The 'bleisure' of Washington, NC: A place for both work and fun

Posted November 5, 2019 5:00 a.m. EST

Loralyn Moore (right) and her husband, Trey (left), a native of Washington, N.C., renovated an old car garage into Giddy-Up Coffee House. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Tourism Development Authority)

This article was written for our sponsor, Washington Tourism Development Authority.

No matter how much you love your job, working in the same space day in and day out can get tedious. With today's interconnected workplaces, it is easy to pick up and go somewhere else for a few hours. A change of scenery can provide a much-needed breather and even stimulate creativity.

Residents in Little Washington have plenty of options beyond the standard Starbucks for a change of pace. Instead, you're more likely to find them sipping coffee in front of their laptops on the waterfront or in spaces like a renovated car garage.

When Loralyn Moore moved to Washington with her husband, Trey, a native, she looked for the same thing she always looked for when relocating to a new town – coffee. During her moves, from Oklahoma to Florida, she'd always found somewhere to get her caffeine fix, but Washington was different.

"There was no coffee," said Moore, owner of Giddy-Up Coffee House. "I knew Washington needed a coffee shop. I saw a need here."

Thus, Giddy-Up Coffee House was born. Renovating an old car garage, Moore embarked on a journey to serve Washington residents coffee the right way. At Giddy-Up you won't find a cookie cutter space and burned beans, but smiling faces and alluring aromas instead. From the start, Giddy-Up was designed to be a place that would bring the community together.

"I realized there was nowhere to go to meet somebody," Moore said. "You [would] have to meet at a restaurant. It's just a rare thing these days that you don't feel like you're squatting or in the way. I was so excited when I found this space."

Giddy-Up has now become a staple in Washington. It attracts studying college students, office workers tired of their cubicles, and friends who are just catching up.

The unconventional space has a large indoor seating area and was just updated to add a drive-through window. Giddy-Up also opened a second location in Williamston after hearing that customers would drive 25 minutes down to Washington for their morning coffee.

Part of that customer devotion comes from being a place where anyone can hang their hat.

"We want everyone to feel welcome," Moore said. "Not everyone has someone to tell them good morning or to have a good day. It's neat to be the place you take family when they come into town. It's been wonderful; I'm shocked every day, I love little Washington."

While Giddy-Up serves up a great pick-me-up and is great for remote work or a meetup with a friend, Washington is also home to a civic center that hosts professional meetings and draws executives from all around the state.

Located within walking distance of downtown and the waterfront, the Washington Civic Center offers modern amenities and meeting rooms for companies looking to escape the board room for something a little more scenic. It features multiple meeting rooms to fit your needs, including a banquet hall and performance spaces. The exposed beams and natural light give the civic center charm that is hard to find in the ballroom of a chain hotel or a boardroom in an office.

"A big draw for the civic center is the waterfront," said Washington Civic Center event coordinator ReAnne Mayo. "Everything's in walking distance. It gets people out of the office or boardroom where they can stretch their legs."

Little Washington : Spotlight : Civic Center

The Civic Center in Washington, N.C., can serve groups ranging from 20 to 500 people with a staff dedicated to customer service. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Tourism Development Authority)

The Civic Center has been a draw for businesses looking to get work done, but then transition quickly to an evening of entertainment. Recent renovations have brought new life to the building, including fiber-optic Wi-Fi. The space can serve groups ranging from 20 to 500 people with a staff dedicated to customer service.

Once the day's work is complete, it's just a short walk to popular restaurants like Bill's Hot Dog Stand or Down on Mainstreet. Mayo has noticed that the businesses that visit Washington come away with a clarity that just can't be found in more metropolitan areas.

"It's the aesthetics. When you look at the water it's very centering. We are all glued to our telephones and computers all day," Mayo said. "When you step outside and look at these old buildings, it kind of takes you back. You look at the water and you aren't thinking about your phone. It helps people re-center."

Places like Giddy-Up and the Civic Center prove that Little Washington is a place where you can conduct business in a laid-back, picturesque environment for a little "bleisure" – a combination of work and recreation. Additionally, the town provides all of the amenities that professionals want and need with an added backdrop of natural beauty to explore after work hours are over.

This article was written for our sponsor, Washington Tourism Development Authority.

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