May 2009

Sometimes, when we are trying to think of something different to get for lunch during the work week (something WHOLEsome), we remember Whole Foods!  We were thrilled, a few years ago, that the largest natural and organic foods retailer in the nation decided to open a store in Dublin/Columbus. (It’s especially nice having it just five minutes away from our offices.)

Whole Foods is such a great experience – not just to shop – but to enjoy a meal. My husband and I love to sit at the Italian bar and order a pasta, seafood, chicken or steak. (The chicken and polenta are delicious). Did you know that you can choose a bottle of wine and the server will serve it with your meal? Then you can take the rest of the bottle home (if there’s any left). Much more economical than buying individual glasses of wine.  We also like to stop by after church and enjoy breakfast at the French bar. Huge omelets, pancakes or eggs. Choose a pastry from the bakery to munch. Yummmmmmm.  Then, of course, there are the endless ready-to-eat options for weekday lunch runs. Salad bar. Soups. Pizza. Deli.  The toughest part is deciding. 

Whole foods is a fun destination for visitors, too. The store offers free tours for groups (when scheduled in advance) — or you can just wander through on your own, sampling as you go.  The first time you visit, you are likely to be in awe of the 300+ cheeses, 1,800 wines, fresh fruit and veggie options, fresh seafood (flown in 6 days per week), hand dipped gelatos, sushi bar and artisan bakery creations. But that’s not all. Whole Foods offers cooking classes and great events–like the popular “Friday Five After Five.”  For just $5, you can sample 5 different wines along with food samples. (Save your wine glass to use again and you only have to pay $4 next time. Such a deal!!!)

The store even offers children’s cooking classes and events. It’s one of those place you feel better just visiting.  Next time you’re in Dublin, check out Whole Foods.

-Post by Kay

My favorite part of my job is selling Dublin.  Not just promoting it (which is really fun, too)—but really making people fall in love tehkuwith this city.  You see, I’m a longtime Dublin girl. We moved here way back in the day when Dublin was mostly farmland. Admittedly, it wasn’t so cool back then for a young city girl.  But Dublin, Ohio has grown into an awesome destination (not to mention a great place to live and raise kids)–thanks to a lot of foresight and gentle guidance by local officials.

Sometimes selling Dublin is easy—especially if people have been here before for the Dublin Irish Festival, PGA Memorial Tournament, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium—or if they’ve been here on business or for a sports tournament.  But when you are one of 1,000 destinations on a trade show floor in a convention center somewhere in the continental U.S. (and most of the conference attendees have never heard of  you or Dublin, Ohio), selling  the destination can be a little more of a challenge. That’s where the fun part comes in. It can be a long process—but, I feel I can say with confidence that, if I can get a group here AND interact with them, I can make them fall in love with my emerald city.  Case in point: The Liberty Travelers.

Last week, we hosted a Group Tour (motor coach) from Illinois—The Liberty Travelers. They were on a “Mystery Trip”—meaning they trusted their tour operator to put together a 3-day fun adventure to some unknown place that is really cool, doing things they didn’t expect, resulting in memories they’d never forget. (No pressure for the operator AT ALL.)  After building a relationship with the operator and convincing him to take a chance on our “Irish Experience” itinerary—I was able to get them to come to Dublin. 

Now, picture this.  It’s day #1 of their tour. They have just arrived in Historic Dublin and are sitting on their bus waiting to disembark.  I step on board, welcome them to Dublin, give them a little local history and say “Okay, we’re going to have some fun now. We’re going on a Four-Leaf Clover Scavenger Hunt!”  Inevitably, here comes THE LOOK. You know it. It’s the same expression we all have our faces when we attend a meeting and the leader starts with “We’re going to play an icebreaker game.” It’s the look that says, “Oh, no. She’s going to make us play a game. I really just want to sit here.”  That’s when we start to surprise them. We give them game booklets and we lead them to four local businesses where they sample Irish teas, taste freshly baked scones, shop for Celtic imports and meet some “fruity” sisters (that woo them with chocolates).

While walking from shop-to-shop, I tell them about growing up in Dublin or share local ghost stories. They tell me about their families or their visits to Ireland.  A couple hours later, the tour is over. It’s time to get on the bus and move on to the next stop (maybe an Irish dance lesson or Penny Whistle Class). Then comes the best part of my job. The part that makes me a conversion junkie. They each hug me—and say things like, “Oh, this was so much fun.” “I never knew Dublin had so much to offer.” “I’m going to tell all my friends about this place.”  And that makes for an AWESOME day.

-Post by Mary

Sláinte Thursdays are back!!!  What is it, you say? Well, the name Sláinte (pronounced “Slon-sha”) is a Gaelic toast similar to saying brazenheadslainte“Cheers!” or “To your health!”  The third-Thursday events in  Historic Dublin, Ohio (also known as the Bri-Hi District) offers a special evening out to celebrate good friends, community, music and local arts.

This week, Thursday, May 21 marks the first  Sláinte Thursday of the season.  Enjoy live outdoor music starting at 6 p.m., near the Dublin Village Tavern, The Kelly Gallery and The Brazenhead. Experience a silent art auction at Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland. Enjoy discounted shopping, dining specials and taste testing and a stone carving demonstration by Dan Roth. CD 101 radio will broadcast live on the Blarney Brothers front porch (53 N. High St.).  

New this year – Blarney Bucks!   These universal coupon cards are provided to visitors, residences and advocates of Historic Dublin.  How do they work (and where can you get one)?  Do business with a Historic Dublin Business Association member anytime during the month and receive a Blarney Buck card–good for special discounts and event participation during Sláinte Thursdays. Check out to learn more.

In our house, our Mother’s Day tradition is to go to church, then out to a great brunch, then Mom gets to take a nap!  Here are some biddiesrestaurants in Dublin that are holding Mother’s Day Brunches.  Please call ahead to confirm if you will need reservations as some locations will sell out.

If you are looking for great gift ideas for Mom, try our local garden centers.  We are so lucky to have great sources right here in town! I always buy my Mom a pretty planted basket or pot for her front porch for her to enjoy all summer.

-Post by Katie

Do you like treasure hunting, mysteries and puzzles? Enjoy being outdoors? Ever tried geocaching? (Do you even know what it Riverboxes- Dublin Ohio Arts Council means?) Dublin (OH) is a great place to start. The Dublin Arts Council’s Riverboxes project (part of Ripple Effect: Artistic Impact of the Scioto River) was inspired by the popular pastime of letterboxing or geocaching– where hobbyists tap their map-reading or GPS skills and combine them with a little artistic pursuit to embark on ‘treasure hunts’ in beautiful, scenic places. And it’s fun for all ages!

Anxious to try it?  To be a true hobbyist, you should bring a personal journal and an ink stamp (either hand made or commercially produced), when searching for Riverbox locations.  Letterboxing/geocaching hobbyists often mark their journals with the ink stamps discovered at each location, and in turn, imprint the site’s journal with their own ink stamp. 

If the rain stops, now is a good time to hunt for the Riverboxes along the Scioto River. To find the location of the four Riverboxes, click on the following links: Riverbox of the Sun located at Dublin Arts Center, Vigilant Vegetation Riverbox located at Dublin Kiwanis Riverway Park,  Hidden Treasure Riverbox located at Donegal Cliffs and Big Turtle Riverbox located at Scioto Park … and something to look forward to (big secret) three new ones are coming in late summer!  Good luck.

-Post by Kay