Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Bob’s Art Blog: Life’s a Beach

Psst…before the word gets out…

We just got back from the beach…in Paxtang.

After all, life is a state of mind. The Tiger Eye Coffee Co. not only subscribes to that notion, but promotes it in its approach by offering some of the best things in life. Art, coffee and ice cream are its mainstays and reasons for being, but that is merely the philosophy that opens the door each morning. When you stop to think about it, does life get any better? Its location is on Derry Street right off the Greenbelt path.

Makayla Burton, proprietress, paints a pretty convincing portrait of what has already become a “Dairy Street” destination. Part coffee house, part ice cream parlor, full-time art gallery, the shop offers the three loves of life for this 2019 graduate of Capital Area School of the Arts (CASA). With artistic help from her dad, Rob Burton, they built a throwback tiki bar time capsule with its decor.

Inside, lovely lacquered driftwood pieces and bamboo frame out the ice cream counter and display cases for housing some of the art, which has become an art gallery gathering place. The art is everywhere, with photography displayed even on the ceiling. At the present time, Makayla represents, in keeping with the ice cream theme, the “Sweet 16” artists. This menu includes Jadon Burton, Claudia Comeford, Mark Cluck, Cameron Emerick, Carley Furlow, Lisa Grant, Edward Hans, Barb Houck, Bethany Keefer, Casandra Kreiser, Robert McCloskey, Tim Ort, Gabriel Paup, Tessa the Artist, Bruce Wright and Ray Young. Many are fellow students from CASA. And last but certainly not least, Cheddar Paws Dog Art adoption wall is for all dog lovers. Woof! Burton has assembled eclectic elements of the loves of her life: coffee, check; ice cream, check; and art checks all the boxes! The icing on the cake is that it is the art of friends. And that it is all for sale.

Opening late last November, the neighborhood welcome literally has been word of mouth—as in “Yum!” With opportunities for impromptu music on a nearby acoustic guitar tucked away in a corner and a veritable library of books stacked and scattered around the shop, the possibilities for entertainment are endless. You spot a title you like and it’s yours for the taking, and the Tiger Eye accepts donations of books, too. Hershey’s ice cream and a world-class menu of tea and coffee choices provide something for everyone. With tables aplenty inside and out, tabletops and painted chairs push the gallery theme to a look resembling a hippie surf shack hangout.  The art pervades every nook and cranny with a winding interior and even a kids’ table for budding artists. Photography, painting, jewelry and glassware provide for every taste. For now, tables are out front with more seating on the outside porch, spacious even with social distancing. For those who long to extend that beach vibe, there is more just doors away. Before we leave the Tiger Eye, there has been a shark siting. TheBurg’s own Sharkman frequents the shop. Cue the “Jaws” theme song.

We caught a wave with just “six degrees of separation” (remember Kevin Bacon’s game reference from the ‘90s?) at a surreal shell shop on the nearby corner. We were stoked to see Harrisburg Framing and Sea Gallery et al. Its presence provides living proof that you can bring the beach to the city. Hands down, this gallery is “epic” in its appeal—a rad idea whose day has come. The surf is up daily, except Sundays. Inside, you will find way-cool art for the home and gems to adorn the body. Exquisite shells line the shop walls and the latest in nautical-inspired decor to detail your beach house or to hang 10 wherever you call home. On hand to greet us was Karen Burton, partner with husband Rob. Throw in a framing shop for custom work, and you have the essence of synergistic, sensory surroundings—sublime and serene, like waves lapping at the water’s edge.

The Tiger Eye Coffee Co. is located at 3418 Derry St., Paxtang. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Harrisburg Framing and Sea Gallery et al is located at 3430 Derry St., Paxtang. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page.

Pictured: Interior of Tiger Eye Coffee Co (top) and Harrisburg Framing and Sea Gallery et al (bottom). Credit: Jana MacGinnes

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