I first ventured into this intimate coffee shop a couple of months ago when I needed strong coffee beans to get me through a patch of busy work days. Last week I returned to learn more about the sweet couple that runs it and get some work done in a fresh environment on this foggy day. Michael and Susan Garner have owned Harbor Lights Coffee House and Café for 22 years after opening their doors in March of 1996.
I love light houses (they remind me of family trips from my childhood) and was initially attracted by the name alone, but once I walked in, a few things captured my attention. For one, they are kid-friendly and offer high chairs and a small play area for children. They also have a game library—I may need to return with my husband and have us a chess challenge! I peruse around, circling back to the front of the store, when I see them…colorful, mouth-watering cheese cakes.
Michael is passionate about baking and beat his 2016 record this past year after baking 600 cheese cakes. That’s a lot of cheese cakes for one person to bake friends! His wife Susan explains that they do cater, but close shop early to minister to their community, through Life Connections Ministries.
It’s heartwarming seeing local shop owners like these also giving back to this small town. I’m not sure what I’m drawn more to—the music, the fireplace, the game table in the back, the collection of lighthouses, or the whip cream on my peanut butter chocolate shake.
I love the dim lighting and warm atmosphere in this little ray of light in small-town Leavenworth. I wish I’d brought a good book instead of work today, but I won’t lie, I secretly love what I do for a living, so to work it is! As I quietly step out of the Café, Mrs. Garner calls me by name and gives me a friendly smile and wave–I need to get better at doing the same (I will remember names. I will remember names. I will remember…)!
After leaving the shop, I pick up NY bagels for a play date…you know where (McDevitt and Duffy’s 😊), then I wander into the Heritage Center across from the Riverfront Community Center. They’re not sure why I’m there, and quite frankly, neither am I, but I’m curious and this momma has a few minutes to kill, so I strike up a conversation and get a tour. For Leavenworth newcomers, the Heritage Center schedules live performances and meals for the community, but you do need a reservation. They also host large functions such as weddings and military retirement ceremonies, as well as smaller scale events for various community groups.
I say my thanks and continue on, driving by Candles Queen Candles’ wall-art inspiration: “Sparkle and Shine!” (a week later, and I’m still humming “Shimmer and Shine” instead). I need to stop by and visit after learning about their underground tunnel tours, but my adulting time has come to an end, and it’s time to mommy again. Next time!
Want to visit Harbor Lights Coffee House and Café? Check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HarborLightsCoffeehouse/
Here is their full website: http://www.harborlightscoffeehouse.com/
Have another great place in town for me to visit? Please share in the comments—I so appreciate recommendations (seriously)!
p.s. Found me another Kansas sunflower in town 😊 Told you it was foggy out there!