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6 local Home & Garden tours to inspire your next renovation

J.R. McMillan

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Columbus is rich in established neighborhoods waiting to be rediscovered. From enterprising hipsters handy with a hammer to young families ready to put down some roots, or empty-nesters looking to start their next chapter in life, Central Ohio offers ample opportunities for anyone willing to roll up their sleeves and turn an ordinary home on an overgrown lot into something extraordinary.

This roundup of annual home and garden tours features three novel enclaves. All started their tours for different reasons, but converged with a celebration of history, architecture, and community that brings folks together and welcomes curious neighbors — past, present, and future.

Bexley House & Garden Tour
June 2nd, 2019 from 10am to 4pm
www.bexleywomen.org

What we now know as Bexley originally grew out of two crucial construction projects that inspired the village that would become a city within a city. In the late 1800s, Capital University’s move east from downtown followed by the water and sewer systems installed to support soldiers serving in the Spanish-American War training at Camp Bushnell spurred expansion and eventual incorporation.

Among the most diverse residential tours in Central Ohio, the span of styles is indicative of period architecture over more than century, with renovations and remodeling continuing to renew the neighborhood.

As the historic center of the local Jewish religious and cultural community, the distinct identity infuses the entire area beyond the official city limits. Bexley’s robust retail corridor is also the envy of many aging neighborhoods and cuts right through the middle instead of operating at the periphery. Restaurants, boutiques, and galleries lure folks from surrounding cities, and the faithfully restored Drexel Theatre remains an art deco destination with a national reputation.

From spacious mansions to more modern and modest homes, the inner city satellite has the cohesive qualities of a small town, yet all of the advantages of an emerging Midwest metropolis just a short drive away.

Westgate Home & Garden Tour
June 8th, 2pm – 6pm
westgateneighbors.org

Established as one of the city’s so-called “streetcar suburbs,” Westgate’s history actually runs much deeper. Built on the grounds of a Union army outpost and prison for captured Confederate soldiers, only Camp Chase Cemetery remains as a solemn reminder. An ambitious colony of Quakers also called the outskirts of the Hilltop home before the land again changed hands and was ultimately divided into several hundred plots for brisk development stretching from Broad to Sullivant from the 1920s through the 1950s.

With an initial mix of craftsman and custom homes before transitioning to early mid-century, Westgate also boasts one of the largest local collections of Sears catalog homes, including one featured on this year’s tour.

It’s not uncommon to find multiple generations of residents whose children and grandchildren return to buy homes here. Why wouldn’t they? Several schools and churches are within walking distance, a seasonal farmers market, and Summer Jam West reveal a neighborhood more connected and creative than most, with artists of all sorts adding to the quaint and quirky quality of living.

But the heart of the community is Westgate Park, with nearly 50 acres of paths, playgrounds, and picnic areas anchored by a newly renovated recreation center, all just minutes from downtown.

Old Oaks Home & Garden Tour
June 9, 2019 at 1pm – 5pm
oldoakhomegardentour.com

This turn of the century neighborhood also owes its origin to the city’s electrified streetcar circuit, making the move from downtown a practical possibility. Just a mile southeast of Broad and High, Old Oaks offered more affluent accommodations for European immigrants seeking more square footage than German Village and points south afforded, but was still close enough to their tight-knit community of schools and shops, friends and family.

Comprised mostly of mission, neoclassical, and revival “four-square” homes, with variations of Queen Anne style as well, construction covered three decades and stretched all the way to Kimball Place and Livingston Avenue.

Like most historic neighborhoods, it’s the persistence of homeowners that leads preservation efforts, always with an eye on the future. As downtown living becomes desirable again, Oak Oaks often attracts couples that prefer to own a home with ornate architectural details rarely found intact, if at all, for less than the average apartment or commodity condominium.

And those inviting front porches don’t just increase curb appeal or literal street cred. They’re the impetus for impromptu gatherings that echo an earlier era of spontaneous hospitality making a comeback.

German Village Haus und Garten Tour
Sunday, June 30th, 2019 from 9am to 4:30pm
www.germanvillage.com

Among the oldest and most iconic neighborhoods in Columbus, “German Village” is relatively new. So named in 1960 for more than a century of immigrants that first settled what had been known previously as the South End, the cobblestone streets and red brick homes haven’t always been so exclusive or esteemed. Though a third of the city was once German, sentiment toward the people and their descendants turned during WWI and WWII. The once proud and thriving community fell into decades of structural and cultural neglect.

But in 1959, the restoration of a single cottage inspired the creation of the German Village Society the following year. That preservation of the past and vision for the future now celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Beyond the annual tour Sunday tour, events include a Saturday “PreTour” of homes with access to areas off-limits for the public, a cocktail reception, one of 20 private dinner parties hosted by residents, as well as two neighborhood restaurants, and an after party. Sunday brunch in Schiller Park also returns before the tour.

German Village has become the prototype for more than just home and garden tours. It’s a model for urban renewal and historic preservation working together to maintain the character of a once forgotten community for generations to come.

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Worthington Tour of Homes & Gardens
Sunday, July 14th, 2019 from 12:30pm to 5:30pm
www.worthingtonhistory.org

If a drive through the intersection of High Street and 161 feels more like New England than the Midwest, that’s no coincidence. Worthington was originally settled by families from Connecticut and Massachusetts in 1803, the same year Ohio became a state. However, it remained a tiny, self-sufficient, pioneer town for almost a century before streetcar service from downtown truly connected it to Columbus. Annexations after WWII through the completion of the outerbelt in 1975 made it a true satellite city.

Photos by Kate LaLonde

But it was their sesquicentennial celebration that spurred renewed interest in preservation, prompting eight members of the local women’s club to establish the Worthington Historical Society two years later in 1955.

Unlike most neighborhood home and garden tours, Worthington has remained focused on the 19th century, but not without more recent modifications that reveal the resiliency of earlier homes. This year’s tour features seven homes, and four former residences that have been thoughtfully converted into commercial spaces, as well as the Masonic Lodge and the Orange Johnson House, which serves as the society’s museum.

Worthington has become a modern city experiencing a bit of a retail boom, including two bona fide business incubators, yet with the walking atmosphere and sincere charm of a small town at the center of its nearly two centuries of history.

Olde Towne East Tour of Historic Homes
Sunday, July 14th, 2019 from 1pm to 6pm
www.oldetowneeast.org

From powerful politicians to titans of industry, the mansions of Olde Towne East are at odds with most inner city neighborhoods. Just close enough to downtown and stretching all the way to Franklin Park Conservatory, the stately homes offer echoes of the entire span of Columbus history and those who made it. More recent efforts to reverse decades of flight have helped preserve a diversity of architecture impossible to reproduce today, with more than 50 distinct styles dating back to the 1830s.

Courtesy of OTENA Summer Tour of Historic Homes, © 2019 www.michaelafoley.com

In fact, it was the unique challenges of conservation that gave rise to the Olde Towne East Neighborhood Association in 1975 and their first tour in 1982, as both a celebration of transformation and exchange of practical skills for period restoration.

By square footage alone, some homes seem more like castles, with three or more floors, grand staircases, intricate glass and wood craftsmanship, expansive porches, and exacting details — all the more impressive given how many were once subdivided into multiple residences and suffered years of neglect before their resurrection.

But thriving neighborhoods are more than just homes. Olde Towne East’s proximity to downtown continues to attract aspiring artists and creative couples committed to preserving its culture and community, all within a short walk from the heart of the city.

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Arts & Culture

Virtual Experiences bring culture to our couch

614Now

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Now that we're all stuck at home for the foreseeable future, we could use some entertainment beyond hours of Netflix bingeing. And yes, Carole probably did it*

WOSU Public Media has come to the rescue by putting together a list of local, virtual experiences to enjoy from the safety and comfort of your bunker. Here's a list of just a few upcoming events ranging from music to the arts.

Sunday, March 29
Columbus Symphony’s Russian Winter Festival – The Columbus Symphony broadcasts its Russian Winter Festival ll concert, featuring masterpieces by Prokofiev, Borodin, Rimski-Korsakov, and Tchaikovsky at 1 p.m. on Classical 101.

Columbus Goes Live – The Cyber Festival –  A virtual entertainment experience streaming across different pages to support local performers who are directly impacted by the critical shutdowns of venues during the COVID-19 outbreak. Join in and make history by supporting your favorite bands, comedians and performers in the Columbus area.

Why not a virtual bar?

Brewdog is even getting in on the act with its upcoming, Brewdog Online Bar. They plan to "open" for business at 6pm on Friday, March 27th. The bar plans to feature live beer tastings with our co-founders James and Martin and other beer experts, homebrew masterclasses, live music & comedy and more.

Brewdog will be sharing further details soon and a complete schedule of the events on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.

*Carole, as in this Carole.

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Things To Do

8 things to do this week that don’t involve human contact

614now Staff

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It is a strange time to be alive, Columbus. With the concerns and cases of coronavirus on the rise, you may be feeling worried, fearful, and/or unsure of what to do.

In addition to washing your hands to protect you from the virus, you may want to consider being more of an inside person this week. To curb cabin fever, consider these eight activities to keep you occupied indoors.

Plan a getaway

Once the threat of coronavirus is over, which Gov. Mike DeWine assured would happen in yesterday's address, you'll be ready to get the hell out of Columbus. Consider planning a trip to one of the Scarlet Oaks cabins, Gervasi Vineyard in Canton, Yellowsprings, or the birthplace of bourbon!

Schedule a whacky road trip

Already have a vacation on the books and worked into your budget? No problem! Opt for a cheaper, shorter adventure with one of the destinations highlighted in our Worth The Drive series: Buckeye Express Diner in Bellville, Kewpee Hamburgers in Lima, Cincinnati's Hathaway's Diner, Dietsch Brothers chocolate in Findlay, and Waldo’s G&R Tavern.

Test your Columbus knowledge

You're sick of all your board games and you hate the idea of spending another weekend in front of the tube. Liven up your entertainment with Columbus trivia! What is the hottest month on average? What is Hilliard's median household income? What year did the Kahiki close? See how well you know your fine city.

Binge local podcasts

Not only do podcasts entertain, inform, and engage you, they're also great to binge while multitasking. Podcast + mopping the kitchen? No problem. Podcast + walking the dog? Easy. Podcast + julienning veggies? Careful… but definitely possible. Be sure to support local podcasters! We're sure you can find something that'll pique your interest in the list below.

Get hooked on knitting

What better time to dive into your hobby than a worldwide viral outbreak? And though cold weather is almost completely behind us, it's never too early to get a jumpstart on those Christmas gifts. Click the button below to learn more about where to find materials and resources.

Explore the pasta-bilities of a home-cooked meal

You’re probably hungry after all that knitting. Flex on the fam by whipping up a delectable home-cooked Italian meal. You'll have to slip out of the house to grab your groceries from famed local market Carfagna’s, but trust us, it'll be worth it.

Get hyped for Ohio State Buckeyes 2020-21 season

With no spring game to rev your engine pre-season, you may be feeling a Buckeyes football void right about now. To help plug it until the opener against Bowling Green on Sept. 5, check out old Ohio State hype videos below. O-H!

Read the latest issue of (614) Magazine

The physical copies of the March issue of (614) Magazine are flying off the racks, but you don't have to go out into the world to read it. To learn more about the Columbus esport revolution, the latest food and drink news, and other updates in the community, click the button below to read the digital issue.

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Things To Do

Listen Local: 10 Columbus podcasts to binge

Regina Fox

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The thing with binging TV is that you have to be using two senses at once to be engaged: sight and hearing. That really cuts down on the possibilities of getting other things done simultaneously. But, podcasts on the other hand require only one sense—hearing—so the productivity possibilities are exponentially greater.

Podcast + mopping the kitchen? No problem. Podcast + walking the dog? Easy. Podcast + julienning veggies? Careful... but definitely possible.

That, plus the power of spoken word has the ability to inform, entertain, and inspire you unlike any other media.

Now that we've presented a great case for podcasts, consider subscribing to one made right here in Columbus.

The Rock Doc Chronicles

Interviews, Current Events, Entertainment

Being the on-call doctor to some of your favorite musical acts comes with a lot of stories. Dr Randy Sharma (@rockdocohio) sits down with some of his famous patients to discuss whatever comes to mind.

Ohio v. The World

Culture, History, Places & Travel

An Ohio History podcast, hosted by Alex Hastie.

Rogue Squadron Podcast

Culture, Entertainment, Hobbies

Star Wars Comedy, craft beer, gaming, and more. It’s the rowdiest podcast in the galaxy!

Momcast

Culture, Entertainment, Self-Help

Columbus, Ohio moms Mindy Drayer, Mikaela Hunt, and Stacy McKay discuss everything relating to being moms and parenting on weekly installments of the Momcast.

Columbus' Entrepreneurs' Podcast

Business, Entrepreneur

Columbus Entrepreneurs’ Podcast is primarily for members of the Columbus, Ohio chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). The stories are inspiring and focus on core principles of EO, including speaking from experience instead of advice giving, building peer learning experiences, and focusing on the top and bottom 5% of our lives.

Chatimals

Entertainment, Hobbies

Chatimals is the nature podcast where information meets imagination. Each episode covers one kind of animal with an eye out for all the goofy, surprising animal facts.

The Sounds of Bustown

Culture, Entertainment, Music

A bi-weekly podcast featuring interviews about the musical creation process with people in the music scene in Columbus, OH.

Thrive and Connect

Culture, Self-Help

How to live your life in a more genuine, simpler manner and develop abundance in all aspects – yourself, family & friends, and business relationships.

Columbus! Something New

Culture, Entertainment, Places & Travel

Why do we do what we do? Why does C!SN exist?

  • To introduce listeners to local entrepreneurs and big thinkers
  • To be a conduit between community and events, museums, and new experiences
  • To be a value to entrepreneurs as we broadcast them to the world
  • To be a value to listeners as we expand their world and bring them new ideas

The Digital Analytics Power Hour

Business, Technology

Each episode is a closed topic and an open forum – the goal is for listeners to enjoy listening to Michael and Tim share their thoughts and experiences and hopefully take away something to try at work the next day.

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