Business Traveler Special – Save $50 Bucks

German Village Guest House and Whittier Suites is offering a sweet deal for business travelers wanting to stay near downtown Columbus Ohio.

German Village Guest House is the ideal place to stay for a more customized and personalized business travel experience in Columbus, Ohio. Just one minute south of Downtown Columbus and less than 15 minutes from Port Columbus International Airport (CMH), German Village is a great point of departure for all things in Downtown Columbus, the Short North Arts District, Arena District, Columbus Convention Center, Palace and Ohio Theatres, COSI and The Ohio State University. Area companies include Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Grant Hospital, Nationwide Insurance, Grange Insurance and numerous design and architecture firms.

SAVE $25 per Night for a minimum 2 night stay at GV Guest House or Whittier Suites.

(Not good with other offers. Monday – Thursday nights only. Non-commissionable. Mention Business Traveler Special when making your reservations.)

Step Into Charming German Village

Laura Johnston Cleveland Plain Dealer 09/16/07 — Article   

Columbus — Picking my path down Beck Street, my feet thumping the bricks and my iPod pumping a Jock Jams anthem into my ears, I stop.

There, behind that wrought-iron fence is a storybook garden with a wooden trellis, deck chairs, curtains and lamps. And there, that next house, lush pink and greenery surrounding a glittering pool. And there, across the street, a forest of flowers in Frank Fetch Park. Like charms on a silver bracelet, they beckon.

“Aren’t I darling?” “Look at me!” “No, no, look at me!”

I look. And I marvel at the narrow brick road and wavy brick sidewalks, the magazine-spread gardens and stunningly restored brick homes.

I’m not in Ohio anymore. This must be Charleston, S.C. Or Back Bay Boston. Or some hidden corner of Brooklyn.

It feels too cosmopolitan, too old and too stylish to be Columbus. But I look up. The skyline’s still there, towering over the peaked roofs and chimneys.

Welcome to German Village, 233 acres of homes, stores and restaurants listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Once a working-class neighborhood full of brewery workers and their families, German Village was settled like much of Columbus’ south side by Germans who immigrated after 1830. By 1865, Columbus was one-third German, and German-language businesses, schools and newspapers thrived.

That ended with anti-German sentiment during World War I. And when Prohibition passed, the beer makers and taverns fell on hard times. In the 1950s, the northern third of the neighborhood was razed.

It wasn’t until 1960, when a local activist pushed for preservation, that the neighborhood was recognized as something worth saving.

Now, homes here can go for more than $1 million, and folks come from all over to visit the village’s famed boutiques and restaurants. The annual Oktoberfest, a fund- raiser for the volunteer German Village Society, draws thousands for beer, pretzels, polka and, this year, the band Saving Jane. I came. I shopped. I drank and ate — a lot. And I plan to return.

Thursday, 11 a.m.

First stop: the German Village Society Meeting Haus (that’s the German spelling of house, of course) to get my bearings — and lots of information. Stocked with maps, pamphlets, souvenirs, a snappy movie and wall panels tracking the timeline of the neighborhood, the visitors center is a must-see stop. It’s open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

“Walking around here is the best part,” says P. Susan Sharrock, the chatty office manager. “Looking at people’s gardens costs nothing.”

Getting the goods on what to do and where to eat is also free from Sharrock, who dishes that the Olde Mohawk Restaurant was once a “house of ill repute” and that the best burgers in town are at Thurman Cafe. I mark that on my to-do list.

But first it’s lunch at Katzinger’s Delicatessen on the edge of German Village, which runs from East Livingston Avenue to Nursery Lane, bounded by Pearl and Lathrop streets. At 12:30 p.m. on a Thursday, frat boys, businessmen and a quartet of senior citizens pack the casual corner. It’s also jammed with cheese and fish cases and shelves of pasta, salsa, pickles and crackers. Bright hand-lettered signs line the walls, and two barrels of pickles (garlic and dill, help yourself) stand amid the chaos. The sandwiches are huge, and my Reuben totally breaks my diet. But dripping with dressing and oozing cheese, it’s worth the calories.

Thursday, 1:30 p.m.

Refreshed and stuffed, I mean to simply wander. But a few blocks down Third Street, I can’t resist Caterina Ltd., a collection of European house wares, art and gifts.

The sunny store bursts with blue-and-yellow aprons and vases and pretty pieces, including a set of monogrammed dinnerware custom-ordered from Italy. I want the pink-and-green “Rosetta” pattern, but at $144 for a dinner plate, I manage to put it back without breaking it.

But I do find an affordable Christmas present for my mom.

Down a few more blocks is The Book Loft, the only full-service independent bookstore left in Columbus, says co-owner Carl Jacobsma. “This is no Borders.”

Nope. It’s way more confusing, a maze of stairs and 32 rooms, with arrows pointing out specific sections. But it’s way more fun, never knowing what you’ll walk into. And every book is at least 5 percent off.

I ask about “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, get directions to the autobiography section and am, frankly, proud when I follow them, up the stairs, then down the stairs, to find it.

Books in hand, I’m off to St. Mary Roman Catholic Church, finished in 1868. I peek into the cool dimness and check out the stained glass and ceiling paintings, which incorporate German phrases.

That’s not to say German Village is very, well, German.

There’s Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, of course (more on that in a minute), but no one walks around speaking Deutsch. The locals don’t wear dirndls or juggle pretzels.

The neighborhood is more antique than ethnic, more hip urban enclave than living-history museum.

Thursday, 4 p.m.

Nothing is more hip than the German Village Guesthouse and its annex, Whittier Suites, considered a boutique hotel.

Really, my suite is its own apartment — living room, bedroom, fully stocked kitchen and a bath room with a shower big enough to do cartwheels. In grays and neutrals, it’s Zen and modern, and the kitchen is chock-full of yummy food, from banana bread to fresh blueberries.

At more than $200 a night, though, the price is a little steep. So, as many of the glowing guestbook comments from celebrating couples indicate, this place is best for special occasions. Another, more affordable option is the Best Western Clarmont Inn & Suites on High Street.

After checking in, I walk the block to SchillerPark, 23.5 acres of grass, paths, playground and gardens.

The park is fat with flowers lining paths to the statues of poet Friedrich von Schiller and the “Umbrella Girl” (which is, no kidding, a girl holding an umbrella). It’s also planted with people — painting, running, playing tennis, gardening, reading and walking dogs.

This is where German Village hangs out.

I, however, am in the mood to eat, tourist style.

As a warm-up, I stop at the first Max & Erma’s. Although it shares a menu with the suburban franchises, this original is tucked into a corner storefront and gives the “neighborhood gathering place” slogan some meaning.

I then walk to Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, which is as cheesy as it is meaty. With an oompah band playing the “Simpsons” theme song in the background, I load my buffet plate with bratwurst, sausage stew, mashed potatoes, potato salad, sauerkraut and mild Bahama Mamas. (I kept thinking the talked-about Bahama Mama was a drink. It’s not. It’s a sausage.) It’s comfort food at its best. And yes, my diet is completely gone. I refuse to think about it.

Because, for dessert (only $2 with the Autobahn Buffet), I treat myself to a jumbo cream puff, a half-pound of filling in a pastry shell.

Good thing I plan to run in the morning.

Now, though, I sit and drink wine in SchillerPark while watching a performance of “The Taming of the Shrew.” It’s one of the last Shakespeare-in-the-park plays of the season, which runs May through Labor Day weekend.

Other events — from a party to watch the Columbus Marathon to a Halloween bash and pet parade — fill SchillerPark in the fall.

Friday, 8 a.m.

Tucking the duvet under my chin, I spend my last sleepy moments in a squishy king-size bed before talking myself up and into my running shoes.

I do a loop of SchillerPark, then up Third Street, over to High — where German Village meets the Brewery District — then anywhere my feet want to carry me, down Beck Street, past Frank Fetch Park, around and through and in and out of alleys.

After a luxurious shower, I hit the sidewalks again to check out Starbucks and Cup o’ Joe, across from each other on Third Street.

Unlike most people in their 20s, I abhor coffee, so I order a smoothie at Cup o’ Joe and settle in to people watch. The place is chill, with folks studying and talking and clicking away on their laptops, but I hear from locals it’s the place to be seen.

From there, I’m off to the Helen Winnemore Craft shop, by most accounts the oldest retailer of American crafts.

In 1938, Winnemore began offering afternoon tea as shoppers perused her dressers and cabinets for goodies made by fellow Quakers. Now saleswomen offer iced tea and water when you enter the store.

Sun streams through colorful glassware, and chimes tinkle as I open drawers brimming with jewelry and sift through greeting cards.

Afterward, I make a quick stop at Schmidt’s Fudge Haus and Gifts, where I pick up some chocolate-and-peanut-butter buckeyes to take home.

Friday, 1:30 p.m.

And then, lunch at the Thurman Cafe, where the burger is every bit as big and scrumptious as promised.

A small, well-worn pub, it — like the neighboring Easy Street Cafe — is a busy hot spot on weekend nights. But for a late lunch, I get a table by a window, surrounded by Budweiser labels on the ceiling and autographed dollar bills on the walls.

I order a Macedonian burger, three-quarters of a pound of beef on toast, with roasted red peppers. Plus steak fries. Mmm.

After lunch, I head to Studio Fovero, a salon and spa set in a comfortable brick carriage house. Haircuts start at $38, and mine was definitely worth it.

Then I stop by Franklin Art Glass Studios, which sells sheets of stained glass and gorgeous wall hangings and lamps. It also makes custom pieces. I resist a sudden urge to buy a stained glass lamp for my living room.

My husband, Craig, would kill me.

When he joins me that evening, he does like the black-and- white photograph of Cleveland I found at Metroscap, a store that sells only marvelous, framed black-and-white cityscapes. They’re small and square, little snippets of detail that can make any city feel as glamorous as New York.

Friday, 6:30 p.m.

I feel movie-star fancy as I sashay through Lindey’s signature lighted portico.

Craig and I arrive at the Columbus institution after dropping by Barcelona, a Spanish restaurant with what’s said to be the best patio in town. Secluded behind a wooden fence, it’s romantic and lush with greenery.

Lindey’s, a more traditional bistro, also features a fabulous patio, with a fountain and view of the darling Beck streetscape. But we sit inside to enjoy French onion soup, crab cakes and warm chocolate cake (for me) and gazpacho, margherita pizza and apple torte (for him). The service is great, as is the food. And we leave stuffed again, as we search for some nightlife.

Friday, 10 p.m.

Figuring we should try beer in the Brewery District, where southside Germans made beer as early as 1836, we land at the Columbus Brewery Co., a restaurant on the banks of the Scioto River.

While the CBC makes beer, there are no real breweries left in the 300-acre Brewery District, because Prohibition devastated the industry. There are few original buildings either, according to the German Village Society. But there are brand-new condos and plenty of casual bars, though most of the club scene has migrated to the Arena District and Short North, locals informed me.
Settling in on the patio with friends, we taste a pale ale and an apricot ale, both fuller than my typical Bud Light. Unfortunately, the place closes at 11 p.m.

So we move to High Beck Tavern, a bar on the corner of Beck and High streets.

A band plays (I feel really old when I ask my husband why it has to be so loud), and the bar feels like college — low-key, cool and a little grimy.

Saturday, 8 a.m.

One more time, we walk to SchillerPark, where my husband and I bat tennis balls and watch dog walkers talk before bidding goodbye to our sweet suite.

But once I hit the highway, I call my mom, convincing her that we must come back for the June Haus und Garten tour.

Or, maybe, Oktoberfest.

German Village at Christmas Time

German Village at Christmas Time is Magical – Come Stay with Us!

The Tennessean — Old-world vibe brightens Christmas in Columbus

By Kathy Witt – The Tennessean (11/18/07) — Article

Visit Columbus, Ohio, this holiday season and you’ll be greeted with a city twinkling with 10,000 candles in its German Village and dazzling with the works of a French Impressionist in its downtown.

The Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal will be on display at an indoor garden railway, and the North Pole experienced at the zoo. All this, plus shopping and gallery-hopping in a winter wonderland give travelers a world of reasons to explore Columbus.

Soon it will be cheaper than ever: Skybus begins a Chattanooga-to-Columbus route in December, with fares as low as $10 each way.

Look at the lights

Add an old-world touch to your holidays with a visit to German Village, a 233-acre neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its bricked streets, wrought-iron fences, tiny and trim yards, and eclectic architecture — including buildings with Queen Anne, Italianate and Dutch features — lend a Euro vibe to the nation’s largest privately funded historic district.

During its Village Lights event, 10,000 candles illuminate the streets and charming SchillerPark as strolling carolers sing and shopkeepers and restaurateurs offer hot mulled cider and snacks. Santa Claus and his reindeer cause a stir, as does Pelsnickel, the German gift giver known for rewarding those on the “nice” list while punishing those under “naughty.”

Visit the shops on foot or via tram, poking into the 32-room Book Loft, plus antiques and art galleries and fine crafts shops along the cobbled way: Mars Creations for funky, affordable jewelry; Caterina for fine European linens; DogWorks for Fido’s stocking stuffers; and others. Stop by the locals’ watering hole, Beck Tavern, which is tucked in the village center, or Club 185 with its exposed brick walls, tin ceiling and easygoing atmosphere.

If 10,000 lights aren’t quite enough, head to Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, where more than two million of them twinkle throughout the zoo’s exhibits, lighting up the model railroad, the Enchanted Ice Rink, Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen and a fully restored 1914 carousel. The event, a Columbus tradition for more than 17 years, includes horse-drawn wagon rides, children’s and family activities, diving demonstrations, a hands-on touch pool and visits with Santa Claus.

Art abounds

Joie de vivre is abundant at the Columbus Museum of Art, where “In Monet’s Garden: The Lure of Giverny” invites visitors into the artist’s gardens in this picturesque French village. With a core of 12 Monet paintings, the exhibition also features works by American Impressionists who visited and worked at Giverny. Adding depth to the exhibition while demonstrating the enduring seductiveness of these gardens will be 20 additional works by contemporary artists.

At Wexner Center for the Arts, the critically acclaimed exhibition “William Wegman: Funney/Strange,” runs through the end of the year. This 40-year retrospective of more than 200 works showcases Wegman’s wryly funny style through his photography, painting, drawing, collage work and videography from the 1960s to the present. Wegman fans will make a beeline for his famous photographs of Weimaraner dogs in fanciful or surreal poses, including Dusted, in which man’s best friend is being showered with flour, and Armored, featuring a dog completely covered in shiny silver doilies.

Pop into the Wexner’s museum shop for Wegman-inspired gifts for the holidays, including the DVD Fay’s Twelve Days of Christmas. This timely item features the artist’s dog, Fay Ray, and her brood celebrating the merriment of the season in numbers and shapes.

The architectural wonders of the world are re-created in moss, twigs, leaves and seeds and are presented in small scale at Franklin Park Conservatory. Famed garden railroad designer Paul Busse has crafted a whimsical three-dimensional world called “Enchanted Express” to illustrate the historical and literary connections between plants and people.

The indoor garden railway adventure chugs through the Conservatory’s Himalayan Mountain, Rain Forest and Desert biomes and travels past vignettes of the Great Wall of China, the Lost City of the Incas and the Egyptian pyramids, among other storied structures. Also on tour are the residences of famous fairy tale denizens Rapunzel, the Three Little Pigs and the Old Woman in the Shoe.

Get busy and shop

Columbus has a dynamic shopping scene that bustles throughout the city’s many distinctive neighborhoods, offering specialty shopping not found anywhere else — such as the live caterpillar, with instructions on how to watch it turn into a butterfly, at the Franklin Park Conservatory gift shop.

In the Short North Arts District, miles of independently owned boutiques and galleries stretch as far as the eye can see. Within this jumble of shops can be found everything from thrift-shop treasures, original works of art and artisan chocolates to designer furniture and contemporary shoes.

German Village History is So Interesting

German Village History

Isolated by language and social traditions, the Columbus Germans of the 19th-century were a self-contained group. As their numbers increased, German names became identified with publishing, industry, education and religion activities in the city. The German Lutherans were particularly active in the field of education, founding Capital University. However the real heart of the South End were the families of the workingman ~ the brewery workers, carpenters, brick and stonemasons. This group built the compact brick houses with small gardens and grape arbors.

The community thrived through the end of the 19th- and into the 20th-century, until the threat of war with Germany. During the years of WWI life was traumatic for German Americans in South Columbus, as they were quickly caught in a bitter crossfire of propaganda and patriotism. Overnight, everything German was denounced. Study of German in Columbus public schools was first restricted and later banned. Books in German were tossed onto lighted woodpiles and burned at the foot of the statue of the German Poet Schiller, which the German American community had given to the City of Columbus.

City Council responded to the wave of anti-German sentiment, changing the name of Schiller Park to Washington Park and renaming many streets in the area. Businesses eliminated all German suggestions in their names; organizations dropped their German language rituals; and the only remaining German newspaper, Der Westbote, ceased publication. During the WWII years of the 40s, all activities and resources were directed toward winning the war and little was done to maintain properties. Neither men nor materials were available for repairs. Thus the South End began to fall into shabbiness and disrepair. After WWII, new housing developments sprang up in the North and East sections of town and there was an exodus from the South End. It was an exceptionally difficult decline for the residents who had stayed in their homes and continued to care for them.

The restoration of our neighborhood began with the renovation of a Dutch Double by Frank Fetch. After completion, a Sunday afternoon open house was held, so the public could witness its wonderful recovery. Mr. Fetch put out a writing tablet for those with an interest in forming a group to promote restoration to sign. This was the beginning of the German Village Society.

Beginning in 1960, with the formation of the German Village Society, Frank Fetch led the way through the labyrinth of government and established the area as a protected historic preservation district. In 1963 the Columbus City Council gave the German Village Commission design review authority over exterior changes to structures within the district. In 1975, German Village was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Purchases and restorations of buildings in German Village increased yearly, and by the 1980′s German Village gained national recognition as a leading historic preservation district. Property values were increasing, and German Village was becoming one of the most desirable places to live in Central Ohio.

The Last Sunday In June 1960 The first Haus und Garten Tour attracted media attention and lured hundreds of visitors to the neighborhood to see eight restored homes and two gardens. It was a modest beginning for what has become one of Columbus’ most popular ongoing annual events.

German Village Tours

German Village Tours

These guided group tours sponsored by the German Village Society provide the most comprehensive overview of the history and restoration of German Village. Volunteer tour guides trained to explain the history, humor, and humanity of the community will lead your group through the brick streets of the area. All tours begin at the German Village Meeting Haus. Call 614 221 8888 or email german@germanvillage.com for more information.

Schiller Park in German Village

Schiller Park in German Village Columbus, Ohio

This 23-acre park has been the heart of German Village for more than 140 years. As long ago as the mid-1800s horse-drawn carriages loaded with families on picnic outings rode south of the city border to what was then called Stewart’s Grove. In 1867 the city of Columbus purchased the 23 acres of woodland and renamed it City Park. In the 1870s a zoological garden featuring an eagle, swans, buffalo, bears, foxes and wolves was set in the Southwest corner of the park.

Later a fountain was built and a lake excavated. In 1891, a stunning bronze statue of the famous German poet Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1788–1805)was donated to the citizens of Columbus by German-born residents as a tribute to their heritage. The park got its present name in 1905, the 100th anniversary of Schiller’s death. WWI hostilities caused the renaming of the park to Washington Park. In 1930 it regained the name Schiller Park. As German Village grew the park became the location for Oktoberfest, family reunions, Saengerfest, The Ohio State Fair and various holiday celebrations.

Today the park continues to serve as the centerpiece of community life with public garden tours, festivals, tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds, the work of  The Actors’ Theatre, dog walkers, birding and a recently renovated recreation center. Only .2 mi from the Guest House and only a stone’s throw from the Whittier Suites.

German Village Society Preserves Neighborhood’s Charm

The German Village Society

The challenge of preserving the architectural heritage of German Village is the principal concern of the German Village Society, the non-profit educational organization founded by Frank Fetch in 1960. This organization has been instrumental in retaining the character and distinction of the past, while creating a thriving and vital community. The Society has a Meeting Haus that serves as town hall and event venue; a visitors’ center; a web site; a Calendar of Events; and a range of programs that distinguishes them as the most active of civic association in the state of Ohio. An abandoned, trash-strewn lot has been turned into a flower-filled neighborhood pocket-park and renamed in honor of Frank Fetch. It is planted and maintained entirely with neighborhood funds and volunteer efforts.

The German Village Commission was created by the City of Columbus in July 1960 as a means of protecting and controlling the area’s architecture. The commission is appointed by the mayor with recommendations from City Council and the German Village Society. The commission, relying on the German Village Guidelines, is the legal entity that evaluates all proposed construction, reconstruction or alteration of the exterior of a Village structure and determines whether the changes are appropriate to the historic integrity of German Village.

The result is the German Village of today — one of the largest privately funded restored and preserved historic areas in the United States. The real estate of the area is now among the most valuable in the city of Columbus. There are about 3500 residences, of which nearly half have been restored. Restoration is continuing and property values in the area continue to rise in the shadows of downtown Columbus’ growing skyline. Here in such close proximity is a perfect example of how the old can be preserved while progress continues on the new.

Each year brings more and more visitors — some come to appreciate the architecture, some to enjoy the smart shops and unique restaurants, and others just to stroll the quiet streets and view the lovely gardens. Whatever the reason for your visit, we’re sure you will enjoy German Village.

Membership in the German Village Society is open to anyone, especially those with an interest in historic preservation. To learn more: http://germanvillage.com/gvs-society/join-renew-gv-society/