You know what a travel blogger is, right? The kind of person who goes to Tajikistan and Uruguay and Sweden about once a month and takes amazing pictures which you sit at home looking at while feeling somewhat green? Yeah, that’s not me. However, I do go to exciting places like Ohio, so read on, and feel jealous. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to go there yourself!
I have a friend in Ohio. We met thus: she went to Europe with my roommate. I sat at home and looked at the pictures. Some time after they returned, I had a crazy dream about wedding crashing, which involved Mia. As any completely normal person would do, I got her number from Lyn and texted her, “I dreamed about you last night.” Since Mia is a special sort of person, instead of reporting me to the police for stalking, she texted back, and eventually we met in the middle of the night when I crashed at her Florida house with Lyn and several others. So that fateful text evolved into a firm friendship, leading to two recent trips to Ohio for her wedding and surrounding festivities.
Here are the points I learned from visiting this state, in no particular order.
- North Market in Columbus is an excellent place to go. It’s located in an old brick building, and houses all kinds of amazing things such as mango salsa and bouquets of kale and bubble tea. There’s a second story full of tables, at which you can sit and eat the good things you bought below while people watching. There’s also a delightful bread stand at which you can buy a baguette to hold picturesquely along with your kale bouquet, if you want to look as crunchy as can be.
- August is cool enough for a sweater at night, but the days are still toasty. When traveling there, it is recommended to take a car WITH working AC. Otherwise, twelve solo hours driving in a hot car may feel like your personal form of purgatory. If you need something to take your mind off the heat, listening to the audio version of The Scarlet Pimpernel works marvels.
- Staybridge Suites in Columbus is a very nice place to stay. We decided we could probably even live there, because the rooms come complete with goblets and potholders, albeit no silverware. But who needs silverware? The lobby also has a set of somewhat majestic chairs which are ideal for sitting in and perfecting your haughty royal stare.
- You may run out of gas. If so, gather a dozen or so girls and stand around looking helpless. Note: this will not inspire strangers to stop and help. Even a police officer may just stroll past your group looking vaguely interested without offering assistance, but it will be fun nonetheless. Anyhow, if you have a dozen girls available, between the lot you may figure out how to use the tricky twisty gas tank nozzle, and get yourself back on the road again.
- If you visit Cornerstone Mennonite church, you may hear John Schmid in the flesh, preaching about genealogy. According to his introduction, he even has a Wikipedia page, so I guess you could say he’s pretty famous. If you pick the right Sunday to go, church may be at a park and may include iced coffee and a pinata.
- Columbus has a lovely shopping center called Easton, complete with lights strung up, a fountain, and a picturesque red phone booth. It’s a good place to go at night if you want to get cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory, and then walk off the calories. If you time your visit right, you might find about a dozen nice girls to hang out with there as well, nice girls of the kind who can be useful when you run out of gas.
- There are Amish! Regardless of my Amish heritage, I see them seldom enough that when I do, I ogle them like the best of tourists. When you come suddenly upon a buggy on the road, local etiquette is to whip around it, regardless of the narrow, winding roads. You can also pull fearlessly out into blind corners, because that’s what the locals do, and they’re still mostly alive.
- If you’re lucky enough to know a Lynette, try to squeeze your way into her sister’s home for a stay or a meal. You won’t be sorry. Walking into her house feels like entering a land of permanent autumn, complete with spiced cider and cozy throws in every corner. Her hostessing skills are superb, and she made a lovely brunch for us and our tag-alongs, even though most of us were strangers to her and her husband.
- Another reason to stay at Lorene’ and Joel’s house is the chance to see the marvelous pineapple fountain located outside her back door. Naturally this was a sight I couldn’t miss.
So, is it worth your while to visit Ohio?
If you like cities and charming markets like the one in Columbus, yes.
If you don’t like whipping around buggies and blind curves, no.
If you can text a stranger and have the luck to make a friend like Mia there, yes!
If your car has no AC, then possibly no.
But if you can manage to get an exclusive invitation to Joel and Lorene’s charming little Bed and Breakfast, then definitely yes.