Autumn in Columbus

For the last 3 months we’d been looking forward to a weekend a way in Charleston, South Carolina.  Since we’ve been taking care of my parents for the last few months, a friend gave us the gift of a weekend away at her home in James Island.  Originally we (my husband and I) planned a romantic getaway for just the two of us, but, later decided we’d take the “big kids” (how we refer to our middle schooler and 8 year old) with us.  Caregiving is both rewarding and heavy.  It affects all involved – even children – who may not carry the financial and physical weight, but certainly experience the emotional waves in the midst.  We thought they could use a getaway as well.

Unfortunately, after not one, but two unexpected car repairs this week ; an unexpected change in childcare for our toddler, and an overall gut feeling that we needed to stay close to home, we made the devastating choice not to go.

We made the best of things by hopping in the car early Friday morning and heading to Columbus, Ohio for the day.

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It was pretty fun listening to the kids try to guess where we were headed.  They had it all wrong. 🙂

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Once we pulled up to COSI there wasn’t much hoorah or excitement.  There’s a great deal of construction happening in the front of the building .  “Are we going to a warehouse?” our daughter asked.  Hesitance quickly turned into excitement as we got closer and the kids were able to see COSI on the side of the building.

We opted for the $30 unlimited passes which allowed us to choose from shows at the planetarium, big screen and rides on the motion simulator.  We all agreed that our favorite exhibit was the OCEAN exhibit – centered around a huge statue of POSEIDON , with streams of water all around.  We also thoroughly enjoyed the ROCKY MOUNTAIN EXPRESS documentary shown on the big screen.  We were surprised by how fascinating it was to see how railroads were built in the sides of mountains and through perilous terrain.

We were pretty hungry by the time we left around 3:30. We headed to Easton Town Center – just about 10 minutes from downtown Columbus.

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We piled our bowls full of italian goodness at PIADA, then ventured over to West Elm.

The boys ventured to over to the Apple Store to drool over the new iphones while my daughter made her Christmas wishlist at the American Girls Store. Of course we also stopped by the LEGO store, Banana Republic , Jeni’s ice cream , Restoration Hardware and most importantly , Barnes and Noble.

It really was a day well spent.  Columbus offers so much to do for all ages.  If we’d stayed over we would’ve met friends at a pumpkin patch, and gone to the zoo as well.  I have a feeling we’ll be visiting Columbus again in the next few months to catch the DINOSAUR exhibit at COSI and catch the presentation of HARRY POTTER live with the Columbus Symphony at the Ohio Theatre in January.

Although I’m a Michigan fan at heart, the Buckeyes hometown gets two thumbs from us for family fun.

 

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Strong Coffee & White Whales

Early this morning I brewed a pot of the strongest coffee we have, poured it in a thermos, and headed in to the city to pick up our oldest from a youth overnighter.  I really don’t mind driving from the outskirts into the city, but I hate driving in the rain.  It was pouring this morning! Thankfully, the rain was no match for my strong coffee & my Justin Bieber playlist. (Yes…I’m a belieber).

By the time I picked up our son my coffee had kicked in . I was ready to explore the city a bit.  My “we stayed up until after midnight” tweenager didn’t share my enthusiasm for exploring, but perked up a bit when we walked up to this place.

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Instantly, I felt as if I were on the streets of Notting Hill.  This beautifully painted corner bookstore is both pleasing to the eye and easy to find.  Although the congested side streets leave little room for parking, we found a safe and inexpensive lot just up the street.

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Immediately, my son found a row of books he’d been wanting to read.  He quickly made  his decision, then sat down in this adorable reading nook.

Of course, I took a little longer to decide which books to buy.

Now that I’m self employed, my budget for books is a bit tighter than it was just 2 months ago.  But, thankfully, I’d already set aside money for our summer books back in January.  Today was a perfect day to dip into it.

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I shopped around for a bit longer. From religion to philosophy ; race issues to the latest fiction, I was very impressed with the variety of books offered for sale.   The store is easy to get around in.  Very clean, bright and filled with both new arrivals and used books.  My son, as if reading my mind said, “I have a feeling this might be one of my new favorite places to visit.” I agreed emphatically.

Upon checking out, the sweet young lady at the counter placed in my bag both a bookmark and a directory of local independent bookstores.  That was the icing on the cake.  I love to see small businesses joining forces to keep our communities and neighborhoods thriving both financially and culturally.

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White Whale Bookstore
Pittsburgh, PA 

Definitely FOUR STARS in my book.