It comes as no surprise when we hear that Swarthmore students are constantly working – we really are. This undoubtedly stops the student body from venturing out to new places, simply because we lack the time to do so. The study spaces on campus often get repetitive with the majority of students gravitating towards the Science Center, McCabe or their respective rooms. There are so many work friendly places off campus and now that we are back from winter break, a cozy café and hot chocolate sounds just right to make a fantastic study environment. From Media to Philly, there are so many great study places with great study snacks and comfort food to make winter and work a much less gloomy combination. Three unique places that come to mind are Chapterhouse Café & Gallery right by South Street, Seven Stones Café in Media, and the new and upcoming cat café. Enjoy a change in study atmosphere and explore these places without compromising work time.
Chapterhouse Café & Gallery
Located right off of Philadelphia’s South Street, the family run café Chapterhouse is definitely the best study option. The description states it is “Organic & Fair trade coffee from Equal Exchange. The best pastries, sandwiches & baked goods from all over the city.” Chapterhouse has some great art pieces for sale on the wall by local artists that really contribute to the focused yet creative atmosphere. Certain rooms have large windowed walls so that the customers can enjoy the sunshine even through the winter. Furthermore, all Yelp reviews seem to be incredibly positive, with friendly staff as well as a pet friendly environment. Chapterhouse is open relatively late and is therefore perfect for long assignments and especially paper writing.
Chapterhouse has a few high counter bar stools stocked with outlets that are in a relatively sunny area and perfect to enjoy a coffee when taking a break from the mayhem of South Street. Chapterhouse is spacious and there are multiple rooms with tables, chairs and convenient outlets that make for a great study space. Certain rooms are quieter than others, but it seems that the farther back you go the quieter it seems to get. The back room is known for its huge windowed wall that lets in a beautiful amount of natural light.
For a study break walk to South Street and enjoy some great food, shopping and at times live entertainment. Chapterhouse has multiple sandwich options but for a full lunch venture out to any of the restaurants nearby for a change of scene and a nice break from studying. I would also recommend ordering the incredible Nutella latte here.
Seven Stones Café
Around a five-minute drive away from campus is Seven Stones Café, a quaint little coffee and lunch place in Media. The inside of the café is relatively small but quite cozy. There is indoor and outdoor dining with great local art on the walls. The café can get quite busy during certain hours of the day, so before you go I would recommend checking Yelp’s time map of the busiest hours, in addition to calling them to check the availability of tables. Seven Stones has a great atmosphere that attracts a diverse group of people, from college students to grandparents and families. The staff is incredibly friendly and without a doubt have an incredible drink menu, with a variety of lattes you can find at their ‘Espresso Bar’ and at this time of year, nothing seems more appealing than a nice hot drink to warm you up. My absolute favorite would be the Harmony Latte which is a mixture of espresso and chai with some milk and a hint of cinnamon and vanilla. Seven Stones also has an array of breakfast and lunch items including sandwiches, salads and soups, in addition to the most appealing assortment of baked goods and pastries. The café is also known for its outstanding milkshakes that are made using gelato instead of ice cream, which makes all the difference. You really can’t go wrong with this small town coffee house that is one stop away on SEPTA or a short car ride from Swarthmore.
Kawaii Kitty café
Pet your stress away, literally. Kawaii Kitty café is due to open at the end of this month! For all you cat lovers, go enjoy a day out studying at the brand new café, that “is essentially a mixture that is equal parts coffee bar and animal adoption facility. Patrons can pop in, get caffeinated, and, should they so choose, adopt a new pet.” The adoption facility will be separated from the coffee shop with a large glass window, but customers are able to pet and play with the cats. There is a similar cat café in New York City called ‘Meow Parlor’ that I went to recently that charges a small fee to play with the cats. You can stay between half an hour to five hours, and either play with the cats or use the complimentary Wi-Fi and enjoy a coffee as the cat falls asleep on your lap. I am certain the one about to open up in Philly will not disappoint.
Having too much work can not forever be an excuse to stop yourself from exploring new places- even if it is just a little café. Bring your readings with you and pick any one of these options that seems to suit your purpose. If your study habits are beginning to seem repetitive, get off campus and enjoy some comfort food and a nice hot drink to make the winter and work combination a little more exciting.