January 31, 2009

Another reason to love Lynchburg - The White Hart

Today was David’s second straight Saturday school so, once again, Kim and I had to figure out what we should do with four hours of our time while we waited for him to serve his time. Last week we headed to the cemetery to take some pictures. You may remember the dark and moody sky last week. This week, we went straight to my favorite coffee shop—The White Hart & Inklings Bookstore.

Kim has been working on the Gelina family geneology online, so she took her laptop with her to take advantage of The White Hart’s free wifi. I took my camera and my laptop so I could work on some new Photoshop techniques.

I have become a big fan of The White Hart’s caffe lattes—especially when they are made by my favorite barista in the whole world—Elizabeth. Next time you’re in Lynchburg and visiting The White Hart, order a caffe latte. If she's there, be sure to request that Elizabeth make it for you. She’s an artist of the highest order.

But this brings me to the topic at hand—another of the myriad reasons that we love Lynchburg. The White Hart coffee shop and its associated bookstore Inklings is a unique place that just exudes Lynchburgness. (Okay, I made that word up, but it says what I want it to say.)

My favorite barista, Elizabeth

I mentioned last week the wonderful conversations happening at the tables around us as we sipped our drinks and read our books. That is the regular course of action at The White Hart. But today we noticed a new dynamic.

A few homeless men came into the shop this morning. They were greeted by a few of the folks who were sitting together sharing conversation at the tables. We had heard a few of these folks discussing the book they are studying in their Sunday school class at church. When these homeless men came in, a few of the folks at these tables went to the counter and order coffee for these men. The White Hart's coffee is very high quality and a bit expensive. But after watching this happen a few times, we realized that they view this as a ministry.

There were quite a few folks who obviously knew each other. They were sitting at a few different tables. Each time one of these homeless men came into the shop, they would greet them and talk to them and buy them some coffee. We were very impressed.

And this is an interaction that seems to us characteristic of the people of Lynchburg, Virginia. The people of this city seem to have a genuine concern for others. This is especially seen toward others who are in particular need, as we were when we first came to Lynchburg and they rolled the red carpet out for us.

So now you've heard what I have to say about this fantastic coffee shop and bookstore. But what is The White Hart/Inklings all about from their point of view? Here’s the description from their web site:

Inklings Bookshop is in its 13th year. We are now opening The White Hart, where we will combine the sale of books with a café, coffee shop, and live music venue.

The White Hart offers organically grown and fair-traded coffee with a menu featuring locally grown, organic food products. We feature pastries made in our own kitchen every day. Whenever practical, our ingredients are purchased from local farmers.

The White Hart is a name frequently used in England for some of that nation’s oldest pubs. The image of the white hart or white stag is found in the Arthurian legends, as well as legends from Celtic and other cultures. In some cultures the animal may appear as a reindeer or a unicorn. The appearance of a white male deer is symbolic of the presence of the numinous or divine. The legends of the conversions of St.Eustace and St. Hubert include an appearance of a white hart displaying an image of a cross between its antlers. [Read more]

[And more]

Inklings Bookshop &
The White Hart Cafe

1206-1208 Main Street
Lynchburg, VA 24504

King Richard II used the device of a white hart in his arms. [More]

We hope that Inklings Bookshop & The White Hart will be a kind of “third place” for the Lynchburg community, where one can relax, visit with friends, enjoy some good food and drink, find an interesting book, and hear good music. Please let us know how we can make this a place for you.

As you can see, The White Hart and Inklings bookstore is a unique place. But I also love it because of its location. It’s directly across the street from the fantastic Lynchburg Market on Main Street, Lynchburg. All the photos in this post were taken either inside The White Hart or on Main Street within three blocks of the shop.

A very nice camera shop is at the opposite end of the three blocks, so I walked to the camera shop while we were waiting for David’s Saturday school to end. On the way to the camera shop, I took a few pictures of the unique eclectic architecture to be found in Lynchburg and a few pictures of holly leaves and berries.

I just can’t say enough about The White Hart and how enjoyable it is to spend a few hours there if you have the time to do so.

It’s great to live in Lynchburg!

By the way - As I was walking to the camera shop, I noticed an old office building with some missing windows. It appeared to be under some stage of ongoing construction and it caught my attention. As I focused my camera on a few of the windows, I noticed a cat sitting on one of the window sills. The cat seemed very interested in what I was doing, so I took its picture. I didn't get a model release. Hopefully it won't mind.

Click this picture for high res version

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