If you didn’t know, I’m a small town girl. I was born and raised in Orrville, OH – home of Smucker’s Jelly (or the J.M. Smucker Company if you want to get technical!). I was raised amongst the cows (not really, but there are lots of corn fields!), without electricity (just kidding, but we were in the middle of Ohio Amish Country) and without a single modern amenity (ha! I did, in fact have a pink, sparkly Nokia in high school). Really, small town life isn’t a whole lot different than city life, except there, everyone knows my family, I can name every single person I graduated with and football & prom are a BIG. DEAL. I moved to Cincinnati 10 years ago and haven’t settled back into small town America since. Don’t get me wrong, I loved growing up where I was raised by a community and wouldn’t change it for the world, but there are some pretty cool things about the “city life” that I’ve discovered in my time in Cincinnati and now, Columbus. In fact, there’s a lot of cool stuff and what I want to share with you today is how you can enjoy the urban amenities, but feel like you’re in a home-away-from-home with one of these unique lodging properties.
Victorian Village Guest House – Columbus, OH (Victorian Village)
Located less than 3 miles from the Ohio Statehouse; less than 2 miles from, dare I say it, “The Shoe” (Ohio State Buckeye Stadium); and less than 1 mile from the Short North Arts District, the Victorian Village Guest House is your conveniently located, home-away-from-home. This property, beautifully
operated by Innkeeper Lisa Craig-Morton, is perfect for the solo traveler, a couple, a small family or circle of friends. With huge vaulted ceilings and a perfect kitchen, this property was built for a feeling of luxury with at-home amenities. Picture a night out within walking distance to dinner and entertainment or a girlfriend’s weekend with wine night and movies in. Lisa has tastefully decorated this property with what I’ll call a country chic vibe. It’s a mix of fun, playful art, gingham prints and beautiful china. The bed looked so comfy I wanted to curl right up and take
an afternoon snooze in the sun filtering through the windows. I live in Columbus, so let’s face it, we all know I have my favorite restaurants. If I were to make a night out of staying at the Victorian Village Guest House, I’d first start with drinks at one of my favorite new places – Mouton, where vintage cocktails are king. Try their version of a Moscow Mule! Next, I would have dinner at one of my favorite Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Marcella’s in the Short North. If you didn’t know, Happy Hour at Marcella’s is one of the best. You can score half priced drinks and appetizers from 4-6PM (even on Fridays!) After dinner, I’d stroll down to Le Chocoholique, one of my new favorite discoveries. Depending on the time of the year, I’d recommend indulging in one of their hand crafted chocolates or sipping a warm hot chocolate (or both!).
Harrison House Bed & Breakfast – Columbus, OH (Harrison West)
There’s a fairly busy street that runs through the heart of Columbus, 5th Avenue. When you hit the section of the road that is nestled between Neil Avenue and Olentangy River Road, you find this quiet
little oasis where our next Pit Stop sits – Harrison House Bed & Breakfast. Harrison House has been around a long time and has quite a history dating back to the late 1800s. It has grown, changed hands and operated privately and commercially. There are many reasons one visits Lynn Varney, the Innkeeper at Harrison House B&B – if it isn’t for the close proximity to OSU, the Short North and Grandview, or for one of her most requested homemade breakfasts; and if it isn’t for the homely, whimsical ambiance that Lynn has masterfully entwined in historic elegance, it could be to check out the tails of time gone by, as the Harrison House B&B is well known for its visitations, apparitions and spirits. That’s right, Harrison House B&B is
one of Ohio’s most haunted inns! I’m new to the whole haunted meets reality thing and find it quite terrifying. But, Lynn’s property is anything but creepy – with sunlight filling the house from all angles, light, airy wall coverings and furniture and beautiful lace window treatments, I
would have never guessed had Lynn not shared about some of the permanent guests. Lynn assures me that these life-long residents are there to make guests’ stays enjoyable and playful and mean no harm. If you’re interested in learning more about the haunted part of the house, Lynn has great stories that would keep you wrapped up by her sitting room fireplace for hours. She welcomes each guest with a glass of wine in the evening and masterfully whips up breakfast in the morning. If you’re staying at Harrison House B&B, I’d recommend a drink at the quirky The Bottle Shop Bar & Market. The bartenders here are mixing up fascinating cocktails, displayed on the menu by date (yes, by date! I’m sensing an historical theme, here!) They have a great patio for the warmer season and food trucks for munchies. If you don’t fill up on food there, I’d recommend checking out The Table. Located just east of High St. on 5th Avenue, The Table isn’t new, but I only discovered it recently. I love their motto, “fork responsibly.” I guarantee anything you sink your fork into here will be delicious. Coincidentally, I noticed that Lynn and the folks at The Table are an example of “great minds think alike” – both want you to know that if you “arrive as a stranger/guest” you will most certainly leave as a friend. And with that, whether you’re planning your next business trip to Cbus or a night away, know that you have friends in high places with Harrison House B&B and The Table, just awaiting your visit.
Mill Pond Acre Bed & Breakfast – Dayton, OH (Fairborn)
At our final urban pit stop, you’ll find Debbie Downes, the delightful Innkeeper operating the Mill Pond Acre Bed & Breakfast, which is nestled into a residential street in Fairborn, a suburb of Dayton, OH. I visited Mill Pond Acre on a very warm, sunny day in June. The flowers were blooming everywhere (Debbie has a greener thumb than me, certainly!) and the quiet little street I found myself on was relaxing and peaceful, despite being just a stones throw from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Debbie showed me into the
community living room area, where I could see myself cozied up with a good book and a mug of tea. The main house was built in 1920 and has three guestrooms. One of these guest rooms, paired with Debbie’s unparalleled hospitality, has at least one regular that stay with her so often, they’re like family!
If you take the small path that winds to the carriage house, you’ll find the newest addition to the B&B, the cottage, which is a private room detached from the main house with its own sitting area. Just above the cottage you’ll find the carriage house room which is where Debbie serves a traditional American breakfast to guests overlooking the meticulously manicured garden. These cottage, the carriage house breakfast area, the main house and the garden are all nestled onto, you guessed it, an acre! Mill Pond Acre is perfect for those visiting Wright-Patt AFB, The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, or spending an afternoon visiting all of the shops in downtown Fairborn.
Have you stayed at one of these Urban Oases? Tell us about it! There are so many great places to stay when visiting these cities, it’s hard to choose, but I hope that I’ve highlighted some new places to add to your bucket list of travel. And with that, always remember –
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck