Published in the Battle Creek Enquirer
Looking for the next great latte, we noticed the billboards along I-69 announcing the opening of The Blue Hat Coffee Gallery. We found our way to a wonderful historical spot, opened only a month ago — the Abram C. Fisk house, recently renovated into a full service coffee and dessert stop.
With lots of space for sitting in one of the many airy rooms, the addition of the art and jewelry galleries made browsing fun along with our coffee.
They roast their own beans on property, medium and dark, under the Blue Hat label. Tea drinkers can choose from 15 Blue Hat tea varieties. We sampled the cheesecake and can vouch that people with a sweet tooth won’t be disappointed by their seven-layer cake, muffins, scones, gluten-free cheesecake and chocolate flourless cake.
Our impromptu stop in Coldwater reminded me of all this small city of 10,000 people offers. Originally inhabited by the Potawatomi, white settlers moved into the area around 1830, and it became a city in 1861. From an opera house to a drive-in movie theater and city park, Coldwater has something for every taste.
Starting with the oldest offering, Tibbits Opera House was built in 1882 and is now in its 51st season of summer performances.
Local residents started a campaign in the 1960s to restore the second-oldest theater in Michigan to its original use, while also restoring its French Empire architecture.
The wonderful two-story façade shows that their efforts to bring back the community jewel were successful. You can buy tickets online for their upcoming performance of “Guys and Dolls.” For children and families, Popcorn Theatre offers live theater opportunities on Friday and Saturday mornings until Aug. 9.
A longtime family favorite is catching a double-feature at the Capri Drive-In. Since 1964, the drive-in has been entertaining families from all over the region.
Originally a single screen, the Capri now offers two screens, so moviegoers have a choice. The box office opens at 8 p.m. and the show starts at sundown. Tickets are cash only.
A couple of times every summer, we pile our daughter and her friends into our car and cruise to the drive-in, past the original neon sign. Filling up on popcorn and soda, we settle in for a double feature. I usually fall asleep before the end of the second movie; it is a great way to spend a warm summer evening.
Coldwater also offers Music under the Stars on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in downtown’s Four Corners Park. On July 26, you can rock out with the whole family to the Lovely Howl Band.
Treat everyone to root beer floats and snow cones while you listen to the music of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.
In addition to entertainment, there are also several options for food. If you are in time for breakfast or lunch, grab a burger or meatloaf at Jeannie’s Diner. It’s an old-school diner with tasty food and a great piece of pie. I like the peach, myself. For breakfast, try the apple fritter French toast. No credit cards accepted.
At dinnertime, Benedict’s Steakhouse & Grill offers a tasty hand-cut steak. I can’t vouch for all 24 varieties of the beer on tap, but they do offer a fun happy hour.
For a romantic overnight spot, Chicago Pike Inn & Spa is located on what was once the main road to Chicago, hence the name. Built in 1903, the bright yellow Colonial Reform style house has massive two-story Greek Revival columns. True to its Victorian style, antiques fill each of the six guest rooms. They offer two suites in the carriage house with in-room Jacuzzis. You can order a four-course candlelight dinner for your special occasion.