Welcome to Columbus, Ohio, the state capital and home of the U.S.’s largest college campus at Ohio State University. Come to visit, and you’ll discover charming neighborhoods, filled with fabulous restaurants, cool shops, and fascinating museums, not to mention the granddaddy of 4th of July celebrations! This city is as All-American as you can get!
Driving through Ohio State University, one can’t help but be impressed with the size of this campus. It gave me a thrill to see where the Buckeyes played football. With a student body population of 65,000, Ohio State offers visitors a range of cultural venues. I stopped by the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, displaying original and printed comic strips, editorial cartoons and cartoon art. Their current exhibit shows cartoons combating racism in America. Also, be sure to visit the Wexner Center of the Arts right across the way.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum Honors the Human Spirit
A vision of John Glenn, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum opened in Columbus, Ohio in 2018, one of the newest tributes to Veterans across the U.S. Their highly interactive museum features fewer artifacts and more human stories for those who put their lives on the line for democracy. More importantly, it highlights their accomplishments after service to their communities going into law enforcement, teaching and helping others.
Motts Military Museum
Motts Military Museum in nearby Groveport is both indoors and out, with vehicles, military aircraft, and a Higgins Boat from World War II. The Museum also boasts a firetruck, F.D.N.Y. Ladder 18, crushed during the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers. 911 items also include police cars from Ground Zero, a piece of the World Trade Center, and an antenna.
The true American icon is Warren Motts himself who has been collecting artifacts since before 1987. His goal is to share the personal stories of the men and women who served in all of the United States Armed Forces.
Not only is this the place to see and be seen in Columbus, but it is the ultimate destination for luxury accommodations. This 149-room boutique hotel is part of the Autograph Collection, located in the historic Leveque Tower and stands as a beacon of hospitality against the city skyline. I loved the spaciousness of the room with plenty of high-tech amenities to keep me connected. Dinner at the Keep Restaurant was both casual and refined with its Modern French Brasserie inspired cuisine and curated signature cocktails.
Where to Eat
For a great take on local food, head to Katalina’s in Victorian Village. Known for their famous Original Pancake Balls, filled with Nutella and other delicious ingredients, Katalina’s serves a full menu of vegetarian and GMO-free options. Loved their Shagbark Corn-Chips, made locally.
See where “The Shawshank Redemption” was filmed
If you loved the award-winning 1994 film, The Shawshank Redemption, a visit to the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield is the ticket! This imposing building will show you where many of the scenes were shot, recreating the movie for you all over again. Seeing the actual (tiny) jail cells was disturbing as well as how high the cells were built. Take their self or guided tour and get the inside scoop on the movie. There’s also a self-guided driving tour, the Shawshank Redemption Trail to take you to other filming sites.
Stay in a Treehouse!
For something a little different, stay above the treetops at the Mohican Treehouse Resort in Glenmont. Discover spacious living areas, kitchens, luxury bedding, and indoor/outdoor showers, ideal for couples and families. You’ll love walking across the suspension bridge that takes you to the treehouse. Cabins and country homes available as well.
What’s Your Adventure Quotient?
About an hour’s drive from Columbus is Hocking Hills, a wonderland of outdoor recreation for hiking, canopy tours, rock climbing, rappelling, canoeing, and river rafting trips. Explore Hocking Hills State Park with its towering cliffs, waterfalls, and caves. This all-season destination will take you into nature for thrills and a chance to chill out.
Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls
Escape to natural beauty at this amazing Bed & Breakfast in Logan, Ohio, surrounded on three sides by Hocking Hills State Park. Choose from cabins, cottages, and yurts for a plush, relaxing stay at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. Get cozy by the fireplace in one of their 1840s-style log cabins, glamp it up in a geodome or relax in the jacuzzi. Enjoy a full gourmet breakfast at Kindred Spirits to start your day. Plan for a relaxing spa treatment featuring facials, hot stone massage, couples massage, salt scrubs and mud wraps. What gets you is the quiet as you sip a cup of coffee on your porch, hearing nothing but birds chirping. It all adds up to a real escape you’ll want to repeat again and again.
What to Do in Hocking Hills
Be sure to visit Jack Pine Studio to see his awesome glass pumpkins and have a chance to try your hand at blowing glass. It was great fun and I love my new creations. Every fall, Jack Pine Studio hosts a Glass Pumpkin Fest, an outdoor art show featuring local artists and food vendors. This year, the festival is held from September 23 to September 25 where you can buy beautiful, one-of-a-kind, blown glass pumpkins.
Where to Eat
The Hungry Buffalo has it all; great appetizers like Fried Green Tomatoes, Buffalo Meatloaf and sizzling steaks. For dining with a view of the back 9, check out Urban Grille at the Hocking Hills Golf Course, sister property to Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. We dined divine on their Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Bourbon Chicken and Blackened Ribeye, followed by Brown Butter Cake for dessert.
For more information about visiting Columbus, go to experiencecolumbus.com. Their slogan is “Live Forward Columbus and after visiting this trendy city, you’ll want to as well.