We’ve launched, but we’re actually going back in time for a minute. We’re not in Columbus, OH right now – but we were last week!
My flight back from Portland, OR for a work trip had me landing at the Columbus airport at midnight last Friday – and it’s a 2.5 hour drive back to West Virginia. Since Travis was coming to pick me up, instead of opting for a loooooong night drive from 8pm to 3am, we crashed at an AirBnB for the night, then spent the first half of Saturday nerding around Columbus.
We started in the German Village, a delightful historic neighborhood marked by low lying (ie, nothing higher than three stories) brick buildings occupied by all manner of shops and restaurants. We started at Stauf’s Coffee Roasters for some fuel before falling down the rabbit hole next door at The Book Loft.
Guys, this is probably the best bookstore I’ve EVER been in. There are 32 rooms of books spread out over two floors – the place feels like an old labyrinth – every room feels like its own nook. The entrance is located off the sidewalk – you go past some lovely flowers and gardens to outdoor tables heaped with books.
As soon as I saw the flyer for a sold out author reading on the door I knew I was in a good place – the author? Bruce Campbell. The best B-List actor ever, AND his chin, were going to be in the very same bookstore that evening.
We spent a good hour poking through every room. What a time to find this shop, I thought, knowing that walking out with a metric ton of books, while tempting, isn’t an option with our current lifestyle.
I drooled over ALL the Taschen titles, graphic novels I’d never seen (has anyone read The World of Edena by Moebius?), Smithsonian reference books on gemstones, 80s-inspired fiction, book-inspired socks and t-shirts, you name it – this place has it. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re ever in the area.
Afterward, we walked to the Bicentennial Park on the Scioto River. First, we dipped our toes in the river and watched some kids hit skateboard tricks nearby.
By the way, Bicentennial Park has some extremely choice fountains for playing in water on a hot day. Check this out:
Do as I say and not as I do: wear your swimsuit! I was sadly not prepared for experiencing this magical water feature to its fullest.
Next, we had brunch at CBC Columbus – a brew pub with beer and brunch that was a 10-minute walk from the park. One Rhinegeist Peach Dodo Gose and plate of Breakfast Biscuit Sliders later, we were on our way. We considered going to the zoo, but after concluding that I’m probably too sensitive about zoo animals in pens/cages regardless of other facts (philanthropy, saving the animals, awareness – these are all great things but I JUST GET TOO SAD OKAY), we hit the road back to West Virginia.
En route, we passed a big flea market on the side of the highway in Hocking Hills, Ohio, and since we had plenty of Saturday left, we flipped a bitch and stopped to check it out. I think I get my fascination with flea markets and yard sales from my Grandma Dorothy. She loves a bargain. And I do too. LEMME AT IT!
What an amazing collection of garbage and tchotchkes! This is where Beanie Babies, old crystal ashtrays, and old fishing tackle go to die. But upcycling is alive and well here. Table after table of mismatched mugs, hobnail vases, vintage crystal goblets, motley children’s toys, pocket knives, tools and hardware, costume jewelry, furniture, and more was set up in the parking lot, which also housed a diner, mini golf course, and metal yard art shop all along rows of antique shops, supply stores, and produce stands. Fresh fruit! Creepy dolls! The biggest crescent wrench you’ve ever seen! Chainsaws! Pearls! Army navy gear! Knives (Nifes?!)! Blankets! Milk glass plates! Raccoon skins! Tie Dye! YOU CAN FIND IT ALL HERE.
Exhibit A: All The Things
After scoring two vintage floral mugs and a peach-colored cut glass sugar jar that will someday house my Q-tips for $5 (Gram would be proud), we played about 9 out of 18 holes of mini golf (it was full sun, I had no hat or sunscreen on, plus we wanted to skip to the fun ones with tunnels and water features), then made our way to the truck to leave.
But wait, what was that sound? It was drumming coming through the wall of trees beyond the flea market. We had seen a sign for a Pow Wow coming in – but had also seen 50 other signs for Mary Sue’s Fresh Pies and Bucky Jones’s RV Sales so it sorta got lost in the mix – but decided to scope it out.
We saw all kinds of people dressed in Native American gear – animal skins and furs, moccasins, bells, feathers, face paint – doing tribal dances in a large circular area. Adults, kids, men, women – one little kid was CRUSHING it but I never have the balls or heart to film other people’s kids because it makes me feel like a creeper. The drumming and singing was live, coming from one of the tents on the side. I nosed around the knick knack tents and resisted the urge to collect another dreamcatcher or an oddly appealing wolf-print poncho (I live in an RV now…therefore, a poncho clearly makes sense).
From Hocking, we drove through Athens and stopped at Little Fish Brewing Company on the way – Travis has stopped there a few times now for growler fills but it was nice to hang out at their outdoor picnic tables and sip a few things. Love their Petit Poisson and Saison du Poisson.
All in all, a great day! What are your favorite haunts in the Columbus, OH area?