Westward Ho!...To Ohio we go!...but wait, why are we in West Virginia? That just goes to show you how much actual planning we do for trips. (Actually some times we do A LOT more.) We didn’t realize that the 3.5 hour trip from Pittsburgh to Columbus included a 20 minute passage through the northernmost tip of West Virginia. It wasn’t “Almost Heaven” and there were zero “Country Roads” on the I-70, like John Denver describes, but we can’t really unfairly judge it by the visitor’s center we stopped at to inadvertently check off this state.
Ok now for Ohio for realz…Destination: Columbus, or as I like to say “Columbo”, to visit two of our greatest friends from New Jersey that also moved out west, errr, more like the Midwest. We arrived at night, all ready to scarf up their cheese plate and use their hot showers and unlimited wifi. (I promise we actually like them and don’t just use them for their amenities.) After a brief debate on where to set up shop in the van since they have a sloped driveway, we were able to snag the more sensible flat parking space right in front of their house, a must when moochdocking in or around your friend’s houses. Our friends assured us that their neighbors were “cool” and wouldn’t be calling the cops on our “unsightly” van.
Our friends went to school at Ohio State (also in Columbus) so they were all ready to bring us on their best “Lure Katharine and Humz to Columbus forever” tour. While we did check out some real estate in the area and oogled over the number of cute bungalows we could buy if we settled down there, their attempts fell short.
We did however have some of THE BEST foods including:
- Bacon and Egg Breakfast Sandwich: Fox In The Snow on North 4th Street. I don’t claim to love, or even like breakfast all that much, but this is the best egg sandwich I have ever had! I still lust after it today!
- Sweet Potato & Marshmallow French Toast: Dough Mama on North High Street. Also mouthwateringly delicious, just make sure you plan for a few hours of napping afterward from the sugar high.
- Veggie Burger & Homemade Gingerale: Northstar Café – Short North District, North High Street The homemade ginger ale is the real (North) star here. I probably could have had 5.
- Buckeyes: Little peanut butter chocolate balls of deliciousness. I assume you can get these in a lot of places, but we got ours from Winan’s Chocolates in the German Village on South Third Street. I ate the whole box in one night. Ooops!
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – This is an east coast/Midwest chain but it was really good and we even found one store in Seattle that carries it!
- Schmidt’s Sausage Haus – Located in the German Village, this place isn’t just a restaurant, but a campus of all-things Bavarian, tucked away in a dense residential area. It does get crowded, so make sure you plan accordingly, but you can always spend your waiting time in the few other gift shops next door.
It really pays to visit a location you have friends in, not just for the familiar faces and amenities (hello potable water and garage extension cord) but their ability to pre-vet everything so you don’t “waste a meal” at a subpar establishment. Not to sound like a snob or anything, but when you only have a few days or hours at a location, you can only eat so much, so you want the best of whatever that location has to offer.
One of the highlights of our visit, other than the food, was our tour of the Columbus Idea Foundry The 60,000sf warehouse turned co-working and DIY maker space provides workshops for any kind of craft or event you can think of, and as a budding architect, I can fully appreciate the adaptive reuse. Being dog friendly, Lucy even got to take her first freight elevator ride.
We took a stroll by the State House and down the Scioto Greenway on the waterfront to Bicentennial Park and then hopped over the 71 to German Village to visit The Book Loft, which boasts 32 rooms of books. If not for the books, go, just so you can see if you can find your way out of the cavernous book maze. We ended our visit with a night of cider and snacks at Tabletop Game Café, playing the game of NMBR9, a rocketship flicking game, and various others. With the various neighborhood vibes, food and drinking establishments, and cheap real estate, university connection, and pro-soccer team (one of Humz’s must-haves) Columbus, OH was one of the first places on our travels that we *could* live, if we had to…even though it’s still Ohio.