Thoughts From Places: Columbus, Ohio (2014)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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My Trip to the German Village of Columbus, Ohio!

The Book Loft

The Book Loft from across the street.
On Saturday my friend Jessica and I decided to do something crazy and spontaneous. We decided to leave early Sunday morning and drive 325 miles to Columbus, Ohio to the Book Loft. The Book Loft is one of the largest independent bookstores in the US. It has 32 rooms of books. I have wanted to go there since I saw a photo of it on tumblr a few years ago, I wanted to go so bad that I added it to my so called bucket list (which I actually call my “list of things to do before the next great adventure”).

A section of the garden.
After looking at pictures, lusting after the store for years it was amazing to finally stand in front of the archway with the giant Book Loft banner with “Wilkommen” written above it and most of all the sign that promises 32 rooms of books that awaited us inside the block long building. The arch lead to a long garden path that has table of books and a ton of windows with beautiful book displays. We went through the garden and up the stairs to a porch with more books. Right beside the door there is a pile of baskets to carry potential purchases. The first room of the Loft is very small and crowded because that’s also where the cash register is. I have decided that the combination of banners, displays, baskets, and making the first room as uncomfortable as possible was an ingenious ploy to get people to immediately go deeper into the labyrinth of books.

One of the long hallways of books.
We worked our way through 2 floors and 4 wings of books. Jessica was almost eaten in the first few rooms of cookbooks. I loved the rooms with the classic books and the fantasy room. There’s a loft whose stairs are lined with literary shirts and tote bags. There were a ton of bookmarks on spindles, hanging on walls, on the end of book cases, everywhere. They had a whole room of travel books, a small hallway devoted just to Great Britain. The only small complaint I have of the Book Loft is that, while this is a room devoted to every subject imaginable, there is no room for just sitting and taking in the atmosphere. No place out of the way for browsers to go through their extremely heavy basket of potential purchases to sit down and decide if they really want to spend hundreds of dollars. And one’s bill could very easily rack up into the hundreds because the Book Loft’s idea of “bargain” books is 5% off, with an added 10% if a coupon is used. To solve this problem Jess and I took a couple stools and dragged them into room #17, the sports room, because at the time there was no one there. The small aisles created an almost claustrophobic atmosphere that could really fuel creative ideas if there was a place to sit and reflect.

Me outside of the Loft. The garden looks beautiful
all lit up at night!
The Book Loft has huge rooms, small rooms, even closets that were converted into amazing almost secret cubbies and every single one of those 32 rooms were packed with books. Thank goodness upon entering we were also given a map, which meant we were only sort of lost a couple times. We spent 4 hours there, but I could have spent longer. We went through the lower east wing rather fast because we were hungry, kind of tired, and it was getting late. It was dark when we left and the Book Loft was even stunningly beautiful at night due to the lights on the trees of the garden and on the archway. The Book Loft was basically my own version of Heaven. 
My purchases. I bought books that
I cannot find at home!

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus

The outside of the Sausage Haus.
After the Book Loft I wasn’t sure that our spontaneous adventure could get any better but then Jessica and I went to Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, an amazing restaurant that served only German food. Jessica who had been to this German Village before knew that the best way to end our amazing day would be dinner and a huge cream puff the size of our head. It had a fun, carefree atmosphere. The waitresses and waiters wore “traditional” German outfits. The food was amazing; I had the Hoffbräu Schnitzel as well as a giant chocolate cream puff that took days to eat. Just reading the menu was an experience. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of sausages! I would definitely recommend going to Columbus and spending times at both of these amazing places! 

Check back Friday to read about our pit stop on the way home from Columbus!