11 Oct Getting Local in Columbus on the Made in CBUS Trail
If there is one thing that stands out in our minds from our trip to Columbus, Ohio, it has to be the wonderful variety of locally owned businesses, restaurants, cafes, breweries, and boutiques. We spent a large portion of our time exploring the city on foot with the help of our passport booklets from the Ale Trail, the Coffee Trail, and the Made in CBUS Trail. Each trail leads you to a selection of high quality businesses that excel in their field, and today we are going to give you a peek into the spots we stopped at along the Made in CBUS Trail.
The Made in CBUS Trail consists of a curated collection of local makers—with the help of your passport booklet, you can easily find a great selection of quality producers around the city. The trail lists a wide variety of participating locations, and you will find stores like juice bars, distilleries, soap shops, jewelry stores, gift shops and so much more.
Grab a free passport booklet at a Columbus Visitor Center or any of the participating shops and get ready to see some of the best shops in the city. The trail isn’t a guided adventure, so you are free to go at your own pace and visit as many of the shops as you would like. If you decide to purchase anything from any of the locations in the book, be sure to get a stamp at checkout. Once you receive four or more stamps in your book, you can turn it in at a Columbus Visitor Center for a free Made in CBUS T-Shirt!
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to visit all of the shops in the book, but we did make it to a number of wonderful establishments during our visit. Next time we are in Columbus, I definitely want to make it to Brothers Drake Meadery, Glenn Avenue Soap Company, Igloo Letterpress, and Watershed Distillery, just to name a few. But until then, here are the five stops we did manage to squeeze in during our four days in Columbus.
After an evening of indulgence at The Eagle for dinner and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams for dessert, we knew we needed a detox to start off our morning right. Alchemy Juice looked like a great spot for a fresh and healthy breakfast, so we made our way to this wholesome juice bar and café. Alchemy is dedicated to nourishing your body with fresh ingredients and innovative food and drinks. Inside the café, you will find a clean and airy atmosphere with a fantastic menu full of tempting options to pick from. The menu is filled with juice, smoothies, toast, smoothie bowls, sandwiches, salads, coffee, tea, and snacks.
I wanted to try so many items (and was tempted to order a few!), but as we were trying to not go overboard, I got a bowl and Micah ordered toast. My Blueberry Almond Butter bowl came packed with a nutrient dense combination of organic aci, blueberries, banana, almond butter, house-made almond milk topped with banana, flaked coconut, granola, and goji berries. Toast can sound like a boring option to pick, but not here. Micah picked the simple PB&J option that came topped with local jam, granola, and local peanut butter, but another option that sounded intriguing to me was the Banana Almond Butter with sliced banana, almond butter, raw cacao nibs, cinnamon and Ohio maple. Combined with fresh coffee, it was the perfect start to our day.
Next, we made our way over to the shops in German Village and our Made in CBUS booklet led us to Helen Winnemore’s. This boutique shop was founded in 1938—Helen Winnemore’s is located inside of an old house, and it is the oldest American craft gallery in the United States.
The shop is filled with work of American Artisans and coffee or tea is served to guests as they browse through room after room of crafted goods. The items in the store show that art and beauty can be found in objects that we use every day, and many of the items you will find here are usable or wearable pieces of art. From mugs, to jewelry, to salad bowls, to cards, to household decorations and so much more, there is sure to be something that catches your eye. What was meant to be a short stop to take a glance around, quickly turned into almost an hour of browsing through rooms of one unique treasure after another. It was definitely an unexpected stop on our itinerary that we fell in love with.
The Candle Lab
Micah and I both love candles—there’s just something so comforting about a sweet-smelling candle crackling at home that makes us smile. So, when we learned about The Candle Lab from our Made in CBUS book, we knew it had to be a stop on our itinerary. There are several Candle Lab locations throughout the city, and we visited the one in the Short North Arts District. While there are many varieties of candles, bath and body products, and home fragrance products available for purchase, in our opinion, the real charm to this store is the “Pour-Your-Own Candle” option.
The candles are made from natural soy wax, pure fragrance oils, and cotton paper wicks, and if you decide to make your own candle, you can create your own custom scent and candle in about 30 minutes. To start off the process, you will get a clipboard and an “Experiment with Scent” form to fill out. Then it’s time to start smelling! There is a wall filled with more than 100 scents, so you pop open the candles, give them a smell, and write down your favorites. After you have your favorite smells listed, you pick out a container for your candle and make your way to the counter where a specialist will help you decide on the ideal combination of scents for your candle. The specialists are great at knowing which smells work together, so you should have a fabulous smelling combination in no time.
Then, it’s time to get to work. You will be provided with oils of your chosen scents, and you mix them together in any proportion you would like. Once your oils are mixed and ready to go, you will pour them into your melted wax and give it a good stir. And, that’s it! Your custom scented candle is now complete—it just needs to set and dry for 90 minutes and then it is ready to take home. Both Micah and I made different combinations of woodsy-tree smelling candles that remind us of the woods in northern Minnesota, and we have really enjoyed burning them since we have returned home. It’s a feel good in a jar!
Red Giraffe Designs
While we were waiting for our candles from The Candle Lab to set, we decided to do some shopping and grab a coffee. One of our stops in the Short North Arts District was Red Giraffe Designs. It’s really too bad that I don’t wear jewelry very often because if I did, I would have come home with several pieces of jewelry from Red Giraffe Designs. This small boutique packs quite a punch.
The owner, Kate Stevens, started Red Giraffe Designs in 2009, and while her first shop was at a craft show, she has now expanded to selling jewelry in 50+ retail locations around the U.S., at over 20 events throughout the year, in an online Etsy shop, and at a storefront in the Short North Arts District that opened in 2015. In addition to a wide range of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, you can also work with the boutique to create a custom piece of jewelry for yourself or a loved one!
We had a little bit of free time the last afternoon of our trip, so before going for a coffee, we made a little detour for a visit to Stump Plants. There are two Stump Plants locations in Columbus, so we popped into the Italian Village location. Stump Plants specializes in curated plants and artist-made planters. One of the things that I love most about this shop is that they have a goal to educate their customers on how to care for their plants. They want people to have a successful experience owning plants, so they will work with you to find a plant to fit your lifestyle and show you how to care for it. I don’t have the best track record of keeping plants alive, so I really appreciate that they focus on providing education to those without a green thumb, like myself.
Plus, in addition to the education component, the store is absolutely beautiful! It felt like we were walking into a curated art gallery, not a plant shop. The design left me wanting to take photos of everything in sight, but instead, we got to chatting with the wonderful people behind the counter. Again, we stopped into a store for a quick look around, and ended up with so much more in return. Although we didn’t purchase any plants (we didn’t think they would travel in our overstuffed carryon luggage too well…), it did instill a desire in me to give plant ownership another try. It’s hard to pay attention to plants since we are often on the road, but I might just give it another go in the near future.
Each and every store we visited on the Made in CBUS Trail gave us an experience that was much more than just another shop. The focus on high quality goods at these locally owned establishments left us with lasting memories, and that’s definitely not something I would expect from browsing and shopping in a city. We left Columbus with a warm feeling in our hearts and an appreciation for all the local charm we encountered day in and day out, and we can’t wait to return to check out even more of the wonderful shops on this list someday soon!
We visited Columbus as part of a video project campaign. Special thanks to Travel Mindset and Experience Columbus for hosting us on our adventures through the city. As always, all opinions are our own.