Part of - Bean’s Coffee Shop Challenge - series
Well I never thought I’d live to see the day that Starbucks is closed. I mean - like - really closed. Not closed early; not closed for a holiday; not closed for training. Just - closed. With no predetermined opening date either. In the Jax Beaches area, at least.
The CoVid19 crisis is certainly upending all types of area businesses at this point. Large and small, local and chain. There is nothing remaining that is unaffected in some way by the coronavirus at this point.
And Starbucks has been closed for many days now - a few weeks actually. The place that I have relied upon for outings of all kinds, remains shuttered. I’ve been there on vacation, I’ve been there on the funnest days of my life. On Thanksgiving Day... On Christmas Day... I’ve been there in New Orleans, sitting inside the window, watching the electric street car go past on the outside. I’ve been there on the hardest days of my life. I’ve been there in Rochester, Minnesota, on days with the coldest sub-zero temperatures I’ve ever felt in my life. I’ve shared iced frappuccinos with my dearest friends, while standing on Main Street USA. I’ve been there for meetings. For friendship. For chatting. For reading. And, oh yeah, for some coffee, too.
So, with Starbucks literally being closed, and me still leaving the house every single day for work and life, I’ve been seeking out all the small coffee shops in town. Anyplace - and anywhere - that still has their doors open. Just like my recent outings to the Ugly Cupcake & Muffinry, and The Delicomb. If it’s open, I’ll be trying it.
I’ve always been a fan of all the chain shops and equally all the small shops. Which is why I started Bean’s Coffee Shop Challenge to begin with. Basically, if it’s coffee - I tend to be a fan. In fact, I may like coffee just as much as I like donuts.
Yeah, I guess those bold beans are basically up there at the top of the list for me. So today I’m extremely happy to showcase another exciting and very unique coffee adventure in the greater Jax area: Chaunie’s Coffee Truck!
And all it took was a virus, a global plague, and complete and total economic destruction, to finally lead me there! And to the absolute cutest truck in town, by the way.
I have actually been searching out Chaunie and her truck for a couple of years. A few years back I had my first iced latte from Chaunie’s while they were parked at an Art Walk in Jax Beach. But considering the entire business concept of a food truck is on wheels, and moving around, my schedule has simply never matched that of her truck, since my initial introduction to it back in the day at that fest.
But then, just recently, I happened to find her Instagram page. So I followed, and started watching where she was going to be each day. Noticing a day scheduled in Ponte Vedra Beach, on my day off, and it was finally a date.
We drove around the town of Ponte Vedra Beach - the small coastal town just south of Jax Beach, and found Chaunie’s black and minimalist and very cool truck, parked in the Ponte Vedra Lakes neighborhood, next to a small pond at the very end of a cul de sac.
As we parked and walked up, we noticed people from the neighborhood, walking away with hot cups of coffee, and some walking up to make their purchases. Word was definitely out that there was a coffee truck sitting in the neighborhood. There were friends and neighbors, standing around the curled street, chatting and sipping.
Chaunie said that she has been taking her truck all over Jax through the pandemic. Knowing how entire neighborhoods of people were simply - at home - she wanted to bring coffee - to them.
A superb idea!
She had just recently traveled out to Julington Creek. And was then in Ponte Vedra Beach. And the next day - onward to another residential area in the Jacksonville greater community. And continuing.
I mentioned that I had my last cup of coffee from her truck at a local fest in Jax Beach. And I was super excited to finally get another cup.
I ordered a hot latte, and hubby ordered an iced latte. All one size - no option for a small or large.
Chaunie then mentioned that she was serving breakfast that particular day. That even though she didn’t have her menu out, she was serving hot breakfast sandwiches and cinnamon rolls with iced frosting.
We basically said - what the heck...
We were already there, how’s about breakfast with our coffees?
So I ordered one of her homemade cinnamon rolls, and hubby tried the breakfast sandwich - which came with bacon, eggs, and cheese. Both were delicious, and we could definitely taste that everything we ate was very much homemade.
Our total for two breakfasts and two hand-crafted espresso drinks - to go - was $21.70, plus tip. Chaunie’s Truck does take credit card, so you do not need to have cash on you at the time of your visit.
I thanked Chaunie for being out there. And mentioned we would definitely be seeing her again.
We walked back to our car and drove on toward home.
I wondered when Starbucks would open its doors, once again?
When will I be able to sit inside a coffee shop, listening to relaxing and calming cafe music, while reading a book and sipping a steamy latte?
I pondered how certain businesses may be thriving right now, and how many, many others, are on the absolute verge of dying.
And while I don’t ever have my sights on planning to visit any cafe in Rochester, Minnesota, ever again, even if someone paid me a million dollars, I also thought to myself - when will I once again stand on any ol’ Main Street in the USA? Sharing a laugh, and clinking our cups in cheer, with friends? As we stand closer than six feet from one another - to cheers, of course.
A simple outing, during another “stay-at-home” sort of day. We had been on a lovely walk. We had soaked in the fresh Floridian air. We supported a local area small business - during the absolute worst time of my life on this Earth I have ever witnessed, for any small business. And maybe, most importantly, we drank some bold and delicious coffee. ~
*Have you visited Chaunie’s Coffee Truck? Do you have a favorite coffee truck driving around your town? I’d love to know. Drop me a comment down below.
Also - here’s more coffee, and more beans!
Bean’s Coffee Shop Challenge:
67] Delicious & Delightful Days @ The Delicomb
60] Welcome To Muffin Land ~ The Ugly Cupcake & Muffinry
48] Love & Donuts In The Air @ Beaches For Australia
44] Nothing Finer Than Coffee In The Keys ~ The Coffee Plantation Cafe
39] The Very Official & Quite Serious Donut Debate Of 2020
9] Sago Coffee: A Cup Of Friendly & Flavorful Florida
Plus, you can check out some more dining reviews of many local area diners all around Jax, right here:
57] First Watch on the First Coast
54] Um, Open @ Angie’s Subs
50] Sundays Are For Diners ~ Super Diners
40] Visiting The Florida Cracker Kitchen ~ Jacksonville
19] Another Broken Egg Cafe ~ A Taste Of NOLA @ The Beach
16] Beach Diner ~ If You Feed Them They Will Come
I had literally been looking forward to this event all year - The 2019 Annual Jacksonville Beach Vintage Flea Market had finally arrived. This year the event took place on Saturday, October 12th, from 9am-3pm. And, competing for attention, the Jax Beaches Oktoberfest was taking place just down the street a bit - so there was definitely plenty to do in town on this long, three day, holiday weekend.
An open air sunny market complete with all kinds of vendors selling their treasures was an absolutely ideal Saturday morning for me. I grabbed the hubby and brought him along - with the promise of coffee - even though the promise of coffee was for myself too. I remembered last year that Chaunie’s Coffee Truck was at the market, and I had the best iced latte in the entire world while looking at all the various trinkets and furniture and art. But, alas, no coffee vendor this year at the Vintage Market. And I heard that Chaunie’s was over at the Seawalk Pavilion setting up at Oktoberfest this year. So coffee would have to wait for both of us until we were done browsing around.
However, there was a very small snack vendor selling to raise funds on behalf of the Fletcher High School Band. But I do think a coffee truck would have done great business that morning had they been there, as lots of folks had their Starbucks cups in hand while out shopping.
The market takes place up and down the blocks parallel the Beaches Museum. The streets are closed off to traffic and pedestrians are everywhere. We went fairly early just after it started at 9am, and the surrounding parking lots were already full. As we parked, shoppers were walking back to their cars with all kinds of neat finds; some things brand new, and some things very, very old.
I really enjoy that mix of old and new at this market as it provides something for most everyone’s tastes, interests, collections, and budgets. And for anyone with a creative brain, browsing through all the vendors can spur lots of ideas and inspiration. The other benefit of attending this market is its timing - it’s a fabulous place to find some holiday gifts and I was able to check a few items off my list while there.
For myself personally, I took home two very unique and homemade treasures that I know I will cherish forever. I absolutely love pottery and glasses and vases, and have an ever-growing collection in my home. For at least the last two years I had been on the lookout for the most perfect piece for the center of my coffee table. Shop after shop, market after market, over two years, I looked, and I patiently waited. I needed just the right thing, in just the right color. And I do believe it’s always worth the wait. I came upon Sea Le Vie, and it was there that my two year search ended in a flash. Before I even knew the price I said this was it. And my find was literally only $8.00. I have paid a whole lot more for mass-produced, not hand-made, pieces.
Plus, I was also able to speak to the creator. I think she was aware of how excited I was with my find, as she told me that she loves it when someone loves her work enough to take it home with them. I immediately understood her comment, as nothing brings me more joy than when I sell a painting to someone who is truly interested in what I paint; and loves and enjoys the art I create enough to hang it upon a wall in their own home. And her aqua painted glass piece that I purchased is now sitting in my home in front of me on the center of my coffee table - the most perfect piece that I am glad I patiently searched all over for, and ended up finding so close to home.
About half way down the block, and sitting strategically perfect amongst all of the many vendors is the Driftwood gift shop. This place is adorable and no visit to Jax Beach should end without at least a quick stop into this lovely store. Creative and colorful seasonal decor alongside a variety of unique merchandise from local creators on display, there are seemingly endless items to browse through and admire. And if you are looking for actual Driftwood - this is definitely the place to go.
Priced at $25.00, the second item I purchased at the market was a handmade coastal Bethlehem manger scene depicted with oyster shells, to add to my Christmas decor. I have been collecting oyster shells out on the beach since our move to Florida, so these pieces really caught my attention right away.
This type of shell happens to be my absolute most favorite item to collect from the sand. Well, I can’t forget about shark teeth - but those are like finding a needle in a haystack - in three years I have found a total of two. And I do need to give my hubby full credit on both those finds. But collecting unique treasures from the beach has become an utterly enjoyable hobby of mine. I quickly fell in love with the beauty and smoothness and texture of oyster shells and am in the process of collecting enough to make a wreath of them for my front door. So my eyes are always open to hunting out these unique finds; and then when I saw this booth, I was immediately and completely enthralled.
Specifically, the unique manger scenes really caught my eye upon first sight. The manger itself is made from driftwood. Various angels flying overhead, along with Mary and Joseph, are each represented by oyster shells of differing sizes, and set up in various ways and positions. The baby Jesus is represented by a most beautiful pearl, thus becoming the focal point of a breathtaking piece of hand-made, hand-crafted art. Then, the star above in the sky is represented by a starfish, but of course.
And since I was never able to find a just-right and oh-so-perfect manger scene in the past - one that would immediately catch my attention and my heart - I knew this was the piece when it spoke to me most promptly. Perfection - priced at $25.00 - and I could tell straight away they were all handmade with love.
I spoke to the vendor and I was so excited. Naturally I wanted to know if she sold online. She is a local retired school principal, and makes all her creations “just for fun.” And she is not interested in selling online as she doesn’t want it to become “too big of a thing.” Well, she definitely has something going on, and if she ever went online it would definitely become a thing bigger than it is, quickly. I thanked her and her husband for the most wonderful treasure I was able to take home with me that day.
Browsing through the Jax Beach Vintage Flea Market was a very successful and lovely Saturday morning outing. A fabulous way to enjoy a leisurely, peaceful, slow-paced, and local community event, it’s a great way to kick-start any holiday weekend. And you may just walk away with the most perfect trinket or treasure to enjoy for years to come in your home. For myself, I know it was an extraordinary morning adventure, and afterward...we were off to find some coffee. ~
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