I used to believe the only way to have an amazing travel experience was to go abroad. Of course I was wrong! Our trip to Columbus, Ohio proved there are plenty of fun destinations in the United States which have the added benefit of not including a 16-hour plane trip.
We’d planned to visit our kindred spirit friends who live in Columbus, and while I was looking forward to seeing them, I assumed we’d spend our time playing cards and eating ice cream ( our favorite activities aside from traveling). Once again – WRONG.
As it turns out there’s a lot see in the Buckeye state. In fact, if I included all our adventures, I’d have to write two posts. For now, I’ll simply hit the highlights. (I’ve included our day by day play by play at the end so you can follow in our footsteps if you want.)
For starters, Columbus has an astounding park system. It consists of a series of “Metro Parks”, nineteen in all, which include woodlands, grasslands, wetlands, rose gardens, water gardens, rock gardens, and a buffalo preserve to name a few. We also enjoyed the Franklin Park and Botanical Garden which features a butterfly conservatory.
I’ve never seen anything like these parks before. Frankly, the word park doesn’t seem like the right term for these massive plots of land. Battelle Darby Creek, for instance, encompasses 7,000 acres, and the amazing part is how accessible they are. One minute you’re fighting big city traffic, and the next you’re in the forest, listening to birdsong and the rustling of Aspen leaves.
Hard to imagine? Take a look.
I loved this dancing pair from the Topiary Park in Columbus’s Discovery District. The next few pictures come from the Sisters Garden at Inniswood, and the Blendon Woods.
All of the metro parks are lovely places to wander and enjoy nature.
A short drive from Columbus takes you to Millersburg, Ohio and Amish Country. I’ve always been fascinated by the Amish culture, and it was fun to meet some of the people and learn more about their lifestyle.
What a beautiful area. As you drive along the road you see classic farmhouses set amidst lush fields, which are often being tended by horse-drawn plows.
At Yoder’s Amish Farm we toured two typical homes and learned about the different kinds of Amish sects.
My husband thinks he missed his calling as a goat farmer, and the cute young lady in the background seems to agree. Most Amish are shy about having their picture taken but she didn’t mind.
This woman in the kitchen was making cookies, and thanks to the heavenly aroma of cinnamon and chocolate I was compelled to buy excessive amounts of baked goods. Later as I considered my overabundance of cookies, I had to wonder what had come over me. Oh well, the cookies certainly didn’t go to waste (actually they probably did – my waist.)
We also discovered Ohio’s longest covered bridge, just the right size to accommodate Amish buggies.
Speaking of buggies – What a fun way to travel!
Many of the people in this community are farmers and craftsmen. One of our favorite stores was Weavers Furniture Store.
On the way home, we stopped at Der Dutchman. This famous restaurant features Amish style home cooking which includes every kind of comfort you can imagine – think roast beef, fried chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, and mac and cheese along with delicious salads and veggies. Top that off with bread pudding or apple pie. Yum!
The Secret Room
Another must-see in Columbus was a restored Victorian Mansion – The Kelton House. This beautiful place had a secret in the basement. The owners were part of the underground railroad and had a safe room tucked away for runaway slaves.
Here’s the view out to the back yard.
(Officially the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
Another favorite in the area is Kirtland Ohio, the home of a Latter-Day Saint temple and lots of interesting LDS church history sites.
The Historic Village – a collection of restored pioneer homes and a water-powered sawmill – was an interesting place to spend an afternoon. It felt authentic and the fun guides had lots of good stories to tell.
The Basket Case
This strange building was built to house Longaberger Basket Company in Newark Ohio. Sadly, it’s currently unoccupied. Too bad, since I love the idea of people coming and going out of these basket slats. Anyway, it’s quite an attention grabber as you cruise down the highway. I’d like to see the traffic accident statistics for this area.
Here’s a few more pictures of Historic Downtown Columbus.
Lots of Great Restaurants and stores.
All in all, Columbus, Ohio and the surrounding area is a wonderful place to visit. There’s so much to see and do, and the beautiful countryside is a dream for photographers. As I said before, there’s a lot to be said for the fifty states!
Anyone have a favorite U.S. destination? I’d love to hear about it.
Breakfast at Fox in the Snow
Visit historic Kelton House
Dinner at Rusty Bucket / Dessert Johnsons Ice Cream
Columbus Park of Roses
Butterflies at Franklin Park Conservatory
Kirtland Historic Site
Dinner at The Barn
Walk Blenden Woods Metro Park
Breakfast at North Star
City Tour – North Market / Jenny’s Ice Cream / Scioto mile (Bicentennial Park) OSU,
Dinner Barcelona in German Village
Walk Inneswood Metro Garden
Velvet Ice Cream Tour
Amish Country- Yoder’s / home / farm / school tour / buggy ride
6050 St Rt 515 MIllersberg 330-893-2541
Lunch at Der Dutchman
Swiss Cuckoo clock display 100 N Broadway Sugar Creek