Yesterday, my oldest (12) wanted me to take her to a new-ish Asian bakery. It's about a mile from our house in a quirky little area that I love. Before I knew much of anything about Cleveland, I knew about this area--Coventry--because of its quirky shops, including the famous-but-now-departed Big Fun, which was something like an independent Spencer's Gifts with a lot of retro and kitsch. I grew up about an hour and a half from there, but we would make occasional pilgrimages there in high school. A friend lived in the area after college when I was in grad school down at Kent, and I enjoyed visiting both to see my friend and to browse the various stores.
Now that we live so close, I mostly go there for one reason--to pick up sushi from our favorite place. But I'm usually alone in playing Door Dash driver for the family, I don't look around much, and with the pandemic I think it's probably been a couple years since we walked up there with the kids for anything.
I intentionally parked way down the street from the bakery so we'd have a bit of a walk, and I suggested popping into the independent book store across the street. What a delight! With a mix of used and new, the place has a really homey vibe. I've always been a sucker for bookstores, from the time I was my daughter's age, when the only bookstore I knew was the Waldenbooks in one or the other of the malls that was a half hour from home. My taste in bookstores became more refined by the Kenyon College Bookstore and my obsession with finding used bookstores wherever I went, with New England being particularly fertile ground when I spent summers working a school up there.
My daughter seemed just as entranced I was, though I exercised considerable restraint in buying just one book for each of us. Side note: I need to do a better job of holding my daughter accountable to doing chores and managing money, but asking for a book just hit me in a vulnerable spot--how can I say no to books?
We also went to a quirky little bullshit and fashion boutique--a place that smells like patchouli and sells everything from college fashions to new age quackery. It was delightful, and my daughter was particularly interested in the "crystals" they had there, which I found much easier to say no to even though they were cheaper than books.
And finally we got to our destination. The bakery was delightful, but as it was almost supper time, they were sold out of a lot of things. We each got a different flavor of boba tea and we both loved them, but the pork rolls that were at the center of our quest were pretty underwhelming. Maybe fresh they would have been better, but microwaved at home the pork was hard and the bun kind of mediocre. I'd definitely go back for the boba and their desserts looked amazing.
All in all, it was a delightful way to spend an hour or so with my oldest, and I hope trips like that become a big part of our relationship through the years. But also, my 9-year-old wants to take her own trip to Coventry, so there's that to look forward to.