Tag Archives: Columbus Ohio


Welcome to my blog!

I am a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).

My latest posts are from my summer trip to Helsinki, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia and Riga, Latvia.

Before that are my posts from my spring travels to the Upper Midwest, U.S.A., including Michigan and Ohio. In Michigan, I visited Mackinac Island for the third time, the scenic Lake Michigan town of Petoskey, and a stop at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids. Previous posts include a link to my story about last summer’s New England cruise, and my visits to Ohio cities that begin with “C” — Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Canton, and a fun time on the Lake Erie Islands.

Next month I travel to Greece and Turkey. Stay tuned!

My updated published clips list with some of my stories from over the years is on the right. To see even more of my published clips, visit my website at http://www.richardvarr.com

Thanks for your continued interest!!

(Header image is my photo from St. Barth, view from the Colombier Lookout; head shot in Krakow, Poland.)


My novel of international intrigue, Warming Up to Murder, is available as an ebook, and in Kindle and Nook formats.  It’s about a TV reporter who finds himself chasing the “big story” spanning two continents.  See the links below.



Columbus, OH: What to See and Do

Downtown Columbus. Photo by Richard Varr

Columbus reminds me of Austin, having lived in the Texas capital city for six years. Both have a river slicing through (in Austin, it’s actually called Lady Bird Lake, a river-like reservoir) with scenic green areas and biking paths, and with capitol buildings and state offices and departments. And both have a youthful bohemian feel to them in some neighborhoods since each is home to a large university, the University of Texas and Ohio State University.

Short North Arts District. Photo by Richard Varr

Short North Arts District. Photo by Richard Varr

Short North Arts District. Photo by Richard Varr

In Columbus, one of those neighborhoods is the Short North Arts District, just north of downtown along central High Street, where nightlife sparks to life with new chic restaurants, trendy cafes and pulsing clubs attracting swarms of revelers. During the day, the chugs of cranes and other construction gear echo through the streets with new hotels and other venues in the works. Galleries and boutiques line the streets, while colorful mural art and sculptures dominate some street corners, with others tucked away in narrow alleys.

German Village. Photo by Richard Varr

German Village. Photo by Richard Varr

South of Downtown, shaded and cobbled streets intertwine within the German Village neighborhood, with restored 1800s brick houses built by arriving settlers. Central to this leafy district is Schiller Park with its green spaces, duck and swan ponds and namesake statue of a German poet and philosopher.

Actors’ Theatre headquarters, Schiller Park. Photo by Richard Varr

Umbrella Girl Statue, Schiller Park. Photo by Richard Varr

Schiller Park. Photo Richard Varr

What caught my eye in particular are the cottage-like headquarters of the city’s Actors’ Theatre, and the unique Umbrella Girl statue atop a small fountain. Mysteries abound with the statue, as it’s draped in a red cloak at Christmastime (apparently, no one has owned up to the holiday gesture), and this statue was a generous replacement from a local sculptor after the original disappeared in the 1950s. On the edge of the neighborhood, The Book Loft is packed with mostly new books within a maze of passageways and small rooms, some only as wide as a small closet.

The Book Loft. Photo by Richard Varr

National Veterans Memorial and Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

Inside the National Veterans Memorial and Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

New to the city is the rounded arena-like National Veterans Memorial and Museum along the Scioto River, where the plight of war, courage and patriotism are told through the individual stories of soldiers and volunteers – why they do it and the sacrifices they made. Exhibits include timelines of practically all the conflicts through the history of the United States, from the American Revolution through the current War in Afghanistan. Artifacts span the likes of colonial muskets and Civil War-era surgical kits to World War II radios and food rations. Soldiers’ letters from the battlefield help illuminate their desperation and sacrifices.

Inside the National Veterans Memorial and Museum. Photo by Richard Varr

Inside North Market. Photo by Richard Varr

Inside North Market. Photo by Richard Varr

Photo by Richard Varr

While in Columbus, my favorite lunch spot was the pedestrian-packed North Market. Walk by the vendor stalls teeming with Polish pirogues and dumplings, bratwurst, and vegetarian dishes including cauliflower and quinoa. Roasted chicken, hams, Yak and bison burgers, Vietnamese and Indian specialties and some sweet pastries and chocolate candies for desert add to the choices, among many more.  Are you now hungry?

Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Photo by Richard Varr

Other places to visit include the Columbus Museum of Art with its collection of nineteenth and early twentieth-century American and European modern art, as well as the works of outstanding local artists. The riverside Scioto Audubon Metro Park is a great place for hiking and bird watching, and the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens features exhibitions including colorful flora and butterflies, among others.

Bike paths along the Scioto River. Photo by Richard Varr

For More Information:  https://www.experiencecolumbus.com/


A shout-out to my Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) colleague Anietra Hamper for her recently released travel guides, Secret Columbus: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure, and 100 Things to do in Columbus Before you Die. They are certainly worth a look if you’re visiting!