When I was researching possible neighborhoods for our family to land in Columbus while still in California, I came across many names that meant nothing to me: Dublin, New Albany, Gahanna, Bexley, Upper Arlington, Grandview. These are, naturally, more family-friendly neighborhoods with good schools, sidewalks and the like. After a few months here, these names are very familiar to me. I think I might have even been to them all, for one reason or another.
The neighborhood of Olde Towne East (OTE) came up occasionally during my research. It was not on my radar screen as much, but I sure know that name, and that it is somewhere between Bexley and downtown Columbus. I had been by it a few times, and even had lunch at the Black Creek Bistro. Still, I was a bit puzzled about the neighborhood.
I was determined to find out more about it today, on this beautiful fall day when everyone seems joyous and carefree like the leaves that are falling off the trees. I went down a few streets in this so called 'Olde Towne East' section of town, snapped a few photos, and walked onto Parsons street, into Voda Emporium.
Two gentlemen, co-owners of the shop, greeted me warmly. They shared with me a little history of OTE, how it used to be home to important people of the city, with their grand mansions that still stand today. In the 70s, apparently, things went south and it became an unsafe place to be. Just more recently, there is an effort to revitalize and bring more people to the area.
Voda Emporioum has two sections, one with mostly locally made goods: cards, art, candles, kitchenware, dog treats and more! The other section is a hair salon, well tucked away, but roomy enough to be part of the whole place. In the mornings, they also serve coffee and pastries for those on the run! How cool is that?
The owners tell me that a cafe is about to open next door to them, any day now! And a few doors down the street is the aforementioned Black Creek Bistro as well as a (so I am told) a popular bar called Carabar. Across the street, I see signs for galleries, too. Is this a mini-version of the Short North?
If you are interested, Olde Towne East is holding a Fall Festival this Saturday from noon to 10pm. Here is where you find more information.
I am sure I am not the only one to be excited about the revitalization of this little neighborhood!