Friday, November 18, 2011

Ike Box and Fall

My friend Jessi is an aerial artist who is the featured performer this week at a show at Willamette University.  Sam and I decided to go watch her perform, only to be told at the box office that the show was delayed.  Rather than wait around for an indefinite amount of time, we thought we'd keep the date going by heading to Ike Box for some delicious fall-inspired lattes.  Their dirty chai is, well, amazing. 

Ike Box is easily my favorite coffee shop ever.  It's located in downtown Salem in a 120 year-old renovated former mortuary.  The building itself creates a great atmosphere - not because it was a mortuary, that would be weird - but because it's old and has character.  On any given day, you'll find a random mix of patrons enjoying coffee - businessmen, students, homeless people.  It has a very community-centered vibe.  But the thing that makes Ike Box so awesome is the story behind it, the reason for it.

Isaac's Room, a school for at-risk kids, is upstairs, above the coffee shop.  It was founded by a couple whose infant son, Isaac, died.  They developed Issac's Room as a way to give kids opportunities they would have wanted for Isaac, kids who have been left behind by society.  The school is funded through donations and the profits from the coffee shop and is designed to teach these kids how to be successful in all areas of life.  In addition to classroom learning, the students train as baristas and work at the coffee shop.  In so doing, they develop a good work ethic, master the responsibilities of a job, and help fund their own school - how awesome is that?  It is the ultimate "teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime" situation.  I love it.  I love knowing that by supporting this business I'm supporting the youths in the community, not just some greedy business owners.  For more info on Ike Box, check them out on facebook or on their website.

As I said, the dirty chai at Ike Box is awesome.  Sam and I both got one, and ordered the same size.

Is it just me, or does Sam's mug (the blue one) look way bigger than mine?

I like Salem in the fall.  The other day it was clear and sunny and I went downtown and the leaves were golden and topaz and ruby.  It seems fall is when trees really show off, almost like they know they're about to be naked so they want our last glimpse of them in their fully-clothed glory to be stunning.  And it is.  There is brick everywhere downtown, especially by Willamette (pronounced will-AA-met, not WILLamet like I thought) and if you squint your eyes and use your imagination, you can pretend that you're in Boston.  Mmm, Boston.  Top spot on my list of favorite cities.  Salem, you're slowly but surely making your way on that list, too.

By the way, is anyone else in disbelief that Thanksgiving is less than a week away?


  1. I have never been to the Ikebox (or actually even heard of it, until this blog!) Excited to try it next time I'm in Salem - sounds awesome!!!

    Did you eventually get to see the show at Willamette?

  2. I'm glad you are enjoying Salem. I enjoyed having all 4 seasons when living there. That is not something you really experience here in the Central Valley. However, when we moved back to CA - it was nice to be able to go for walks earlier than we would have in Salem. I like the idea of the coffee shop.

  3. That coffee shop sounds amazing!! Good to know that places like that exist!

  4. Oh goodness this made me laugh!

    The coffee shop sounds AMAZING -- so inspirational. I just got pinterest -- can I pin that idea so one day I do something to help others?

    Also, Sam's mug was totally bigger....but you got the awesome zebra don't always see that in a coffee shop! =)

    I hope you are doing a lot of squinting and imagining....and I'm glad Oregon is loving on you!

  5. Janna - yes, I saw the show and it was amazing. She was flying across the stage. So incredible.

    JulieAnn - you are about to lose your life to pinterest, just a warning. Also, you can't see it in the photo, but there was a tiny zebra head at the bottom of the as I drank my chai suddenly a zebra head showed up, like a little figurine. Weird. But radical.


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