Confession: When a couple of friends and I wanted to rendezvous for the weekend and catch up on each other’s lives, I started looking for chic lodging in Mansfield, Ohio. I didn’t know any better. And hey, it was the halfway point. Only after finding that every Airbnb had stuffed turkeys in the living room or larger-than-life plush elephants sitting atop the beds did I realize it was not optimum tourist turf.
That and the penitentiaries.
Okay, moving on.
(If any of you hail from Mansfield, I apologize. I’m sure that both you and your property are charming.)
We settled on Columbus, and by great good fortune, landed on an Airbnb in German Village. We immediately decided to retire there someday. I never saw so much classy brick and refreshing green in my life.
The houses are antique, rich, self-contained. They display surprising little balconies and private corners, and the most adorable little yards, immaculately tended. Some have window boxes full of annuals, or ivy climbing over their walls, and some slip tiny gardens of herbs and vegetables between their brick sidewalks and brick streets.
Our Bnb was within easy walking distance of the beautiful Schiller Park, where we saw baby geese, a great blue heron, a statue of the illustrious Schiller himself, and a stage set for Shakespeare in the Park that night at eight.
We walked to The Thurman Cafe, reportedly home of some of the best burgers in the country. We chose ours to-go and ate them in the comfort of our own place. Each burger was made from three-quarters of a pound of good beef. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Yummy.
I’m not trying to make you jealous, I’m trying to be helpful here. If you ever land in German Village, there are a few places you must stop. I can’t take credit for finding them. My cousin Rachel did, and is probably available as a tour guide for you as well, if the price is right.
The Book Loft is a thirty-two room paradise for book lovers. The building dates from before the Civil War, and has filled many purposes in its time (a tavern, a tuxedo shop, a general store, a cinema, and more).
When the Book Loft moved in 42 years ago, it filled only three rooms, but has expanded eight times since then. Each room is labelled with a category – mystery, science fiction, sports, World War history, bargain books, children’s, and so on.
You wander from room to room, going down three steps here and up a flight into the upper west wing there. Books fill all spaces, higher than you can reach, tucked into cubbies under stairways, lined in skinny alley rooms where only one person can fit at a time (no, they don’t count that as a proper room).
We spent two hours browsing, and walked out with heavy bags of purchases.
There was a gorgeous garden on the outside.
Next we walked to Pistacia Vera, a miraculous little bakery. I’ve never had eclairs and macarons like these. Of course, the only macarons I’ve had are the ones I’ve tried to make. My friend and I oohed and ahhed our way through them. All pastries are made in house, to perfection.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has multiple locations in Columbus, and her cookbook for making ice cream at home is available online. We found a walk-by place to order, and ate cones in the sunshine. Jeni’s recipes call for everything from-scratch, so that my first scoop, Brambleberry Crisp, was crafted with a real, homemade crisp stirred into the ice cream. My second, Brown Butter Almond Brickle, was equally amazing.
After our dessert tour, we went on to little shops and haunts, with funky art, homemade candles, and Ohio proud everything.
Have you been to German Village? Highly recommended, with the right people.
I’d go back with this set in a heartbeat. ❤