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Tag Archives: NC

Freedom Writer: Taking it outside to Freedom Park

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Freedom Park, Charlotte, NC

I discovered this laptop spot by accident while taking a break from work to enjoy a beautiful spring day. There I was, sprawled out on the grass, savoring my Moe’s naked burrito when I decided just to see if by chance I could get online in Freedom Park.

Photo by Mike D'avria, HelloCharlotte.com

Not only could I get online, but they had their own wireless network! I will say that it was super duper slow, but it allowed me to prolong my cyber splendor in the grass rather than return to the South Charlotte Caribou where I’d set up camp for the week (a great chain find, but that’s for another post). I’m just glad I was fully charged—obviously nowhere to plug in at a park. But you can’t beat the atmosphere: fresh air, no obligatory purchases, blades of grass between your toes while you type. And in my case, a jogger going by periodically singing at the top of her lungs to her iPod. You go, girl!

I lived in Charlotte for five years and had no idea. Does everyone know about this or have I unearthed a remote workers’ best kept secret?

Freedom Park, 1900 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC

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Izzy’s Coffee Den

Izzy’s Coffee Den in Asheville, NC

“Den” is the perfect word to describe this Lexington Avenue coffee spot. It’s dark, cozy, and inviting if you’re not intimidated by the cool, hipster clientele (which I always was… until now).

COFFEE: They brew Counter Culture, one of my favorite brands. And if you drink your coffee there, you get it in a large mug for only $1.25, and 50 cent refills (It’s $1.50 for a 12-oz cup if you grab it to-go). I’ve had their French Roast, which is amazing. But today, I felt adventurous and tried the Ethiopian blend. Not bad, but I’m sticking to what they describe on their menu as “the dark stuff”.

VIBE: Punk music blares from the speakers… everything from Weezer and Lou Reed to other bands that I’m not hip enough to know (as evidenced by my use of the word “hip”). I actually like listening to punk music while I work. I can somehow tune it out and at the same time absorb its energy to help me focus. The local artwork adorning the walls is chaotic with a hint of psychotic. I’m personally drawn to this piece that I can only describe as some sort of deranged rabbit on a bicycle, lovingly titled “Snuggles”:

And I’m always a fan of places that use creative ways to distinguish between the men’s and women’s restrooms:

They advertise live music, but I’m guessing that’s something that goes on later in the evening and I’m  a morning person when it comes to cafe working. You have to appreciate local businesses that support local art and music!

FOOD: The food section on their menu could just as easily be called BAGELS. They keep it simple, selling Brueggers bagels, priced according to shmear: butter, cream cheese or hummus. I prefer my bagels made in-house, but this isn’t a bakery. I’m here for the coffee and computer time and Izzy’s accomplishes those two things quite well.

BEER & WINE: If you prefer more than a caffeine buzz while you work (and really, who doesn’t?) they have a small albeit decent selection of beers, and I believe I saw one wine option.

INTERNET: They post their password on the counter. It’s fast, free and I didn’t have any connection problems.

A couple of years ago, they opened a second location in West Asheville, which I’ve yet to check out, but it’s on my list.

Izzy’s Coffee Den, 74 N Lexington Ave, Asheville NC 28801

The Green Sage Coffeehouse and Cafe

The Green Sage Coffeehouse & Cafe in Asheville, NC.

I thought I’d start off the reviews with my favorite laptop-friendly locale in downtown Asheville.

During the doldrums of winter, I leave the comforts of my loungewear less than any other time of year. Still, at least once a week I go downtown to our company’s Asheville office to check in, pick up packages and use their fax machine and printer (cannot for the life of me get mine to work). But before I go to the office, I stop off at Green Sage. This has become my habitual haunt for a few key reasons:

1. The coffee is good… and reasonable. Does anyone actually sell cheap coffee anymore? At $1.79 for a 12-oz cup of fair trade organic goodness, I consider it a deal. You can’t even get a bad cup of coffee for much less these days. Plus they offer soy milk on their condiment counter for no extra charge (take a cue, Starbucks).

2. Friendly service. I don’t know if I go there enough for them to recognize me, but they’re always smiling and personable. It’s rare that I utter more than a grunt before my morning coffee, but at Green Sage I’m more likely to engage. And they never make me feel like I’m overstaying my welcome. I can work for two hours (sometimes more) on one cup of coffee without any lurking, leering or peering over my shoulder. Probably doesn’t hurt that I always make a point to tip well:)

3. They’re truly green. It’s not just a buzz word they flaunt to attract eco-conscious customers. From a compost and recycling station to the solar panels on the roof, they do everything they can to minimize their earthly impact, and that earns huge points with me.

4. Good food. They use local and organic ingredients when at all possible (see #3) and while my budget won’t allow me to indulge every time I’m there, it’s a treat when I do. I love their breakfast biscuits and the Autumn Smoothie is like sipping heaven through a straw. Insider tip: even when it’s not fall, they’ll make it for you if you ask and the ingredients are there.

I’ve only had Internet connection issues a couple of times, but for the most part I can work uninterrupted and, if I’m lucky, in my favorite chair:

The Green Sage Coffeehouse & Cafe, 5 Broadway Street, Asheville, NC