On my day off work, I like to spend quality time doing absolutely nothing, and occasionally mix in treating myself to brunch & coffee not made by my keurig. This week I took myself on a day date to my favorite French bakery, La Farm, and followed it with a stop into a new local artisan shop/coworking space/coffee shop, Gather. And when taking yourself out, a dress & heels & feeling pretty enough for a grainy mirror selfie are sort of necessities...in my opinion, anyway.
La Farm has the most amazing bread & lattes & French macaroons. Everything else is yummy too, but for me, these are the defining perfections. The owner is from France, and everything is fresh made & delicious. There's outdoor seating and a cat who has decided to call the sidewalk out front his home - they've even put out food dishes for him. I had a BLT minus the T and sat next to the flirtiest 10 month old baby, which made my day that much better, my recent venture into life as a non-nanny having left a baby-sized void.
Since I was in Cary, I decided to stop back into Gather. I had gone to their grand opening last weekend, and while it was fun and beautiful, it was so very crowded & I wanted a second chance to look around & learn more about it. It's a pretty amazing space - retail, coffee & local creative entrepreneurs coexisting in a store front with a remarkably comfy & home-like atmosphere. I decided another latte was a must, and chatted for a while with Casey, the sweet lady behind Gather's in house coffee shop, Grounds. She uses beans from Raleigh Coffee Co., and also owns Undergrounds, a coffee shop inside the NC Museum of History in downtown Raleigh. It felt like sitting at your favorite quite bar & talking with your bartender, something I've never experienced in a coffee shop. And the latte was perfect.
I was also fortunate enough to talk with Michelle, the owner of the space, for a bit & hear her mission behind Gather. As well as being an amazing artist herself, featured in places such as Anthropologie, Real Simple & West Elm , she's also the brains behind The Rock & Shop Market, held annually in Durham. She spoke about her passion for helping budding creative entrepreneurs towards success, and creating a network of local like-minded people as well as a place for those people to come together, meet & collaborate, and empower & encourage one another and their work. There are leased studio spaces in the shop, and also a co-working program that sounds like such a wonderful opportunity.
I think my favorite part is the classes offered - as their website says, "Gather’s line-up of classes covers DIY, gardening, food and business and promotion intensives geared towards niche artisan entrepreneurs." I signed up for a handlettering class this month with the talented Joel & Ashely Selby of This Paper Ship! I love the idea of local artists & creative business owners hosting these unique community learning classes. I'm eyeing a few more in the line up, including Buttercream Basics: the Art of the Layer Cake with Sweet Melissa Cakes & Branding and Packaging with the Dapper Paper Co.
The shop part of the space features a few local artists at a time, and everything available right now is beautiful. My wishlist is quite long, but I did go ahead and pick up a couple prints, made by Jordan Grace Owens who I met at the grand opening and makes simply adorable things. Gather has definitely been added to my list of local places I love, and I can't wait stop in again.
Of course I brought macaroons home from La Farm, and might've had a little bed picnic whilst admiring my new prints. It was a day well spent, one that left me feeling inspired and refreshed as a good day off should.