There are places I go for great food or a single great item. I go to other places because I know I can get in and out without breaking the stride of my day. Then there are places such as Base Camp Coffee in Sister Bay: a place I went to for those reasons, but also because it just seemed that I always left feeling better.
Owner Joel Kersebet has announced that he and his wife, Alicia, have closed the Sister Bay cafe with a French twist because of the impending sale of the building it has called home since 2005.
I loved the quirky location snuck into the basement of Ecology Sports, in a building that was once the Liberty Grove Town Hall. I couldn’t resist the smell of the fresh bakery, and I had a particular weak spot for the kouign-amann. I admired the sustainable ethic that came through in the books on the shelves, the décor and the vibe of the space.
It was a vibe that got me through many a spell of writer’s block, when I had exhausted every chair in my apartment in search of words, finally venturing out in search of a place to pound out an article or column. So often that place was Base Camp, usually at the counter in the back corner, staring straight at the wall, where I couldn’t see whoever was walking in or catch the eye of someone who would pull me away from the task at hand and into a conversation. (Sure, I could say no, but that’s not exactly my strength. I’ve learned to strategize my way around it.)
But a good coffee shop is a reflection of its owner, and behind the counter at Base Camp was always Joel and his French accent – welcoming, humble and warm. In an unexpected location beyond the bustle of Sister Bay, he created a place for the community to gather, great food and a great place to write.