German Village: a traveller’s review


Out and about / Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

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.

With Anna. Photo credit: Rachel Chapman

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.

Strawberry and passion fruit eclair, and raspberry hibiscus macaron.

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.

My son thought I took this picture so I could show him the Corvette.

Have you been to German Village? Highly recommended, with the right people.

I’d go back with this set in a heartbeat. ❤

12 Replies to “German Village: a traveller’s review”

  1. I was going to say, visit Juergen’s Bakery…but a quick google search shows them permanently closed. Alas. The Book Loft however, looks incredible!

  2. Oh, you stopped at my favorite places!!! I don’t go to the book loft because I can’t leave without spending over $100 dollars easily and I love Jenni’s ice cream. The blueberry sweetcorn is SOOOO good! Glad you enjoyed!

  3. I’ve never been to German Town however, I’m remembering a place when I was a child called Alpine Village in Torrance, CA that had cute little shops and and oh the German food was delicious! I found out its still around but looking at their website it’s not the same. Since I’m in AZ I hope our family we get to visit The Grand Canyon for the first time.
    Anyway, I’m glad you had a nice time and oh how that ice cream looks delicious!

  4. We are traveling from New York to Tennessee this summer and will be driving through Columbus, I see a detour in our future. Thank you for the post, I would have never heard of this place, otherwise.

  5. Please give us a blog post with a review of the books you got?! 😉 I love adding new titles to my “to-read” list. Blessings to you! <3

    1. That’s a good question. I’m sure there are nice hotels. I like AirBnB’s, for their extreme privacy and homey-ness. We found one called “Fancy Find Near German Village.” It was perfect for our needs!

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