November 2009

I’ve never experienced the infamous “Black Friday.” Even though it seems fun, I haven’t had the overwhelming desire to wake up at 4 a.m. and fight for the best deals. I like to do my Christmas shopping at my own pace. I shuffle through stores to find a gift that’s truly unique. I shop online to get ideas. I even make my own gifts.

Big Al and Anne all decked out!

When I heard about the recent Belleek Signing Event at Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland here in Dublin, Ohio, I immediately knew I wanted to check it out. I had no idea what Belleek Pottery was, but the event was centered around Belleek Representative–Roy Troughton–who was available to personalize your gifts with a Gaelic saying. So after work I strolled down the brick sidewalk to our neighboring Irish import shop.

When I entered Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland I was greeted by Big Al, the store’s owner, suited up in a traditional Irish outfit (plaid kilt and everything). He offered me champagne, Irish potatoes, and gingerbread cookies. His wife Anne, explained to me the history of Belleek as I sipped my drink and enjoyed the satisfying snap of gingerbread.

Limited Edition Belleek Cachepot

“Belleek [Pottery] began in Belleek, Ireland in 1857,” said Anne. “It’s known throughout the world for its beautiful porcelain china and handcraftsmanship. Ha’penny began signing events over 10 years ago and is the largest Belleek dealer in Central Ohio.”

No two pieces are ever the same because each is crafted individually using techniques that have been passed down for generations.

After looking through the collections available at the store and receiving personal attention from one of their sales staff, I found three perfect gifts; a limited edition cachepot for my grandmother, a vase for my best friend and something special for myself. I couldn’t resist! Big Al and Anne helped me decide my Gaelic sayings and Roy scripted them beautifully on the bottom of each piece.

Signing the cachepot for my grandmother!

I left the store with my bag in hand and breathed in the cool air. I felt refreshed. The shopping experience I had at Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland could never compare to the mayhem I imagine “Black Friday” creates. I’m looking forward to continuing my Christmas shopping so that each gift will have a story behind it.

– post by Allison

Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland is open Monday -Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The shop is located at 75 South High Street in Historic Dublin.

It’s hard to believe that December is just on the other side of this coming weekend. Dublin’s work crews have been busy wrapping Historic Dublin Ohio in green garland, red bows and hanging those famous icy blue lighted snowflakes over the Scioto River bridge. (You really have to see them at night!) And Dublin’s “Sweet Street” (as High St. recently has become known–due to the many delicious candy, cupcake and cookie shops that have sprung up) is feeling more like Sugarplum Lane.

Next Thursday, December 3 is the City of Dublin’s annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at 62 West Bridge Street (east of Indian Run Elementary). The Dublin singers will kick off the festivities with carols at 6 p.m., followed by the arrival of Santa at 6:25 p.m.–when the jolly old elf will help the Mayor and members of City Council light the tree. Then the festivities will move to the Dublin Library (75 N. High St.) where Schade Photography will offer free photos with Santa, courtesy of the Historic Dublin Business Association (HDBA).  There will also be storytelling, refreshments and a chance to meet some reindeer.

The fun continues next Saturday (December 5) with a BriHi celebration in Historic Dublin. Trolley rides will be offered throughout the district. Local merchants will offer discounts to holiday shoppers. Visitors can take part in sampling and  judging a Chili cook-off for just $5. Gingerbread houses created by local high school students will be on display at Sister’s Sweet Shoppe, Our Cupcakery and La Chatelaine.  These charming fantasy creations will be available for sale via a silent auction, as part of a charity fundraiser.

Why not make the most of this family fun weekend by combining these free activities in Historic Dublin with a Kids Go Free Columbus Zoo Wildlights Getaway?  Book your package online in advance, stay at one of the eight participating Dublin hotels, experience Wildlights on Friday evening–then meander Historic Dublin on Saturday shopping, sipping peppermint hot chocolates and celebrating the season.

Ahhh, Thanksgiving.  Traditionally, it’s family gatherings, watching parades on TV, a touch football game in the front yard and too much food.  Perhaps Erma Bombeck summed it up best when she said, “What we’re really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets.  I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?”

The only bad thing about all that food (aside from the calories) is that someone has to cook it. And generally, that means Mom has an early morning date with a big bird. So, this year, why not go out? There are many restaurants in Dublin and Columbus offering options that range from a full, traditional Thanksgiving buffet with all the trimmings to limited menus of signature favorites.  Below is a list of some of the local restaurants that will be open for business on Thanksgiving. Call ahead for reservations, hours and pricing.  Mom will thank you for it!
(Note: All phone numbers are area code 614.)

Dublin, Ohio:

  • Marriott Columbus Northwest ( 5605 Blazer Pkwy.)   791-1000  Thanksgiving brunch buffet. Resevations required.
  • Kilpatrick’s Restaurant – Embassy Suites Columbus/Dublin (5100 Upper Metro Pl.)  790-9000   Thanksgiving à la carte special
  • Ted’s Montana Grill (6195 Sawmill Rd.)  760-7753
  • Golden Corral Buffet & Grill (3710 W. Dublin Granville Rd.) 799-9579
  • Boston Market (5151 Tuttle Crossing Blvd. & 6515 Sawmill Rd.) 766-5885; 798-1166

Worthington area:

  • The Worthington Inn (649 High St. Worthington) 885-2600
  • J. Gilbert’s  (One E. Campus View Blvd.) 840-9090
  • Buca di Beppo (60 East Wilson Bridge Rd.) 848-8466

Columbus area:

  • McCormick & Schmick’s (3965 New Bond St. Easton Town Center) 476-3663
  • 94th Aero Squadron (5030 Sawyer Rd.)  237-8887
  • Salvi’s Bistro (1323 St. James Lutheran Lane)  870-8788

I always struggle with what to get my nephews and niece for Christmas. Like most kids I know—they definitely do NOT need any more toys, games, etc. Columbus Zoo Wildlights(Of course, they’ll never admit that.) They have many adult relatives (with more money than I have) that cover their wish lists.  Still, I strive to be THE coolest aunt. (The women in my family are extremely competitive in this way.)

So, I decided last year to give them experiences. Basically, it goes like this: I ask each of them to come up with a list of (a) cool places in Ohio that they’d like to visit (b) fun things they like to do (i.e. ice skating, amusement parks, etc.) and (c) where they like to eat. Then we go through the list together, come up with a compromise and go! Some things get eliminated from the list if they are too expensive (my option). Some things get eliminated if they aren’t a good fit for everyone—(i.e. my nephews would never go for a day of mani/pedis and shopping … much to the chagrin of my niece and I).

This year, I think I’ve found a crowd pleaser that will make everyone happy. Actually, I found it without leaving my desk at work. It’s close-to-home. It’s inexpensive, all packaged up and ready to go. (And it helped that—as part of my job—I helped to create this fun getaway for visitors.) The official name for the package is Kids Go Free-Columbus Zoo Wildlights Getaway. The official details of the package are: (a) It can be booked online Nov. 20-Dec. 31 (b) It includes an overnight stay at a choice of Dublin (OH) hotels (c) It includes free kids passes to Wildlights at The Columbus Zoo (d) It includes a free kids meal at Bob Evans and a free junior scoop for kids from Graeter’s Ice Cream.

The unofficial reasons why I would book one of these packages? (a) The cost of the packages with hotel and Zoo tickets starts at $79 for a family of four. (Yes, you read that right.) That’s less than I would’ve spent on their combined Christmas gifts. (b) Staying at a hotel is WAY more fun than just driving to the Zoo, going out for dinner and ice cream and driving home (i.e. SLUMBER PARTY!, swimming etc.) (c) Contrary to popular belief, Dublin CVB staffers don’t get stuff for free.  But my biggest motivation is completely selfish. After I last planned one of these experiences, my 6-year-old niece gave me a hand-written thank you note that said, “Ant Mimi … you are the bast Aunt EVAR!!!!!!!!”  This year, I’m gonna top that.

-Post by Mary


Organic Cupcakes: Pumpkin Spice, Buckeye

Yesterday, I took advantage of the last few nice days of fall and wandered down the streets of Historic Dublin, window shopping leisurely.  I peeked into the window of Sugar Inc., a little shop that offers 100% organic cupcakes (along with tea, coffee, salads, smoothies, and more).

The devil on my shoulder told me to go in.  His flip said “No! You need to lose a few pounds before the holidays… stay out!” I was debating the two sides in my head when I spied them – little mini cupcakes, just the right size for me and looking delicious. In I went. 


Teas: Cranberry, Pomegranate

There was key lime, pumpkin spice, chocolate (with two kinds of icing!) and buckeyes.  So much to choose from! There are even Thanksgiving-themed turkey cupcakes (they look like turkeys, they don’t taste like turkeys). I asked Ava, the owner of Sugar Inc., and she suggested pumpkin spice. 
As I walked back to the office, eating my pumpkin spice cupcake, I thought to myself, “Irish is an Attitude, but a little bit of Irish in my tummy is yummy.”

– post by Andi

Sugar Inc. is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sundays for private parties. The shop is located at 36 N. High St. in Historic Dublin.

DSC_0446A few weeks ago, I heard we had a new neighbor in Historic Dublin. Intrigued, I packed my camera bag and went to photograph the wares. When I walked into Thalia & Dahlia, I met Christopher Krupa, one of the owners. Krupa and co-owner Michael Smith, both of whom previously worked at Curio Cabinet in Worthington, opened Thalia & Dahlia in September. We discussed the philosophy behind the gift shop, and he expressed his nostalgia for the way shopping “used to be,” relaying to me stories about a time when shopping meant more than rushing around the mall, visiting a collection of national chains where “unique” means “exactly like a million others.”

Krupa was quoted in the Dublin Villager as saying, “Shopping used to be an experience. People used to get dressed up and go shopping. We want you to be excited about shopping again. We want it to be a wonderful experience.”

DSC_0535 A wonderful experience is exactly what the boutique provides. Located in a charming building on High Street — you know, one of those old houses with character to spare — Thalia & Dahlia offers a true variety of quality, unique items, from wreaths and flower arrangements (both hand-crafted by Krupa) to linens and tableware. I loved the various picture frames (one pictured above) and gorgeous china (example pictured here filled with lemons).

My favorite thing about Thalia & Dahlia is that their inventory is always changing, with an emphasis on seasonal items. Halloween items were featured in October and Thanksgiving will be featured this month.  I was delighted to hear that Thalia & Dahlia will not be putting out Christmas inventory until just before Thanksgiving. With most businesses jumping headfirst from Halloween into Christmas, by the middle of December I’m ready to kick the next Santa I see. No offense to Mr. Claus, it’s just too much! To my relief, Krupa told me that Thalia & Dahlia will debut their Christmas decor at an open house set to be held the weekend before Thanksgiving. Each room of the store will have a different theme. I’m already excited.

DSC_0548But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! In the meantime, you can attend their Thanksgiving Open House this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to see the lovely items available this month, as well as enter a drawing to win table linens. The boutique is located at 113 S. High St. For more information, call them at 614/336-8582.

If you can’t make it in this Saturday, put on your finest and stop by Thalia & Dahlia during regular hours: Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Happy shopping!

To see the rest of my photos of Thalia & Dahlia, click here.

– Post by Kelly