by Joanna Rutter
1. Sacred Garden Bookstore
There’s something very peaceful about finding a corner of this city that it seems few others have discovered. The Sacred Garden Bookstore on Fisher Street is among my favorites. It’s affiliated with Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, which is why it’s delightful to find writings from every faith tradition on their shelves, covering subjects such as Buddhist philosophy and Sufi poetry. I’ve eaten lunch many times in their kitchen/cafe, mystified that I always seem to be the only person around.
2. Jules Antiques
On First Fridays, I’m usually only interested in doing one thing: heading to Jules Antiques on South Elm, accepting a free cup of white wine and slipping into their back garden, where ancient farm equipment provides seating in an ivy-walled garden that can’t be bigger than 15 by 20 feet. I’m sure this tiny plot of land is no more than a property zoning oddity, but just let me believe that the brick buildings grew around the garden as a matter of course. Unfortunately, Jules Antiques’ closing is imminent, and I’m praying whoever takes over maintains the charming secret garden and keeps it accessible.
3. The Central Library
I like to hide at the Central Library, but any public library will do, really. Mandatory hushed voices and armchairs by big sunny windows make it a comfortable place to escape from the crowd I tend to run with, which favors neighborhood coffee joints. The more time I spend there curled up with a book, the more counterintuitive that seems, since no obligatory latte purchase is necessary for the wi-fi or seating real estate. It’s a secret everybody knows, but not everybody takes advantage of, which makes it a perfect sanctuary.
4. The airport
This is the deepest cut of all hiding spots: at the Piedmont Triad International airport, in the parking garage area near the baggage claim, is one of the most enormous fountains I’ve ever seen. It’s a staircase-like installation that cascades down toward the parking lot, creating a rather impressive roar when it’s turned on during the warm months. And there’s a ledge to sit on and watch. This is a guaranteed, fail-proof location to hide under any circumstances, offering a mod-architectural retreat from the rest of the city. If you see a frizzy-headed girl reading there, you’re welcome to join me.