There’s No Place Like Home …

There’s nothing that solidifies my love for my slice of peaceful paradise here in the heart of the Mohican valley quite like three full days spent in the big city of Columbus. I was thrilled in anticipation of this extremely rare little mother/daughter get-away and had a great time…but am now also happy to be back in the land of fewer cars, people and a LOT less noise and over stimulation.  As the saying goes, “less is more”.

The first thing on our agenda was a much awaited visit to the new IKEA store. After driving clear to Pittsburgh for our first IKEA experience several years ago followed a couple years later to the only other one in Ohio — still a 2 1/2 hour drive south to West Chester —  we have been eagerly awaiting the opening of one so much closer.  In regards to a unique shopping experience, it did not disappoint. So many things you don’t normally see elsewhere presented in creative and unusual ways. In addition to the shopping, I had hoped we could also explore the cafe’ and it’s “Swedish fare”, as I love to try new foods. However, given our lengthy “to-do list”, we decided to forego that.  Maybe next time. The only “negative” for me would have to be the “sea of people”, as evidenced by the fact that we arrived in the parking lot a mere 20 minutes after they opened only to find it already filled to the point of us having to park clear out in the ‘back 40′!

After a relaxing lunch at Max & Erma’s in neighboring Westerville, we set out to do something we had talked about for years. Many, many times we have elected to drive home from Columbus via the old Route 3 instead of  I-71. Seeing as how Rt 3 comes right into Loudonville and I personally find it much more scenic and less hectic, it makes sense… me.  In doing so, we have often remarked, while going through downtown Westerville with it’s quaint charm, that “someday” we should just park the car, walk the streets and explore the cute shops. So, that is FINALLY what we did.  We explored a cool little ladies consignment boutique, a bakery, “Amish” furniture store and, my favorite….a store filled to its’ artsy brim with the products of Ohio artists only.  Overall an enjoyable little jaunt.

After checking into the Hilton at Polaris, which I can highly recommend, we set off on our quest to visit at least one area winery. After doing some research on what wineries were closest to our location, we decided on the Powell Village Winery.  Now in telling you about this particular area, I must digress for a minute. In the last few years when I have visited here, it just blows my mind to see all the changes that have taken place. This trip  even more so. About 30 years ago, I worked down the road in Worthington and, being rather homesick for the hills and green scenery of Loudonville, I used to drive to the TINY little village of Powell on my lunch hour. At that time, it was much like McKay (as you locals know, you dare not blink while passing or you will surely miss it!)….it’s only business was a general store and a bakery behind that. I would sometimes stop at the bakery for a cookie or two to enjoy while exploring the backroads that traversed all the green FIELDS that dominated that area. I especially enjoyed driving up the winding Olentangy River Road with all of it’s huge old trees and the occasional stately “mansion” sprinkled here and there along it’s path.  Fast forward to now. The old village store is a brew house, the bakery is no longer and there are no empty fields for miles around. The streets of Powell are lined with buildings upon buildings and finding a parking space is like looking for Waldo at an OSU game! The neighborhoods….and yes, now there are actually “neighborhoods”…. are jam-packed with million dollar homes and condos and all the people and ‘accoutrements’ that go along with all that. Oy vey!!  No more little “village”!  So, after wrapping my head around all that during the first few minutes in town, we found the winery and settled in for a “tasting”.  From here we moseyed over to Local Roots, a rather contemporary little spot with a menu featuring locally sourced food, for some supper.

Day two started off with some shopping at World Market — one of our favorites, followed by our first visit to Molly Woo’s for lunch. In my experience, most Asian restaurants are not famous for having a particularly noteworthy atmosphere….if any at all. We found this spot, however, to not only have a rather uniquely interesting atmosphere and fun decor, but the food was quite excellent as well. A definite repeat for future dining pleasure!  After the last fortune cookie was read, we headed back to the spa at our hotel where we indulged in pampering pedicures……another rare and lovely treat enjoyed immensely.  After having our tootsies massaged and polished, we slid on our oiled -up feet over to the Bonefish Grill for supper.  Without a doubt, this was my favorite and where I had the best meal of our trip. Like Molly Woo’s, this is a definite on the future repeat list. Day 2 ended with some old fashioned relaxing in our comfy room in front of the boob tube.

Day 3, our last, started off with a yummy breakfast at First Watch…..necessary to prepare for the rigors of shopping ahead!  Off to Charming Charlie’s ……a particularly dangerous place for Moi’….where the contents of my wallet and I seem to mysteriously part ways whenever I cross the threshold.  From here we finished our 3 day excursion by holding down the floors at the Mall for a few hours…….thus doing our part to keep the Columbus economy ‘flush’.

So, there you have it in a nutshell. My little 3 day mini-vacation/getaway. This one was particularly sweet as I got to spend it with my daughter — my best friend and the love of my life. In general, I find vacations a strange bird indeed. Number one, I only have them once or twice a year, so, they are like gold to a pirate, for me. As much as I anticipate them though , it also takes me a day or two to adjust once I’m off work. I get so excited just dreaming about all I will do but invariably I also start to notice the excess people and traffic and sometimes feel overwhelmed by all that… country bumpkin that I apparently am.   I guess Dorothy had it right ….there’s no place like home.


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