Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Cup 105: Cafe on the Corner
When: March 8, 2005
Who: Jessica Brakeley
Coffee: Port City Rocket Fuel
Here's a rundown of the Portsmouth area towns and their nicknames:
Somersworth = Scummersworth
Rochester = Raunchester
Dover = Dirty Dover
Portsmouth = Pretentious Portsmouth
The other town either don't rate nicknames, or I don't know them. Scummersworth and Raunchester, but I've lived and worked in Dirty Dover and Pretentious Portsmouth, and I have to say, Dover's alleged dirtiness has been its salvation. Portsmouth looks pretty, but it has become unlivable. The people who run that city should be shot as traitors. They've betrayed the people who lived there in service to the landlords and business owners. Portsmouth was a great city once, but in recent years all efort has gone into atracting more business and tourism with no concern for the people who lived there. Now it is a bedroom community for Boston. The families who lived there have moved to towns like Kittery and Elliot, while the younger people have moved to Dover. Dover may be "dirty" to Portsmouth's clean, but it is the clean of a hooker who's done herself up to attract johns. Beneath the pretty surface is disease, addiction and despair. I'm so glad I don't live in Portsmouth anymore!
Dover, on the other hand, seems to be trying hard not to become Portsmouth. There are concerts in the park that actually seem to be for the people who live in Dover, instead of the same musical every night all summer long that Portsmouth puts on to entertain the tourists. There are affordable restaurants and pleasant people. And there is the Café on the Corner, where people gather for good coffee and pleasant coversation. Sure, there may be places like that in Portsmouth, but in Dover there is a pleasant lack of people who are out to be seen, who are more concerned with how they are dressed and who is looking at them than with actually enjoying life.
The Café on the Corner is a microsm of Dover. It is a big place, but not so big that it feels cold. Windows wrap around the whole place so you can see the entire corner it takes its name from. It isn't that pretty a view, but the openness is nice. And you can see Baldface Books acrosss the street on the other corner. Used bookstore fans, Dover is worth a special trip just for Baldface books! There are rooms and rooms of books. If I hadn't already gone broke on the bookstores in Portland, I would have done it here! They also have CDs and a great vinyl selection, too. So you can pick up something good to read, then go hang in the big, comfy chairs at the Café.
The coffee at the Café made me happy. Of these past hundred-odd cups the coffee here was the best. The coffee was Rocket Fuel, from Port City Coffee Roasters out of Portsmouth (Port City, The Friendly Toast, and Jumpgate, a scifi/game/comic book store are Portsmouth's three redeeming qualities). Port City, as I've said before, is the best coffee roaster I know of within a day's drive. It was a rich blend, deep and authoritative without being agressive, like a kettle drum in an orchestra.
Suprisingly, the coffee here is better than at Port City's own café. Maybe it is the Dover water, or maybe their equipment is better, or maybe it is just the atmosphere. The café is very welcoming. You don't have to be trendy or beautiful (or a young urban professional) to set foot in there. While we were there, a woman hung out with her two kids. In the window seat a grandmother chatted with her granddaughter. College kids lounged in the overstuffed chairs and did their homework. It was a variety of people you just don't see at the cafés in Portsmouth or Portland, for that matter. It was a good place to end our vacation with, and a perfect cup of coffee for the last cup in this blog.