COLUMBUS, OHIO—The farm-to-table movement made people aware of who produced what’s on their plates. How about meeting the sheep that “grew” your clothes?
Columbus designer and fabric artist Celeste Malvar-Stewart uses that concept for a full-day farm-to-fashion experience that lets you hang with the flock, then use their wool to make a one-of-a-kind scarf.
You’ll meet Lincoln sheep, including Gandalf and Penelope, at Fairie Haven Farm in Orient, about 20 minutes away from the renovated Victorian house in the historic German Village area where Malvar-Stewart has her small salon, Hangar 391.
The farm visit includes a picnic lunch made from locally sourced items.
You’ll have fun with Malvar-Stewart, a warm and boundlessly creative woman who delights in talking about her work, sharing stories about her inspirations and helping you play designer for a day.
We got a quick version of experience, making own scarves from fluffy piles of wool, getting to know which animal was behind the snowy curls or cinnamon strands from their photos and bios.
Malvar-Stewart helped us choose colours and make patterns, inspiring creativity by showing us her designs. We learned how to tease the wool into strands, placing them on a silk fabric base that would eventually be felted by one of her staff the buttery-soft finished scarf.
The beautifully preserved German Village neighbourhood where Malvar-Stewart works is an area well worth checking out (think the Distillery District or Washington’s Georgetown) and one of many discoverings that makes Columbus is a great choice for a weekend getaway.
There’s a variety of restaurants, a lively brewing scene and a real passion for great coffee. Our brunch at cozy Fox In the Snow bakery and cafe was superb, as was the dinner downtown at family run restaurant and craft brewery, Wolf’s Ridge Brewing.
North Market is a farmers’ market and foodie paradise, including Momo Ghar’s addictive Himalayan dumplings that we slurped at the counter (I still dream about the incredible momo sauce). Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is all natural and creamy-good. The Matterhorn (wildflower honey ice cream, white chocolate flakes and smoked almonds) and goat cheese with tart cherries topped my list.
As for the arts, the compact modern art gallery, The Pizzuti Collection, was a surprising find and a can’t-miss.
An unexpected delight was where I stayed, the glamorous, circa-1927 Hotel LeVeque. The constellation-themed art deco gem is part of the Autograph Collection group. From the gorgeous decor and stunningly colourful refurnished 1920s murals, to the locally-made soaps and bath amenities, I never wanted to leave.
The LeVeque Tower is a well-loved landmark in Columbus that has a unique place in American history. The rooftop beacon was used as a night-flight guide by Amelia Earhart.
I was hosted by Experience Columbus, which did not review this post.
When you go
Get there: Air Canada and United Airlines have non-stop flights to Columbus. WestJet, American Airlines and Delta also have one-stop flights. It’s about a seven hour drive (687 km) from Toronto.
Farm to Fashion Experience: Hangar 391, 391 East Livingston Ave., (614)-370-1127. Email: email@example.com. Tours are by appointment. Price: $325.
Where to stay: The Hotel LeVeque, 50 West Broad St., Columbus.
Do your research: experiencecolumbus.com