Writer Paris Wolfe received a First Place nod from the North American Mature Publication Association Awards for 2016 travel writing in two issues of Northeast Ohio Boomer and Beyond magazine. This is one of the stories deemed excellent by judges from the School of Journalism of the University of Missouri located in Columbia, Missouri.
Northeast Ohio parents send their kids to Columbus for college. And they turn up again for Parent & Family Weekend and sports.
But vacation there? Without Ohio State sports? Why?
Because the state capital is close enough for a quick trip, and it’s far enough to feel like an escape. This city in the center of the state offers vibrant daytime and nightlife activities for active adults. The new Scioto Mile Park adds 33 acres of riverfront parkland to downtown for hiking, biking and kayaking. And for art-minded folks, the Columbus Museum of Art just added a new wing.
Microbreweries, brewpubs, distilleries, wineries and cider houses beckon the thirsty. And the Short North neighborhood calls to shoppers of art galleries and independent boutiques.
German Village alone can consume a weekend. The gentrified, historic neighborhood offers peaceful strolls and interesting cuisine. Stately brick houses and cottages line bumpy brick streets. Circled by ample (more brick) sidewalks, the houses sport details worth notice — a hosta shade garden here, a slate-tiled roof there.
Plan judiciously and you may enjoy a festival or art crawl. This neighborhood is best explored by foot to catch a glimpse of interesting garden art, late-blooming flowers and colorful doorways.
Try a restorative weekend exploring this Columbus enclave and its surroundings. Get started with these destinations. All are within walking distance of anywhere in German Village.
German Village Guest House, 748 Jaeger St., 866-587-2738 or 614-437-9712.
Guest house is synonymous with bed and breakfast at this quiet, European-styled, three-bedroom house with a welcoming back patio. Guests are greeted by cookies and iced tea. An invisible host delivers homemade yogurt, granola, cereals and much more in the morning. Details, right down to a GVGH-monogrammed rubber duck in the shower, are handled seamlessly. Just one minute from downtown, the guest house has no sign and fits right into the neighborhood. Parking is on the street.
Schmidt’s German Village Restaurant, 240 E. Kossuth St.; 614-444-6808.
Say “German Village, Columbus, Ohio” anywhere in the country and you might get referred to Schmidt’s, a traditional German restaurant that’s been in the same family for five generations. Saturday night waits extend to two hours for a dinner of sausages and schnitzel accompanied by German potato salad, applesauce and more. Oompah music sets the tone. Don’t sit too close to the band — they’re enthusiastic.
The Book Loft of German Village, 631 S. Third St.; 614-464-1774.
With 32 rooms of books — three for cookbooks, alone — this is one of the nation’s largest independent book stores. It’s easy to forget time and space (and your friends), and stay until closing time at 11 p.m. daily. Check the website for coupons before arriving.
Pistacia Vera, 541 S. Third St.; 614-220-9070.
Brush up on French patisserie-speak or just point and order some of the best French pastries in the state. Take them away in a paper bag or settle onto the patio furniture and chat with another patron and his dog. Pistacia Vera elevates breakfast or break time.
Helen Winnemores, 150 E. Kossuth St.; 614-444-5850.
Shop local, independent and American at this gem of an art gallery that specializes in American artists.
BONUS VISIT… RAIN OR SHINE
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will introduce you to indoor and/or outdoor gardens. And, it’s just a short drive from German Village. Two favorites are the bonsai display along with the 40 species of palms exhibited in a Victorian-era glasshouse.
If you haven’t already discovered artist Dale Chihuly, you just might fall in love with his glass sculptures staged among the lush greenery. Glass is a medium that lives in the light and vibrates with color. The Conservatory’s Hot Shop demonstrates glass techniques from March to December. Don’t miss it. 1777 E. Broad St.; fpconservatory.org; 614-715-8000.
COSI is a hands-on science museum great for all ages, with a planetarium and giant screen theater. 333 W. Broad St.; cosi.org; 614-228-2674.
Shoppers will want to check out Easton Town Center with its more than 200 stores and restaurants catering to every taste. 160 Easton Town Center; Eastontowncenter.com.