Playdate in Uptown Westerville

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Confession: other than dropping off our taxes to the accountant, I haven’t spent any time in Uptown Westerville!  So who better to show me the ropes than a friend who grew up there? A playdate was in the plans so she suggested meeting for donuts before heading to Alum Creek Park North.  No one’s going to argue with that plan! We met up at Schneider’s Bakery to pick out our goodies before heading to the park.  This was my first time at Schneider’s Bakery, but from what I hear it is a Westerville institution.  The bakery opens at 1:30 AM.  Yes, in the morning.  I had to ask twice just to be sure!  This works well near a college campus and across the street from a bar . . . but keep this in mind if you get some middle of the night pregnancy cravings!  IMG_4007

IMG_3997There are a lot of goodies to choose from here including donuts, pastries, cookies and fresh bread and rolls.  Your kids will enjoy the I Spy Cake in the display case – a cake covered in lots of fun items with a list of things to look for.  We also got to sample a Celebration Donut, which is basically a humongous donut (10 inches in diameter, to be exact!) that you can order for special occasions!IMG_4003

Kids . . . they’re so funny.  They just haven’t learned yet that all that glitters isn’t gold.  They always choose sugar cookies with brightly colored sprinkles or bright blue ice cream with a name like Superman.  And then they spend the rest of the time asking me and their dad for bites of what we ordered – you know, the better tasting things like chocolate and normal colored foods.  Anyway . . . my kids both wanted a smiley face cookie, but then spent the morning asking for bites of my amazing glazed donut.  When will they learn?  And when will Mama get to eat her own food?  If you know the answer, do tell!  😉

The donut WAS one of the best I have ever had.  Really.

Don’t you, though?

Once we had our sweets, us mamas had to head down the street to Java Central for our daily dose of caffeine.  Don’t plan to eat your donut here (the signs are very clear about that), but pick up some coffee before you head to the park. (You probably already know this is a theme of mine.)  Java Central is a cute coffee shop with a lot of regulars, a lot of coffee choices, and a variety of food and snacks for sale.  (I didn’t try the Nitro, but I am definitely curious.)IMG_4021

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IMG_4014This day in particular was beautiful, not too hot, not too cold and it would have been totally possible to walk to the park, but I was on a time crunch, so we got back in our cars and drove to Alum Creek Park North.  The parking for the park is along Alum Park Dr.  The first time I came here, a few years ago, I took a few wrong turns around Otterbein, unsure where to enter.  There are spots lining the edge of the park and a small lot at the bottom of the hill.

This is a fun park with a lot of different areas to play in (I also featured it here.)  There’s a play train for the younger kids, an older kids play area, a climbing wall, a play-web structure, a sand pit and an Neos 360. There are also swings for all ages. The boys spent the majority of their time on the train and then in the sand pit.IMG_4047

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IMG_4031Something super serious is being discussed at this meeting of the minds – like, “is my smiley face cookie as good as your donut?”IMG_4066

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Caffeinated mamas are happy mamas!

I’ve seriously been thinking about that donut ever since our visit so I’m thinking a return visit to Uptown Westerville is in order! Anywhere else I need to visit while I’m there?

Know Before You Go:

Schneider’s Bakery
Location: 6 S. State St., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-882-6611
Hours:
Monday: 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Tuesday -Thursday: 1:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday: Apr-Oct: 1:30 AM – 9:00 PM; Nov-Mar: 1:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 1:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Sunday CLOSED
Cash or Check only!

Java Central
Location: 20B South State St., Westerville, Ohio 43081
Phone: 614-839-0698
Hours:
Monday-Thursday: 7:00 AM-9:00 PM
Friday: 7:00 AM-10:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM-10:00 PM
Sunday: 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Alum Creek Park North
Location: 221 W. Main St., Westerville, OH 43081

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ICYMI: 6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers


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Saturday Morning in the Short North

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We {heart} the Short North!  When we moved to Columbus, it’s where we wanted to be. My husband and I lived here for three and a half years before we had our first child. We took full advantage of walking out our front door and straight to some of the best dining, arts and shopping in the city!

We love having kids in the Short North, the proximity to so many fun places, parks and museums is awesome!  We love being in a walkable neighborhood that’s full of life and energy!  But, let’s be honest, our excursions to High Street have decreased in frequency since the bambinos came along.  Gallery Hop comes to life mostly after bed time and strollers don’t always fit inside tiny, hip restaurants or crowded art galleries.  But over the past few years we’ve noticed more and more strollers popping up on the sidewalks around us and with the creation of the group Short North Parents, there’s been a movement for families with children to stay in the area as their kids grow.

Just this past year we’ve seen the opening of the first retail shop in the Short North that is 100% for kids (correct me if I’m wrong, I can’t think of another!).  That is certainly a sign that the times are changing and that the Short North CAN be kid-friendly!

Even if (and especially if) you don’t live here, you should know that you CAN bring your kids to the Short North and have a really fun time!  Today I’m going to share with you a recent outing I had with my family – all four of us.

First Stop:  Laughlin’s Bakery

This quaint little bakery sits on 2nd Ave. just east of High St.

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The cookies, cakes and pastries are beautiful and it was tough to choose!

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My oldest went straight for the pink one (technically the Lemon and Pomegranate Haley Cake) because he’s into icing!  Eric and I shared a Laminated Sugar Brioche which was awesome!

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The selection is amazing and I could try one of each – so could my kids, for sure!  There are 3 or 4 tables for sitting.  The atmosphere is bright and I bet every day feels like Saturday in here! See also: 5 on Friday: Columbus Bakeries!

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Laughlin’s Bakery
Location: 15 East 2nd Ave, Columbus Ohio, 43201
Phone: 614-914-8858
Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Saturday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Sunday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Closed Monday

Second Stop: Italian Village Park

If you’re exploring the Short North and your kids need somewhere to get out excess energy or a place to take a break and have a snack, veer east on Buttles Ave., over to Italian Village Park, which is about a block and a half from high street.  This is a pretty large green space for the area and a great meeting place for the neighborhood.  There is a lot of seating here, room to run and a small playground.  We’ve stopped off here a number of times to eat ice cream from UDF or let the kids out of the stroller to run after walking up and down High Street.

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Italian Village Park
Location: 55 E. Hubbard Ave., Columbus, OH 43215

Third Stop: Cub Shrub

Cub Shrub grew from one shelf in Tiger Tree to it’s very own storefront!  Since its opening in November, 2015, this was our first visit to the store!

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My kids enjoyed the workbench set up for play and they especially loved pushing the little shopping carts around the store.

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shoppingcarts

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Cub Shrub carries toys and clothing for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  If you’re looking for a unique, one-of-a kind birthday or shower gift, look no further!  The clothing is hip and adorable and the toys are eye catching and high quality.  There is also a fun selection of books, decor and children’s accessories.

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Cub Shrub
Location: 749 N. High St. Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: 614-947-1193
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Free and metered street parking can be found on the side streets around the Short North. There are also several parking garages available.  Check out this link for more detailed parking options in the area.  If you’re looking for more in the Short North, check out our trip to North Market and keep an eye on the blog as we will continue to share more Short North fun with kids!

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ICYMI: The Farm at Walnut Creek

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Coffee + Park: 3 Parks Within Walking Distance of a Coffee Shop

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Spring is in the air and park season is upon us.  All of us parents, weary from passing endless hours indoors, break out of our shells, stretch and yawn, opening our eyes to the bright sunshine.  It’s time to head outside.  And I know what you need:  coffee.  If I had a nickel for every parent I see at the park holding a cup of coffee, I would at least be drinking a Venti right now.

What am I giving you in this post?  Three coffee/park combinations.  And my promise to you is that these will be easy to do.  I have chosen three places where you can, with the least amount of effort, pick up your coffee and head to the park.  Sure, you could go through the drive through . . . but I’m all about making this an “outing” that’s fun for the child AND the parent.  Stop by the coffee shop and then head to the park . . . that’s what spring’s all about, isn’t it?

1. Luck Bros’ Coffee House + Pierce Field

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You can literally see the coffee shop from the park. Easy Peasy.

You can literally see the coffee shop from the park. Easy Peasy.

It doesn’t get much easier than this when it comes to coffee and park proximity!  I stopped in for coffee and got tempted by the yummy chocolate chip cookies.  We stayed here to share a cookie and then headed across the street to the park.  Pierce Field has two play areas, one for older kids and one for younger.  There is also a smaller slide and a lady bug to ride on for the toddler set.  The park is fenced in and restrooms are available.  This park also has free wi-fi!

Coffee:  Luck Bros’ Coffee House, 1101 W 1st Ave, Grandview Heights, OH, 43212

Park:  Pierce Field, 1st Ave, between Oxley and Northwest Blvd, Grandview Heights, OH, 43212

Where to Park: I recommend parking on 1st Ave, which separates the park from the coffee shop.  You can park in the parking lot in front of the shops or on the road along the park.

2. Caffe Apropos + Harrison Park

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Coffee to park is a mere 4 block walk in this case.  Caffe Apropos serves a large selection of coffee drinks and features a hopping happy hour if you’re arriving after nap time!  My favorites here are the Italian sodas, lattes and cookies from Pattycake Bakery.  Harrison Park (which is a different park from Harrison West Park if you happen to be Googling) is a newer park with a great play area for toddlers (and one for older kids, too!).  The park is along the Olentangy River and the bike path.  There’s a lot of green space here for running around, too.  There are no restrooms available (so you might want to limit your caffeine intake! 😉 ).

Coffee:  Caffe Apropos, 443 W. 3rd Ave., Columbus OH, 43201 (on the corner of 3rd Ave. and Michigan Ave.)

Park:  Harrison Park, on Harrison Park Place between W. 1st and W. 2nd avenues.

Where to Park:  There is only street parking available here but it is free and without a time limit.  I recommend parking on Harrison Park Place, right along the park and then walking to the coffee shop.  If parking is unavailable there, one of the parallel streets will work just fine – Michigan tends to be busy so try Perry, or Oregon between 1st Avenue and 3rd Avenue.

3. Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffees + Schiller Park

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Be forewarned that your kids will want chocolate when you get to Winans to order your coffee.  Who wouldn’t?!  The coffee is good and perusing the beautifully made chocolates is worth the stop on its own!  When we visited, the friendly staff gave my kids a free treat – which was awesome!  The walk to the playground will set you back about a half a mile through the park, but walking through the park is, well, a walk in the park.  Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!  You could add in a detour around the pond to feed the ducks or through Huntington Garden, around the Statue of Schiller, which is beautiful in the springtime!  The playground area is great for all ages.  My kids have loved playing on the train.  The playground is pretty well fenced in and shady!  Restrooms are available.

Coffee: Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffees, 897 S. 3rd St., Columbus, OH 43206,  Hours: 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Park:  Schiller Park, 1069 Jaeger St., Columbus, OH 43206

Where to Park:  My first suggestion would be to park on Reinhard, along the park.  Winans is about 2 blocks from the park entrance on Reinhard.  The playground is on the other side of the park, and there is also a parking lot inside the park, closer to the playground area, if you want to start there.  (Enter at the corner of Jaeger and Deshler).

I hope you have as much fun trying out these combinations as we did!

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ICYMI: 5 Go-To Places to Take Your Kids in Columbus


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