As soon as I walked up to Caffe Driade, I could tell that it was a very special place. Down a short gravel path off a busy main street in Chapel Hill, this cafe is like walking into a different world. It's a calm, green oasis - an immediate respite for computer-weary eyes. Cafe Driade backs up to Bolin Creek Trailway. I can't actually think of anything better than going out for a walk in the woods, culminating in a lovely rest at Driade. The inside is fun and quirky, but most of the seating is outside. There's a front and back terrace as well as a lower level, meaning there's ample space to both get together a sizable group of friends or tuck yourself into a private corner table for one. My favorite time to visit Driade is at night - the humidity of the Carolina summer fades away, the terraces are lit up with twinkly lights, and crickets chirp around you. Heaven while enjoying a glass of wine.
Wine? Yep – Driade is a full-service place. Coffee, tea, craft beer, soft drinks, and wine – something to keep everyone happy. The pastries come from Guglhupf, and they typically have a decently large selection. And yes – everything is amazing. You can get loose-leaf tea in a press pot, which, let’s admit it, is the most fun way to drink tea. A small pot is only $3, and will yield about 2 1/2 cups of tea. Lattes come in bowls – yes, bowls. That’s my kind of coffee place.
It’s worth noting that Driade doesn’t have free wi-fi. You can purchase access, but I suggest you embrace it – Driade is the perfect place to really crack down on a writing or reading assignment without Facebook distractions. Or go old school – bring a notebook or sketchbook and just let your mind wander. This is the place to do it.
One of the most fun things about Driade is that you really can’t tell who is a regular, who is an employee, and who is a first-time customer – as soon as you walk in the door, it feels like you’re family. Kids run around outside gleefully while their parents enjoy a much-needed coffee, old friends get together for long, loud, laughing conversations, and nerdy-looking scholar types pretend to study but are really just soaking in the atmosphere.
What you’re drinking: The coffee is amazing, but the real hidden gem here is the Driade Shake, made with La Providencia ice cream – the best espresso ice cream you’ll ever taste.
What you’re eating: Get a classic croissant with jam. The simplicity is exactly what you want here. The macaroons are pretty fabulous too.
What you’re listening to: Caro Emerald, City and Colour, or Miles Davis. Just trust me.
What you’re reading: Thoreau. Cliche, yes, but it works.
What you’re looking at: You’re staring into the woods, readjusting your eyes to the strange phenomena of sunshine, fresh oxygen, and trees.
Bonuses: Live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and a rotating art display!
This post was originally published at my previous blogsite, www.coffeemehappy.wordpress.com