Travel, Etc. --> A visit to Columbus, Indiana Part II
A Visit to Columbus
The Irwin Gardens Inn really is amazing. Built in 1864, with the last major renovation in 1910, and well maintained since, it is like staying in a museum. J. Irwin Miller grew up in this home, and when the last of the Irwin family in Columbus died in 2008, the home was sold to owners / innkeepers, Jim & Eve Jackson, with almost all of the furnishings intact, down to the books on the book shelves. Only the Monet's and other pieces of fine art were removed. If it weren't for the addition of the flat screen televisions in the rooms, this must be what it was like to live the life of the fabulously wealthy in the early 20th century.
The gardens are modeled after gardens found in the ruins of Pompeii, and the Villa Hadrian in Italy. Filled with fountains, flowers and terraces, they made a great backdrop for our Sunday evening picnic, and again for coffee and newspapers in the morning.
The five available rooms are beyond large...2 are suites, and the others rooms including sitting areas and bathrooms. Our suite included a sitting room the size of our living room at home, a full-sized bedroom, bath, sun room and 2 oak drawered walk-in wardrobes. The bathrooms and plumbing fixtures are mostly original, but worked just fine. An altogether interesting and relaxing experience, capped off by an excellent fresh cooked breakfast.
Downtown dining options are limited on Sunday, hence our evening picnic in the garden. But we had a fun lunch at another Columbus institution, Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor & Museum.
Another step back into time, this time to the turn of the last century, this institution has been serving ice cream since 1911 and and features an incredible of collection of antique soda fountains, a Welte Orchestrion (a mechanical band), and a festive, Victorian atmosphere. And, the food was good! We had lunch on Sunday, thankfully, seated away from the multi generational families and small, loud children. The chocolate malt we shared with traditional paper straws took you back in time, but the fresh, well prepared sandwiches and hand cut french fries were a delight.
The downtown area appears to have a number of nice dining options with more on the way, like Scotty's Burgers and Puchini's in the new Commons...perhaps they will be open on Sunday evening. Our choices would have been Bistro 310, Fork, Tre Bicchieri or Smith's Row for a Saturday night. But we managed to have lunch in the lovely, second floor outdoor balcony at Smith's Row on Monday, and can report that the food is excellent and the wine from the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence Wine List was well chosen and very fairly priced. It is hard to judge a restaurant on salads and a shared club sandwich, but I'm hopeful that if dinner is as well done as lunch, you won't be disappointed.
For a quick get-away, Columbus is a tremendous find for us. I can't think of how many times we have driven much further for much less!
September 7, 2011