For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a coffee shop junkie…but I know I am not alone with this. Many of us find just what we need in the right coffee shop, the fun is finding the best one to suit your needs. Maybe you are Starbucks person, or maybe local trendy spots are more your taste. If you are like me, maybe you have never found a coffee shop you didn’t like. I appreciate coffee shops of all types and tastes…from the different aromas, to the different vibes, to the people that make them special, I enjoy them all and love to drink in the inspiration from every uniquely crafted Americano or vanilla latte! It has been a dream of mine for a while to road trip up the California coast, sampling coffees from local spots and then to write and share about my experiences from them with you all. The only problem I currently face with doing this is time. So for now, I will start in San Diego County exploring as many local coffee shops as possible to share with you all!
As a cross country and track and field coach at the University level, being “in season,” as you coaches understand, pretty much eliminates long periods of time to be a vagabond. Right now, we are in the middle of our track season which for me means, six day weeks, ten hour Saturday’s competing and evenings spent wrapping up next year’s recruiting class or finding the new talent. And while coaching is a lifestyle, and a busy one at that, I love it all. I believe coaching chose me because I thrive in fast paced environments and find inspiration from the dedicated young people I work with. Needless to say, while the hustle and bustle of Southern California is perfect for right now, I am still a natural nature girl at heart and crave peace and quiet.
It was a rare morning off when I found myself searching for a parking space in my new hometown of Oceanside, CA. I was planning on frequenting one of my favorite local coffee shops, Pier View Coffee, but had to drive around the corner and down N. Cleveland Street to park. I hopped out of my olive green ’05 Toyota Highlander and took in a deep breath of the salty ocean air…the sunny SoCal rays warmed my face. I was entering what I call, “The pre-coffee bliss phase”, the phase when you know coffee is happening soon and you are already feeling the effects of your perfectly caffeinated concoction. With a pep in my step I zipped down the unfamiliar sidewalk until my attempts were totally thwarted by one word…
Like a cat stopped dead in their tracks with ears perked upright, I analyzed my surroundings and processed this new information. Tranquil Zen-like music floated through the open air laced by the melodic tweets of birds. To the right of a quaint front porch leading to a spa was a small opening to what appeared to be the “café” advertised on the original sign that caught my attention in the first place. It was an elusive little spot off the beaten path, something special and easy to miss. With slow cautious steps, I entered to the right of the surfboard displaying the words, “Succulent Café, Open”. This is the spot one of my athletes had recommended to me! I remember them saying, “Coach Paige, you must try the Succulent Café in Oceanside, it is right up your ally”.
And it was.
Within a second, my reality had transformed…was this the Garden of Eden? My senses were experiencing relaxation at its finest and sensory overload at the exact same time. Clearly where it got its name, beautiful succulents of all kinds stretched their vines and bloomed into the café, bringing magic to every moment and space from every place possible. From planters to baby shoes and window shutters, succulents spilled into the back open alley of the Succulent Café. I was truly speechless and thought to myself, “How have I lived here at all and not known about this place?!” It was perfect for the nature girl in me, and I rewrote my morning plans in an instant so I could drink in the juice of this splendid place.
I was totally captivated by creative expression from succulents…what a brilliant idea! I had to know more and knew I would be back. I could not imagine a more suitable place to channel my inner creative side and to write or blog. After taking more pictures than necessary, I made my way to the artsy little food cart in the back of the café where you order coffee. Behind the cash register was an Earthy young woman with a great smile named Ashley. She was genuine and felt more like a friend from another life than a stranger, truly passionate about the café and its purpose.
After introducing myself and gaining permission to blog about the café, Ashley shared with me the story of the owner and the vision for the Succulent Café since it opened three years ago. I asked if local music ever frequents their spot because they have a whole back patio. The owner has found that the average customer actually prefers the current vibe, which is peaceful music quietly floating through the calm air. This provides a tranquil social setting for coffee addicts like myself, and I think he is on to something.
The Succulent Café offers latte lovers an atmosphere that hums a lullaby for adults, amidst a succulent sanctuary away from the busy heartbeat and pulse of Southern California. If you are looking for a place to catch your breath and breath in nature alongside your cup of joe, look no further than the Succulent Café in downtown Oceanside. Your senses will thank you, and you will quickly understand what makes this community unlike any other.
Peace, love, coffee,
P.S. Leave your credit/debit card at home and bring your cash to support this local business!