A new local cafe has opened in Boonsboro.
Terrapin Mountain Café, located inside Montana Plains Bakery in the Boonsboro Shopping Center, opened about six weeks ago, serving up freshly roasted coffee and prepared food in a cozy environment.
Joey Hertzberg, owner of the bakery and cafe, said the coffee shop is modeled after a romantic idea of cafes he had visited in the high country of Colorado mixed with the nostalgia he had for being in the mountains of Virginia in the 1980s.
“It was much less used. You didn’t see a lot of people up on the [Appalachian Trail] or in the woods,” he said. “In the ‘80s, I went to mountains almost every day after school with my uncle hiking and going in creeks, and you didn’t see other people.”
What might be the most attention-grabbing element of the cafe is the large mural painted on one of the walls.
Hertzberg said his 15-year-old daughter, Lovey, hand-painted the mural based off a photograph of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The cafe has low lighting with tables outside and throughout the shop. In the back, arranged around a fireplace, are a few chairs and a couch that Herzberg purchased from Galaxie Modern, a local mid-century modern furniture store.
Montana Plains was opened 25 years ago by local investor, Garland Gay, who shortly after sold the business to Lucia Coates, Hertzberg’s mother, who has served as the matriarch of the bakery. About a decade ago, the bakery opened a second location in Wyndhurst.
In 2015, Hertzberg wanted to be a part of downtown and opened Café Bliss, a small coffee shop in the bottom of the Bank of the James on Main Street, which he modeled after his own living room.
“And it was a great success as far as meeting whatever the need was, but there’s just not a lot of people downtown, not a lot of foot traffic, and you’re just not going to have a really busy cafe in downtown Lynchburg; it’s just not gonna happen,” he said. “I think if I’d had more space for lounging around, it would have been.”
Hertzberg said after the city began its work on the Main Street Renewal Project replacing water lines, sidewalks, streets and sanitary sewers, and once COVID-19 hit the area, he decided not to sign a lease and instead find a new home for the cafe.
He was running both the cafe and the bakery in Boonsboro so it only made sense to find a spot nearby. Around the same time, he found out the owner of Pheasant’s Eye, which was formerly located next to the bakery, was retiring and would be closing the shop, opening up the perfect new location for Hertzberg’s cafe.
With a new location came a new name as well. Terrapin Mountain is located between Big Island and Sedalia and is one of Hertzberg’s favorite places.
“I just wanted it to be connected to the area,” he said.
Ruth Ashcroft, manager of the cafe and bakery for 14 years, said the cafe is a reflection of the personality of the bakery and the people who work there.
“We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” she said. “Thirteen years ago, Joey and I were talking about wanting a place for people to sit and make this a whole different vibe all together.”
She said there are options for various price points and said the cafe plans to expand its offerings in the future.
Paul Dudley, a resident living in the Boonsboro Road area, stumbled across the new cafe about three weeks ago and has been coming ever since to get coffee and get work done.
Dudley had heard about Hertzberg dream’s of opening a cafe next to the bakery and wondered when it might actually happen. He said combining the bakery with a cafe is creating the best of both worlds.
“So we had been secretly waiting on this to come, so when we came to Montana Plains one day and saw it, we said, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s finally here.’ We’ve been waiting for this for years,” he said. “Montana Plains is an amazing bakery, but pairing that up with this is perfect.”