Road Trip to Columbus

The first day of our road trip to Columbus, Ohio for the Buckeye Elite Showcase Tournament was pretty soggy.  Most of the baseball games were canceled as there was an incredible amount of rainfall.  Fields and highways were standing in high water.  I-70 was shut down for an extended period in two different places.  It looked like some of the boys on teams that played should have been wearing swim suits instead of ball uniforms.

We stayed in the Embassy Suites on Corporate Exchange Drive at Cleveland Avenue exit of I-270.  It has lovely, clean, accommodations with efficient service.  Since our games were canceled for the first day we used the Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang button in our cars and ventured out to Roosters for some stress reduction and lunch.

stress reduction

Our team did not play until late in the day on Friday.  This was my son’s team’s last baseball tournament of the year and our second out-of-towner of the season. Our first out-of-town tournament was in Indianapolis and my daughter and I went to the conservatory there, so this time in lieu of ball games, we decided to check out the conservatory in Columbus, Ohio on this road trip for Plan B (as Suzy Toronto would say).

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Flamingo topiaries

We were lucky to see “Topiaries at the Conservatory, Wild Wonders” as well as “Blooms and Butterflies” plus all the other exhibits for our admission price of only $14 each adult. The topiaries were so fun and playful – I especially liked the expression on the lion and panda.

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Lion Topiary

The Pacific Island Water Garden was loaded with over 2,000 beautiful, colorful, butterflies. In the Rainforest we tried to get the macaws, Mic and Max, to talk us but they weren’t feeling chatty.  Outside the John E. Wolfe Palm House guests were arriving for a ceremony and they were setting up tables inside.

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Elephant topiaries

I don’t want to spoil the exhibit by showing all 13 of the topiaries.  If you want to see them all you won’t find them here until I update in November when the show is over. The butterfly exhibit runs through September 17, 2017 and the topiaries will be displayed until October 29, 2017.  We took about an hour and a half to buzz through the conservatory, but I could easily have spent another hour or so.

Leave it to us to find time for a gift shop! On the way out we stopped in the Botanica Gift Shop & Greenhouse and bought some little pots and a hoe for our fairy garden and a 2″ succulent and a little ceramic pot for it. So far we haven’t killed the succulents we planted in our terrarium earlier this year so we thought we could handle another one.

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We attempted to go to The Thurman Cafe in The German Village on Friday night, but it was packed and we were already running on empty so we decided not to wait.  If you are on a road trip to Columbus I recommend this cafe for a tasty burger.

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We found it once by accident years ago when we were visiting COSI which, by the way, is an excellent place to visit if you are ever on a road trip to Columbus, Ohio.  Give yourself at least 4-6 hours to explore this science and industry museum.


Cincinnati Stix 15U team won all three of our pool play games ranking us fourteen out of over 80 teams so we got a bye and enjoyed a late Saturday lunch at The Winking Lizard.

Unfortunately, we fell hard and fast this morning at 8am losing by too many runs to report 😦 .

So that is the end of the tournament for us, the end of our 2017 baseball season, and the end of our road trip to Columbus, Ohio.


Have you ever been to Columbus? What’s one of your favorite places to eat or visit in Columbus, Ohio?

Early Stop on the Underground Railroad

If you are traveling southwest Ohio I recommend embarking on a little trip to Ripley, Ohio.  Ripley sits on the Ohio River east of Cincinnati.  It is a town rich in history.  One of the most popular spots to visit in Ripley is the John Rankin House.  It is a national historic landmark.  John Rankin was a Presbyterian minister and abolitionist who is estimated to have helped over 2000 slaves escape to freedom.

The little house is estimated to have been built in 1826, making it over 200 years old.  The grounds are natural & beautiful providing a fantastic view of the Ohio River.

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Overlooking the Ohio River

Parking is free, but hours are limited, so check the museum schedule before heading out. Cost is around $5 per person to tour the house.

After overlooking the Ohio River from the John Rankin House, we couldn’t help but get a closer look on the River Walk along Front Street in Ripley, Ohio.  We recommend a stop Rockin’ Robin’s Soda Shoppe to get ice cream and watch the boats on the river.

The Parker House  is also on Front Street, Ripley, Ohio.  Parker was a former slave, inventor, and abolitionist.  Another house on Front Street is known as the Signal House.  It was owned by Vic and Betsy Billingsley and is where the attic lantern signaled Reverend Rankin that it was safe to cross the river leading slaves to freedom.    

If you want something a little more filling Cohearts Riverhouse is also on Front Street, Ripley, Ohio.  My daughter and I have eaten here and enjoyed it.  The food and service were good.

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Moyer Vineyard Winery & Restaurant

Another dining option a little further east up the river is Moyer Vineyard Winery and Restaurant .  My daughter and I ate here a few weeks ago.  What we really enjoyed here was the restaurant’s setting on the river.  I bought a bottle of River Valley Red, but haven’t tried it yet because I’m waiting to have someone to share it with 🙂 .   It is described as a soft, mellow, moderating dry red wine and is made from grapes on the property.  I’ll update you after I’ve tried it.

Needing a place to stay?  Brown’s Motel in Aberdeen, Ohio is modest & inexpensive.  It’s right across the river from Maysville, Kentucky which is also a historic little town (and home of Rosemary Clooney) worth exploring.  I’ll tell you more about it another time.


Have you ever been to Ripley,Ohio?  Tell us about your favorite place to visit when there.