To the best of our knowledge the New York Times has never done a “36 Hours” column for Columbus, Ohio. We have submitted this post for its consideration.
1. Wedded Bliss
Once you’ve checked in to the Red Roof Inn Columbus West (5001 Renner Rd, 614.878.9245) and discovered that the “free wifi” is for T-Mobile customers only, head over to Memorial Baptist for a wedding. Afterwards proceed downstairs to the fellowship hall for dinner. You’ll want to sample the eggroll hors d’oeuvres while they’re still hot. For the reception dinner buffet, we recommend the splendid roast chicken and delectable garlic-roasted rosemary potatoes. Save room for the chocolate cake!
2. Time For a Nightcap
Post-reception, head on over to Applebee’s (5561 Westchester Woods Blvd, 614.527.9670) for a drink or two. Stop in between eight and eleven o’clock and enjoy half-price appetizers (but not, alas, drinks — you’ll have to pay full price for that Perfect Margarita and Stella on tap). Take some sociable friends with you so you can share stories about pet snakes and roommates with severe OCD. You’ll be enjoying yourself so much that it may take several hairy eyeballs from the waitstaff to let you know that the restaurant actually closed 25 minutes ago at midnight!
3. Time To Wind Down
You may not have that free wifi but you can still enjoy the best that early morning cable has to offer. If you’re too tired to stick out one of the movies on demand, there’s a good chance of catching “Lemur Kingdom” on Animal Planet (channel 33) or old school “American Gladiators” on Spike (channel 42). Man, that Ice is a babe!
4. Sunny Side Up
Walk to the Perkins (1451 Hilliard Rome Rd, 614.870.7744) just across the parking lot from your Red Roof. (And that exercise may help get the crick out of your neck from a rough night’s sleep.) You can’t go wrong with the Heartland Omelette or Authentic French Toast. Vegetarians should steer clear of the Scramblers which come in either “Meatlovers” or “Steakhouse.” Don’t forget that all ages can order from the Senior Menu — we recommend the Traveler. If they don’t give you the right Mammoth Muffin, don’t be afraid to point this out. They’ll cheerfully bring you the one you ordered (and let you keep the other one!).
5. Cobblestone Country
Time to head over to German Village and visit the Book Loft (631 S 3rd St, 614.464.1774). You’ll have to try hard not to get lost in the 32 room labyrinth. Puzzle-lovers can purchase the “World’s Largest Puzzle” at 18,000 pieces and dimensions of six by nine feet. The price tag is hefty ($150) but you can get half off before March 31. When you’re finished browsing stop by Cup O Joe next door (627 S 3rd St, 614.221.1563) and get the chai or, if you’re feeling decadent, a Buckeye espresso drink. There’s ample seating to pull out your laptop, grade some papers, crack that book you just bought, or stare off into the distance looking smart and, if you’re wearing a scarf, white. If you’re hungry for lunch, check out the MoJoe Lounge and get the hummus plate to confirm your whiteness.
6. Cinematic Diversions
The Movies 10 in Hilliard (5275 Westpointe Plaza Dr, 614.529.8547) may not have a great selection of films but it does have the virtue of $3.50 matinee prices. We strongly recommend you do not see The International unless you enjoy atrocious dialogue ( “Well you’re a real stand up guy, Artie!”; “Don’t you effin’ die on me!”) and/or want to take a nap. One precaution: As with any cineplex you won’t be able to choose your fellow audience members and subsequently may be stuck sitting behind some yahoo parents who apparently could not find a babysitter and felt compelled to bring their three 8- to 13-year-old daughters to an ‘R’-rated movie. Be prepared for these young ladies to wander aimlessly up and down the aisles and for the father to angrily shush them every time they crinkle a plastic bottle. Since you won’t care about the movie, though, this diversion may be a welcome one.
7. Good Old Pub Fare
Visit a Columbus must-see, The Old Bag of Nails Pub (2102 Tremont Ctr, 614.486.6976), for dinner with the Porterfields. Get comfortable for the two person, off-Broadway show “The Porterfields Order From A Menu,” which lasts about five minutes and features numerous feints, interruptions, negotiations, arguments, corrections and apologies. The British Style Fish & Chips are all-you-can-eat while the Rustic Burger will prove a formidable foe for your appetite. While waiting for your food we recommend engaging in especially repulsive contests of “Would You Rather?”
8. A Manly Man Seminar
We guarantee you’ll be impressed by the inventory of Mr. Porterfield’s Man Cave, a fly-tying operation of mammoth proportions. The faint-of-heart should steer clear of handling the crossbow compound bow* hanging on the wall as well as the lure made from real rabbit face. Certain Porterfields may jokingly stand outside the bathroom while you’re doing your business which could lead to a very awkward situation. The ventilation is also somewhat poor; take matches with you. Mr. Porterfield makes a mean fire to settle into as you watch Marshall McPeek deliver the 5-day forecast. The guest room bed is nothing but a dream, especially after the night you’ve just had at Red Roof.
9. Goodbye, Columbus
Grab a cup of home-brewed Porterfield coffee before you hit the road because we guarantee you’ll be disappointed by a cup at Tim Horton’s. If you happen to be leaving Columbus via I-71 South, watch out for the numerous speed traps lying in wait. Punishments from Ohio’s capitol at being scorned by your departure? No, just Columbus’s way of saying, “I’m sad to see you go, and please return soon.”**
* = David corrected us on this, citing “Man Rule #14: Crossbows are for sissies and are not manly.”
** = It occurred to us upon rereading that this post may have unintentionally veered into snarkier territory than we intended. Columbus, like all things Ohio, inspires in us mixed feelings, oscillating from pride to gentle self-deprecation, the way anything familiar does. Let it be known that there are numerous virtues to be found in Columbus, not least of which are the Porterfields and Miesens, and that we hope to return there soon.