to create a blackout poem. A few favorite lines that resulted:

a giant tiny inch

splashing the dark like bourbon

choked beyond luck

I doubt I would have ever come up with those lines if I hadn’t used that week’s local paper that morning we were out there.

Instead of going out to coffee shops with my love or solo, I’m inviting other writers along. My inaugural Country Coffee Prompts is this Saturday, March 25th near Raleigh. I’m keeping the location private and providing it upon registration, but if it helps in making your decision – this coffee shop is located about a 20-minute drive east of downtown Raleigh. We meet at 1PM and we’ll fill 90-minutes with prompt-based writing. The fee is $29 and includes a drink and a pastry of your choice. Register here before end of day Friday.