Ah, how I love a road trip. I’m not going to say that I rely on road trips to fill out my collection of Starbucks site visits, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
Leaving this winter wonderland behind wasn’t too hard…
… to spend the holiday vacationing in Florida. Along the way we came across rising temps and a nice little Starbucks outside of Atlanta. Apparently you aren’t supposed to drive through Atlanta, though I can neither confirm nor deny the horrendous traffic that is rumored to be there. After a couple hundred miles with not a green siren in site, this was a misto I’d been waiting for (which might explain the weird look on my face… or maybe I was in the middle of sentence. Either way…)
What do you call rolling around in the mud with a few hundred people you’ve never met before? You call it the Warrior Dash; I call it a heck of a weekend. For the second year in a row I made a pilgrimage to Johnson Creek, Wisconsin to jump over fire, swim through a murky lake, climb cargo nets and traverse a few muddy mountains. I couldn’t think of a much better way to celebrate than a Warrior Misto from the Starbucks in Beloit just over the state line. This is my second stop in Beloit, and a different store. And this time, I’m wearing this awesome t-shirt.
Well, I’m back on the road to St. Louis for the second time in a week. The Starbucks off of I-55 in Bolingbrook was pretty much the same at the Starbucks in Springfield, with one notable exception:
The cashier appeared nervous. Perhaps he somehow knew that I’m a famous travel writer visiting Starbucks-es around the world (she says sarcastically). Actually, he had cut his hand and I think felt nervous about serving customers. He was wearing a glove (good move), explained to me why he was wearing it…
…to which another barista replied that he was actually imitating Michael Jackson today…
…to which I replied that he would do a better imitation if he studded his plastic glove in rhinestones.
Once you leave the St. Louis area on the way to Chicago, there are no Starbucks-es until you reach our Illinois state capital: Springfield. Not an easy distance, I traversed 60 miles on zero caffeine convinced that I’d see a siren along the way, to no avail. So this Grande Misto was one of the tastiest I’ve had in a long time – if for no other reason – because it happened to be my first cup of the day…..
In fairness, this Starbucks was clean, fast, and friendly. They didn’t overfill my personal cup, which has happened a lot lately. Right next door to the Starbucks is the adorable Sgt. Pepper’s Cafe, where they make good and crispy hashbrowns and use little yellow submarines all over the place for decoration, but don’t have very good coffee.
So, if ever you find yourself in Springfield, IL and highly under-caffineated, go eat some hashbrowns, and then cross the flower bed for a great cup of coffee.
I found myself in Wheaton last weekend to attend a shared bill concert of Hubbard Street 2 and the Wheaton College Orchestra.. Downtown Wheaton is cute as a button, and so is its Starbucks. Besides its good looks, this Starbucks was about the friendliest I’ve been to, well, ever. It kind of felt like an alternate universe out there in the West suburbs. The cafe is small, and a girl sitting alone was willing to share a table… for THREE hours…
Friendly baristas, fast service, fresh coffee, and a comfortable place to sit and grade papers. Just another day in paradise.
I think I might be entering a new phase in the Around the World Series.
Enter the introspective “view from my table” picture. Not having a buddy with me to snap a goofy shot outside with thumbs up, this shot is from a lovely second story cafe in the theatre district of downtown Cleveland. I happened upon it on a rainy day with some cash in my pocket and several hours to kill, and thankfully, Cleveland never disappoints.
Yes, the airport in Charlotte, NC gets a thumbs up, but it took a pair of Starbucks-es to make it happen. In a layover en route to Gainsville, there had to be a coffee run (naturally). But our first stop had to have been the slowest Starbucks on the face of the planet. I’m all about southern hospitality and taking your time, but not if you’re not going to talk to me and mess up my drink. After receiving a not-so-hazelnut Hazelnut Misto, I made the decision to stop at another Starbucks about 50 yards further into the terminal. THIS Starbucks was friendly, fast, apologetic, and didn’t ask any questions when I took my cup to the bar and asked for a new one.
p.s. You can possibly see that my weight is inflated in this picture. Hey, you know, it was the holidays. But fear not, the diet is back in order and 2013 is looking like the year Lauren goes to the beach without a mumu. More on that later…