You might not have guessed it, but Columbus, Ohio is a perfect place for a Romantic Getaway. If you know where to look, you can find charming cultural villages, the best that fine dining has to offer, along with great shopping and entertainment. What more do you need for a romantic getaway?!
We stayed at the German Village Guest House in the German Village. Our room was a part of the Whittier Suites, located just a few blocks from the main guest house. The Suites are located in a house on East Whittier Street. There is one Suite upstairs and one downstairs. Each Suite has a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. It is really a small apartment.
We stayed in Whittier Suite 2 located upstairs. The theme for this suite is Uptown Luxury. The suite had everything we could possibly need for our stay. The kitchen was stocked every morning with breakfast items (fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt, bagels, banana bread and more)! There were all kinds of dishes and cooking utensils so we could have easily done our own cooking during our stay. The living room had a desk, couch, there was even a DVD player stocked with a few movies! The bedroom also had its own TV. There was a queen sized bed with comfortable linens. The bathroom felt like a spa! There was a Kohler soaking tub that was so luxurious! We felt right at home in all of the rooms. The lovely decor made the suite cozy and comfortable.
The area was very quiet and private. We felt like we were the only ones in the house. I am not even sure if anyone was staying downstairs! You will have a large flight of stairs to go up to get to suite two. If that is an issue for you, you may want to request suite one on the first floor. You park on the street in front of the house. We only had a problem finding a parking space once. We only had to park about a block away. Most of the time, we had no trouble getting a space right in front of the house. We really enjoyed our stay!
What was the best thing about the German Village Guest house? Location, location, location! The German Village is so charming with its brick roads and small alleys. There is so much to do! The German Village Guest House is located right in the German Village and it is just five minutes from downtown! Once we arrived we did not have to drive very far to get where we wanted to go. It was definitely convenient!
The first night that we were there, we headed to Basi Italia for dinner. The snow was coming down and the roads were not exactly perfect for driving in, so we were shocked to see how packed this little restaurant was on a Thursday night in the middle of a snowstorm! That is certainly a clue as to what a popular hot spot Basi Italia is. Specializing in Italian and Mediterranean inspired entrees, Basi Italia is located in the Victorian Village on Highland Street. It is another very charming area located close to the German Village. You will find Basi Italia in a house located on a brick road in the village. It is very small. It was so full that we had to be sat on the patio which was enclosed and heated for the winter. Even the patio was packed! The service was so friendly. Our server was full of personality and was very knowledgeable about the menu offerings.
We started out with the Pecorino & Zucchini with toasted almonds. I had never had such a dish and honestly I did not think I liked Zucchini, that is until I tried this dish. But this starter was light and flavorful. Next, my husband tried the Roasted Tomato Gorgonzola Soup. I am not a fan of gorgonzola in anything so I just had a sip. It was very rich in texture and the roasted tomato taste really came through. However, that gorgonzola still got me and I let my husband finish it. I ordered the Lobster Bucatini and my husband ordered the Prosciutto Scallops with Butternut Squash. Oh, the presentation of our meals! They were almost too pretty to eat. The Lobster Pasta was served with a lobster tail sitting on top of a bed of thick pasta. It was surrounded by tomatoes. The vodka-tomato sauce was more mild than I expected. It was also more on the liquid side and I would have preferred a thicker sauce. That was my only complaint about the dish. The Prosciutto Scallops with Butternut Squash on the other hand, had a sauce that was out of this world delicious! It was a perfect compliment to the scallops. The butternut squash was tasty and just perfect for this time of year!
A visit to the Columbus Museum of Art is just perfect for a romantic weekend. It is especially perfect when you hear about the romance of one of their current collections, Monet to Matisse: Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Sirak Collection. The Sirak Collection has been deemed one of the finest private art collections in the world. The story of Howard and Babette Sirak is a touching one. They would travel the world together and found these incredible works of art on their travels. The couple would need to agree on each of the 78 works that they acquired. The collection contains works by masters such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste-Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Paul Klee, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Chaim Soutine, and Henri Matisse among others.
Also being featured right now is Caravaggio: Behold the Man! The Impact of a Revolutionary Realist. This exhibit ends soon (February 12, 2012). It features ten other paintings, lent from the collections of major Ohio museums and one private collection, inspired by the realistic style known as Caravaggism.
We were quite impressed with our visit to the Columbus Museum of Art. Another highlight included the Wonder Room, which incorporates art into a playful environment. It is full of hands-on exhibits where you can interpret and recreate works of art! I was also impressed with what the museum calls Connectors. They are visitor interaction stations located inside the galleries. For example, inside the Caravaggio Exhibit, there is a connector which allows people to leave post it notes imagining what the figures in a painting are saying or thinking. And yet another allowed visitors to leave wishes for peace which were then all beautifully displayed on The Wish Tree in the Love and War Gallery.
The Columbus Museum of Art is undergoing renovations so exciting things are coming to this fantastic museum. Don't worry, it is still open during renovations.
Photo Credits: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, called Caravaggio, Italian, 1571 – 1610, Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), around 1605, Oil on canvas, 50-3/8 x 40-1/2 inches (128 x 103 cm), Musei di Strada Nuova -- Palazzo Bianco, Genoa, © Archivio Fotografico del Centro di Documentazione per la Storia, l’Arte e l’Immagine di Genova; Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Christine Lerolle Embroidering, ca. 1895 - 1898. Oil on canvas, 32 1/8 x 25 7/8 in., Gift of Howard D. and Babette L. Sirak, the Donors to the Campaign for Enduring Excellence, and the Derby Fund
We decided to head back to the German Village for lunch. If you are staying in the German Village then you must eat at Schmidt's Restaurant and Sausage Haus for a true German experience! From the moment you step into this authentic German Restaurant, you feel immersed in the culture. The decor, the smells, the staff is even dressed in German attire! Again, it was so busy we almost did not get a table! We decided to try something on the light side and went with some Potato Soup. However, I also just had to try some spatzel on the side! Our server suggested the traditional gingersnap gravy to go with them. Yum! I would have never guessed to try some gingersnap gravy with spatzel but it was delicious! The flavors were just oozing out of the gravy! The potato soup was also a big hit. It was good down to the last drop! On our next visit we will have to try some German Autobahn Buffet. It was stocked with several kinds of sausage and traditional side dishes.
Less than one block from the Whittier Suites is Barcelona. Barcelona is really a dining experience. They describe themselves as a culinary fusion of metropolitan chic and Old World European charm. I would have to agree. You can feel that Old World European charm from the moment you arrive in the building. The exposed brick walls, low lighting and wood floors set the mood for this dining experience. Everyone we encountered was so friendly and engaging. They were offering a Tapas Tasting on the night we visited. I decided to try that. My husband opted for the Vieiras, a pan seared sea scallops dish. The Tapas Tasting was the perfect way to experience Barcelona.
My Tapas meal was served in three courses. The first course included crab salad on a toasted baguette and Catalan style guacamole with corn chips. The crab salad baguette was good, but the guacamole was the best I had ever tasted. It was so smooth and full of flavor. I had never had better guacamole. I wish I could have ordered some more. But it was time for my second course. My second course included a tomato and goat cheese omelet, blue cheese fritters and a caramelized onion sandwich. The flavors in the caramelized onion were delicious. I am not a big fan of goat or blue cheese. However, I still found both of those dishes enjoyable. My husband loved the fritters and ate most of them! Finally, the third course offered herb crusted scallops and pan seared salmon on risotto. The salmon on risotto was my absolute favorite of them all. The salmon was light and flaky and slightly crispy on the outside. The full of flavor salmon was perfectly complimented by the curry risotto and citrus garlic oil. All of the flavors combined were simply divine. The Vieiras that my husband ordered was also delicious. The sea scallops were in a creamy sauce of bacon and crimini mushrooms. He raved about rich flavor of the sauce. The scallops were seared to perfection.
Barcelona will definitely be on our list of places to visit each time we find ourselves in Columbus. It is truly a unique dining experience that is not to be missed. Order the Tapas Tasting if it is available. It is a wonderful to sample a variety of fantastic dishes.
If you are looking for some fun entertainment then you must check out Shadowbox Live. You will find Shadowbox Live in the Brewery District on Front Street. The show that we saw is called Body Language. Body Language offers a comical show focused on the topic of love and relationships. This sketch comedy show is also combined with a live rock and roll performance. It is such an unusual combination but we really enjoyed ourselves! Rotating from sketch to song to sketch to song, this show will definitely keep you entertained. One of my favorite sketches included a little girl (played by a woman) who pretended to be Barbie and Ken's relationship counselor. I also loved the sketch where a couple was in a car and "communicated" by changing the songs on the radio. The song lyrics did the "talking" during the skit. It was hilarious. Then in between each skit the house band performed live versions of rock and roll songs with small props and full costume changes. Some of the more memorable songs included "Light My Fire" and "Purple Rain". When you arrive, you get seated at round tables with complete strangers. It is a chance to make some new friends! Some food is available as well if you are looking for a light snack. The food and drinks are served by actors in the performance. It was a unique experience to get to meet and chat with them as they attended to the tables. If you have a chance to see Body Language, take it. It is the perfect date night activity for any couple.
Finally, I was told that I could not leave the German Village without trying the macarons at Pistacia Vera. Now I know why. This quaint little dessert boutique was a wonderful place to end our trip. The employee that assisted me was so very nice. They all looked so beautiful in the case, I did not know which kinds to try! She recommended that I try the pistachio macaron. I am so glad I took her advice. I also chose the coconut cream and peppermint chocolate flavors. The pistachio was without a doubt, the best. Their macarons are light and fluffy and worth every penny of the $1.25 each. Do not, I repeat, do not miss out on these sweet treats! They are just perfect to share with your significant other!
There you have it. That is the story of our perfectly wonderful, perfectly relaxing and perfectly romantic getaway in Columbus. We had such an amazing time during our stay. There was so much more to do, but we will get to that on our next visit. That is the thing about Columbus. There are all of these hidden treasures around every corner. If you know who to ask and where to find them, they will make your visit an absolute joy! Thank you, Columbus! We will be back again soon!
Disclosure: I did not receive any financial compensation for this post. All opinions are my own and uninfluenced by anyone else. I did receive some free product(s) to facilitate my review from the companies or their PR agencies. See my full disclosure.