Summer plans started with a book, a list, and a pamphlet this year. The book is Secret Columbus: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure by Anietria Hamper. It’s a collection of two-page spreads that use a mix of history and sightseeing to make a reader want to start wandering the city a little bit more which is where the list came in. The list trustingly titled “KStew and [Adventure Buddy’s] Best Summer Break Ever!!!!!” is a collection we started of “Hey, we should do that sometime” type of stuff. Adventure Buddy was just bored/motivated enough to put it all in a calendar complete with links. One of those sometime things was the Columbus Coffee Trail. We got the pamphlet in our Craftin’ Outlaws swag bag; and if we visit four of the coffee shops, we get t-shirts! We seem to be driven by tangible rewards at the end of ridiculous tasks- see the entire winter hike series.
Want to start your day drinking a honey latte in a blue velvet alcove surrounded by a wall of live plants? Yes, please.
Well-caffeinated and slightly disoriented by multiple trips to the underground parking garage, we took off to walking points of interest.
While The Peanut Shoppe was not on our list of stops (it probably should have been we passed it like three times), it is included in the book and features the original neon from the 1930s (Hamper 32-33).
Our first “tourist” destination was the Rhodes State Office Tower which has “the best open-air view of Columbus” (Hamper 28-29). According to the book, there are views from all four sides of the 40th floor which is open to public visitors. This works if you count the view of the LeVeque Tower and Vets Memorial from the tiny window across from the elevator; this side is otherwise taken up by offices.
We checked in with our driver’s licenses in the main lobby, got i.d. stickers to wear, and were escorted up 40 floors in a very swift, but shaky elevator by security personnel Andre. Andre gave us a few stats, pointed out the set up, tried to gawk at window washers with us, and basically said that if we weren’t down in 20 minutes, someone would come looking for us. We are suspicious characters.
The view kind of looked like this:
Fortunately, there were signs at each window clearly labeling what the heck we were looking at because for the most part I was clueless. We made sure to find Adventure Buddy’s husband’s building and obnoxiously text and wave at him.
It seemed to be raining much harder outside the 40th floor than it had been at ground level and the wires for the window washer platforms kept swaying. This is high on the list of jobs I never want to try. We must not have outstayed our welcome because Andre did not come looking for us.
Back at ground level, we took time to look at the portraits and read the profiles for the displayed Faces of Addiction project which is on tour. It is terrifying how easily people can slip in to lives fed by addiction and how daunting get out is.
Re-orienting for our next locale, we had our mouths set for a Reuben at Katzinger’s in German Village, but on the way back to the car, I saw a sign. An “AH-HA” clouds parting sign from another page in the book.
I was certain that I had read about the Ringside Cafe, oldest bar in Columbus (Hamper 70-71). Goodbye, Katzinger’s.
It was hidden away off Pearl Alley. Tiny, dark inside and we had it to ourselves! (I assure you it had filled up a bit by the time we left. That seems important.)
Because we are gluttons for punishment…or just gluttons, we ordered the Buster Douglas. Even split, it is a monster! Thankfully, the kitchen cut it in half for our sharing needs. I have never paid $28 for a hamburger. I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed or blase.
We also replaced one of the two order of fries it comes with with an order of onion rings. The onion rings were perfect. That ridiculous thing where the entire onion slice slides out of the ring of breading on the first bite never happened. They were all crispy little rings of joy!
Adventure Buddy said this was my look of determination before I went all wrinkly nosed, wild animal on it. Not sure what’s up with my tongue. Limbering up I guess.
I had never visited either the downtown branch of the public library which was mercifully quiet like libraries should be, or the topiary garden in the park behind it. The garden was another item on the list and a spread in the book. It has “fifty-four life-size topiary figures” recreating a Seurat painting (Hamper 74).
The topiary garden was a peaceful little pocket in the middle of construction and busy roads. I think some of the people needed a trim, but it was an impressive endeavor to capture all the details.
We wrapped our day by transitioning back to the Coffee Trail and ended up at Pistacia Vera in German Village where I was reminded that macarons seem like a brilliant idea until I bite into them. There’s a weird texture thing there for me, but the flavors are delicious and their ham croissant is yummmmmm.
I would recommend all of today’s experiences. We had a flexible plan, logged a lot of steps, ate good food, and saw cool stuff. Nobody almost died.
Look an MLA citation! My students act like this is an impossible task even though there are a billion websites who will create the citation for them; don’t get them started on the impossibilities of in-text citations. Eye roll. I used to have how to write this shit memorized!
Hamper, Anietra. Secret Columbus: a Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure. Reedy Press, LLC, 2018.