As someone who uses a cross bike for the same things as you're planning
, I think it's a good choice, as long as you aren't planning to do particularly technical off-road riding or really fast group rides. Non-racing cross bikes are made to be versatile, and people have used them for things like touring (including extended tours), commuting and general road use for a long time.
Not sure which bike you're looking at, but two to consider are the Specialized Tricross Sport Triple ($1500, 50-39-30 x 11-32, carbon fiber fork, front and rear rack eyelets, aluminum frame, STI levers) or the Surly Cross Check (steel frame, bar-end shifters). The Surly can be set up as a standard double, compact double, or a triple; you'd want to change the cassette as well, but many LBS's will swap out parts when you buy it.
Keep in mind that the stock tires will be cross tires (wide and semi-knobby) so you'll have to swap them out; and the rims on a cross bike will probably have a minimum width of 28c's.
Otherwise, I'd at least up the cassette to an 11-32 or 11-34 with a long cage RD. Might want to test that out before upgrading the front, but chances are you will want something around a 30 or lower.