In the American state of Virginia, there is a small old town called Lynchburg. The best small towns seem to have at least one great coffeehouse. For Lynchburg, that wonderful place of coffee and community is Market at Main. When I visited Lynchburg in early January of this year, I immediately looked for a cafe where I could enjoy a morning cup of coffee while writing and working. The Market at Main turned out to be so wonderful, that I returned there for most meals with my family who were also in Lynchburg for my stepbrother’s wedding. As you probably surmised, the Market is on Main street. Here the buildings date back hundreds of years, making me feel transported back in time. History lessons of the civil war and beyond ignited my imagination throughout my long weekend there. When we first drove into the town, the store-front of the Market caught my eye with its large front windows that are set in dark-red brick and tucked in between the other vintage buildings.
Entering through the wood-framed doors, I got the feeling of openness and fresh airy brightness thanks to the high tin-foiled ceilings. There were wooden beams crisscrossing with exposed duct work and no other walls exist to divide the entire space. Only a short wooden banister provides an aesthetic, over-the-shoulder look so that one can enjoy sitting closer to the kitchen, which is exposed for all to see. Small booths provide quaint seating ideal for couples. For an interactive dining experience with the kitchen, one can also pull up a stool to the bar that invites customers to watch the cooking staff cooking up everyone’s deliciously fresh meals.
On the other side of the banister are large tables of round and rectangular shape so that one can enjoy meals with their family and friends like I was able to savor. The one time that I enjoyed Market at Main alone, was early in the morning. I was fortunate to snag the two person table that is snugly situated right at the front of the cafe, just as you walk in. This allows for a great vantage point of Main Street through the large wall-size windows. The sunlight pours in strong and bright, which kept me cozy and warm on the cold winter morning I was there.
A beautiful environment is key to any coffeehouse, yet what is even more important is the staff. And yes, Market at Main seems to have it all…I got to know the owner, who seems to be there almost every day and with a smile on his face all the time. The servers are friendly and conversational, providing great service and sincere recommendations. They also give out great coupons for buy 1, get 1 meal half off, or maybe it was even an entrée free! The details escape me now, but even without a deal, their prices are good, starting at around $7 for burgers and ranging up to around $15 for a great entrée with sides.
As much as I enjoyed Market at Main, I did venture outside to walk around the town and take in all its history. There are slight hills that give levels to the array of landmarks that commemorate war after war…so many beautiful buildings and splendid architecture, yet numerous in dedication because of so many wars, one after the other. They served their purpose however as I walked among them and my thoughts turned to all the names listed in the cold marble…all the lives represented.
From the churches to the government buildings, downtown Lynchburg was a great walk through history and reminded me of younger days when I would visit this part of the country with my family. The rich, deep sense of history was always there, vibrant in the soil of the ground and visible in the gracefully aged architecture that still remains the heart of this small Virginia town. Many things do not change over the years…I think the heart of Lynchburg is still the families and places like Market at Main that are centers for the long-standing community. It was wonderful to enjoy, especially with great family and a delicious cup of coffee.