I think this house has gone through several incarnations but I love its current life as the Chat House in Dennis, Massachusetts. A thoughtful young couple have turned it into a restaurant and kind of community center. First came the restaurant idea (I think) -- a smallish menu of unexpected variety, pastries for the coffee and breakfast eaters, and a variety of intersting foods for the lunch and dinner group -- not a sit down and be served place but an order and settle in one of the variety of rooms, or the patio (in good weather) and enjoy. Lately wine and beer have been added, definitely a plus!
Art shows by local artists -- good ones, often youngish, cover the walls and tend to sell (as the prices are usually reasonable). Groups are encouraged to come, meet and talk. Many nights there is music by local artists. They have a story slam once a month and have instituted a poetry open mike night. I, and various members of my family, have been going to the story slam and telling our stories. A new group, as of today named Creative Chatters, has met four times (every two weeks). A very eclectic group of women brought together by a cheerful "communicator" as she defines herself, to come up with something creative inspired by a random word, drawn from a group of words brainstormed a couple of meetings ago. There are painters, writers, teachers, jewelry makers, crafts makers -- eight people today with two absentees.
Today's prompt was "sky", in the past it has been sunset, maintenance, and yellow, for the next meeting it will be farm. What can will people come up with? There's no telling, being a born and bred farm girl, I'll think of something. The others are not farmers' daughters, I'll be curious what they do. We were mostly strangers to one another two months ago. As women do, we erupt into personal stories every so often, we are becoming friends as we become acquainted. I think this is always true of groups of women and it probably begins way back in grade school.
Women "of a certain age" have an advantage over men in this respect. Men seem to have learned to bond only over sports, and later career/work or, still, sports watching. But women usually trust other women, rarely are competitive in the physical way men are and rarely have a single interest. Especially after the age of 55 or 60 we have weathered many similar storms, most of us have been divorced, most have children, most have had one or sometimes many careers.
We find it wonderful that we can spent two hours sitting in one of the rooms of the Chat House chatting and "showing and telling" having coffee and/or something for lunch depending on the time we arrive. This is better than a coffee shop, it's a living room away from home. Such a good idea. I hope the couple feel their hard work is paying off. I am happy to have extended my acquaintances to women I would not have met otherwise and I am inspired by the unexpected prompts.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!