German Village’s annual Haus und Garten Tour is a popular way for visitors to explore the charming homes and gardens lining the brick streets and sidewalks of this historic Columbus neighborhood. In fact, my childhood East Sycamore Street home was a repeat stop on the tour during the early 1970s.
The tour is the signature event of the German Village Society, which has been working hard to promote the neighborhood through historic preservation, education and outreach programs and other special events since its founding in 1960.
In June, the German Village Society also began attracting visitors to the community through its new “Pin Back, Give Back” program. Here’s how it works.
Stop by the German Village Society Visitors Center at 588 S. Third St. to learn about the neighborhood. Watch an introductory eight-minute video, admire a display case filled with fascinating historical artifacts, and browse through several German Village-related books for sale. Pick up a map of the area, don a souvenir “Character Lives On” button, take a list of over 20 participating merchants, and embark on a fun hunt for savings, complimentary samples and more.
Receive a gift when you spend $5 at the Golden Age Hobby Shop, a consignment shop for handcrafted items made by Ohio residents who are over 50 years of age. It’s also a good way to explore the former Third Street School, which has been the shop’s home since 1981.
Across the street at the Book Loft, 32 rooms of bargain books await. Show your button and get five percent off your purchase.
Purchase European housewares, art and other unique gifts at Caterina Ltd. and receive a travel-sized luxury soap or Votivo candle in luscious scents like island grapefruit and red currant.
Shopping can be taxing. Pick out your choice of a complimentary Parisian macaron at Pistachia Vera, a pastry kitchen and café. These delicate, beautifully hued meringue cookies come in over a dozen flavors, including seasonal specialties like a chocolate-and-peanut butter Buckeye version. Outside, peek around the corner to watch the patisserie chefs at work in the windows of the former Reiner’s Bakery, our source for Saturday-morning doughnuts until 1974.
Another pick-me-up for button-wearers is a free cup of coffee or tea with a purchase at Kittie’s Cakes. Try mini-cupcakes in daily rotating flavors like banana cream, s’more and lemon meringue. Layer cakes, whoopie pies, scones, biscuits and jam, and cinnamon rolls are also on the menu.
At Katzinger’s Delicatessen, order one of almost 50 famously big, delicious sandwiches and receive a complimentary homemade potato knish, a traditional Eastern European peasant dish of pastry dough surrounding mashed potatoes, caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese. I’m partial to the #5, Mimi’s Melody – homemade tuna salad, Vermont white chedar, tomato and Russian dressing, grilled on rye.
Other German Village merchants participating in the “Pin Back, Give Back” program include Acupuncture & Wellness of Merion Village; The Backstage Bistro; Barcelona Restaurant; Claddagh Irish Pub; clayspace; Columbus Brewing Company Restaurant; Franklin Art Glass; Gresso’s; Hey Hey Bar & Grill; Pizza Rustica; Qwirk CoWorking; Shadowbox Live; Skillet, Rustic.Urban.Food; Square One Salon & Spa; Three Sheets; Village Pet Supply; and W.E. Davis Insurance. Offers expire January 30, 2016.