So following a series of trying and poorly timed events, we caught a break this week. Literally.
After Aaron returned from his dad’s funeral, he was due to leave again for a conference which might have been one more “ugh” moment but turned out really nicely for us. Happily, the conference was just for a couple of days, (one night), was within 2.5 hrs drive of home, and was a mere stone’s throw away from our favourite little B&B/ guesthouse of all time.
We hadn’t managed to do anything special for Aaron’s birthday, Mother’s Day or our anniversary and since Aaron was getting a room anyway, we decided that it made total sense for me to tag along and try to make a little overnighter of it. To make the timing even more serendipitous, our beloved Muss Cindi was available (and strangely willing) to watch the kids overnight, and since Aaron and I were both exhausted in every way, it just seemed like an awesome idea.
Even though we could have stayed in a very nice hotel, we could not wait to go back to the German Village Guesthouse where we spent an anniversary a couple of years ago.
I must admit that the idea of a traditional B&B always leaves me cold. Call me anti-social (no really, you should, because sadly, I am profoundly anti-social,) but the last thing I want to do when I have a brief few hours with my husband, is make small talk with strangers, let alone eat with them. Heavens. No. No! I know that might sound fabulous to the more gregariously inclined amongst us, but not to me. It sounds like work and I will not have it. I shan’t.
Ok so now that I have firmly established myself as a lazy, bratty, recluse let us continue…
Delightfully, none of this forced socialization happens at the German Village Guesthouse. It is situated in the middle of the ridiculously picturesque, meticulously preserved original German village, in Columbus, Ohio, whose serene gardens and cobblestone streets completely belie the reality that surrounding this European utopia is a big, bustling American city with lots going on. Seriously, it’s the best of every world. A quiet, quaint village with big city amenities less than a mile away. It’s surreal really and we find it completely enchanting to the extent that we spend most of our time when we are there, plotting our relocation.
Arriving at the guesthouse is perhaps, the best part. You suddenly leave the city streets and find yourself in this sweet little village, you park on a lovely tree lined street, walk up the path to the pretty front door and punch in your secret code. There’s no waiting around to register or awkward moments with the bellman in the elevator. The door swings open and you discover…Nirvana. You are greeted by the sounds of soft jazz playing from the stereo, the sights of a stunning flower arrangement in a gorgeously decorated living area, the scent of fresh tea and chocolate chip cookies and best of all…NOBODY THERE TO TALK TO YOU.
Indeed you feel as though you own that place. You’re home. But better. It’s like your fairy godmother got things magically set up just the way you always wanted them to be…and then got the heck out of there before you arrived and let you enjoy it in peace. The décor is impeccable. Tasteful and sophisticated. yet completely cozy. Everything is gleamingly clean, uncluttered and serene..
Everywhere you look downstairs in the living room and kitchen there are the delightful little touches to make things feel especially special. Racks of magazines, a basket of eclectic DVD’s, a shelf of books, a well stocked hamper of snacks with everything from biscotti to popcorn, a variety of teas..coffee..juice and yogurt in the fridge, organic milk (and soymilk) ..and my personal favourite…all the fixings to make s’mores in the outside fireplace, complete with roasting forks. Even the fireplace is all set up and ready to go, with pretty little fire-starters and everything… (Sadly, once again, we did not get around to roasting marshmallows…shoot, I guess we’ll just have to go back.)
Finally we decided to tear ourselves away from the gleeful inventory of the goodies, and giddiness over the fact that there were no soccer socks on the counters, no soggy bowls of cereal on the dining room table, and no piles of old homework on the mantel, and remembered that we had yet to check out our room.
Well. It was fabulous. And enormous. Bright and airy. One wall of windows overlooked the spectacular garden. There was a large dressing area. Fluffy robes hung behind the bathroom door, bottles of water and a bowl of chocolates sealed the deal for me.
There was also a flat-screen TV with cable access and WIFI. (Bed and breakfasts sometimes pride themselves on going all low tech with no TV, no WIFI, no cable, but I figure, if you don’t want those things, you just won’t turn them on..right? Always better to have the option, I say.)
Alas, when I went back to look at all my photos of the room at large (and it is very large), none of them did it justice, perhaps it was my eagerness to collapse on the bed. I always believe no photo is better than a bad photo, so go check it out on their site. (We were in the room 3 in the Guest house.)
The bed was huge and comfy, the fan and AC are remote controlled. This made me inordinately happy (I really don’t get out much…obviously) and we enjoyed this little novelty perhaps more than we should have. Everything was just so…comfortable, quiet, cozy and luxurious. We were completely torn between going back out into the gorgeous little village and just hunkering down in our pretty room, coveting the throw pillows, and gazing at the garden for as long as possible.
Our stomachs eventually drove us out of our room as neither Aaron nor I had eaten all day. We stopped by Schmidts for a late afternoon snack of pretzels which were heavenly and then did some walking around the village.
One of the things I most love about this place, is that absolutely everything is within a mile or less walking distance. And the streets and sidewalks are so ridiculously pretty that you really want to be walking everywhere. We window shopped for a bit and generally admired adorable houses and compact yet lush manicured gardens and wondered if 2.5 hours each way would be too far for Aaron to commute,then returned to the guesthouse to get ready for dinner.
We had dinner at the amazing Barcelona restaurant and since we had indulged in that late afternoon “snack” we decided to each get a salad and split the Tapas tasting menu. It.was.so.good. Truly, every bite was an adventure and a delight. I’m hugely into ambience (maybe even more than I am into food) when I go to a restaurant, and the patio here was voted the best in Columbus. The weather was perfection and so the whole atmosphere part was pretty flawless . Even the slightly snooty waiter was a source of entertainment. He clearly did not appreciate the fact that Aaron (the philistine) asked for..(gasp)…a root beer. (This restaurant boasts one of the world’s finest wine lists and that man really should have known better. But to be fair, he’d just left Idaho…so, you know). Sigh. Mormons. So much is wasted on them. They really should just be banned from nice restaurants altogether.)
Despite Aaron’s grievous faux pas, it was an altogether perfect evening.
When we returned to our guesthouse we enjoyed the living room (there are two other guest rooms in the main guesthouse and then two other detached suites) but we were alone that night and so we could pretend it was ours….ALL OURS! Finally, we remembered that we weren’t in fact 11 years old, and retired to our room to watch a movie. We even made popcorn and tremendously enjoyed the fact that we could watch the slightly lame movie the whole way through without stopping and did not have to referee any popcorn sharing altercations. So civilized! It’s really not hard to thrill the parents of five kids).
The next morning I woke up to the sound of silence. It wasn’t horrible. I won’t lie.
Sadly, Aaron was up much earlier for his conference (poor, dear Aaron-no rest for the weary) but he managed to grab some breakfast before he left. (The fairy godmother snuck in while we were sleeping and a left us a wonderful spread including some amazing banana bread). It all demanded to be taken outside into the gorgeous garden and devoured. And who am I to deny the demands of banana bread? Outside I went..devour I did.
Ah yes, I enjoyed my breakfast like a lady of leisure, with the sound of nothing but chirping birds. It was paradise. And I didn’t share any of it.
That pretty little fellow kept me company for quite a while…
I drank my tea while it was still hot…imagine. It was a profoundly special moment for me. Nobody will ever be able to take that away from me.
I pondered that my garden will probably look just about as good as this by the end of summer..
Or possibly not…
Definitely by next Summer. Certainly. Doubtlessly.
I spent the rest of the afternoon catching up with my dear friend Jen. She’s American but we met when we both went to our awesome school in Swaziland. She lives in Ohio, just like I do… but we never manage to get together, which we are both completely grossed out at ourselves about. Anyway, it was delightful. We can go without speaking for years and pick up as though we are walking across the playing fields to the dining hall all over again or happily irritating the people on our corridor with our stirring bedtime renditions of “So long…farewell” from the Sound of Music. (Remember that, Jen?)
After lunch we joined Aaron back at Schmidts for a light and low fat dessert of cream puffs and pie.
(We made Jen pose with everyone’s dessert, she wasn’t trying to win some sort of contest here…I think the deeply disapproving expression on the man’s face behind her, and the picture behind him..the earnest beer drinker.. looking so much like him..
… well it is all perfection. Like I say, it really doesn’t take much to thrill me.)
(Incidentally, considering how rarely I have this type of opportunity, I felt perfectly justified in just going for it food-wise for one day…but boy when you do it right, one day is enough. My body was expressing its decided displeasure at my dedication to the cause of gluttony by last night. I am still not quite recovered. I actually could not wait to get back on my healthy eating plan this morning, but it was certainly fun while it lasted).
On the way out of town, we stopped by an adorable arts/gift shop and picked up a little something. And then on my friend Jen’s insistence ( fine Jen, twist our arms) we indulged yet some more in Jeni’s ice cream at the North market. It was. In.SANE.ly good. Seriously if you have the opportunity you must try it. Ridiculous. Ridiculous I say.
For once we timed our exodus right and managed to get out of town before the traffic got really hairy. We made it home at a sociable hour to greet our happy little brood who had enjoyed their sojourn with our dear Muss tremendously.
It was such a brief little getaway but I’m so glad we did it. One needs to grab every chance one gets for some solitude and a little escapism. It’s surprising given how much we are together, how little time we get to really connect as a couple during these busy seasons (particularly with our dear little one, the olympian non-sleeper ) . It was so lovely to just be able to have serious discussions uninterrupted, or to just sit in companionable silence, to read together, to walk and eat together and sleep an ENTIRE NIGHT THROUGH uninterrupted…without playing musical beds! So perfectly timed, so needed, so appreciated. Thank you to everyone who made it possible (and enjoyable in every way). Mostly, thanks to Aaron for staying married to me for 18 whole years. We’ve been together almost as long as we’ve been apart. I have far preferred the together part.
And now, so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen…goodnight. I am off to dream of cream puffs and clutter free surfaces..
I was compensated for my unsolicited review of the GVGH. All opinions and words are entirely my own.