Great memories made in Columbus with friends

This past weekend, Dave and I flew to Columbus, Ohio to visit our best friends, and only one of them knew we were coming. We had planned this surprise trip a couple months in advance, and it came up quickly, however it didn’t exactly go off without any hiccups. And quite honestly, I don’t have a ton of pictures of all of the happenings, because I was so darn busy enjoying them. However, I do have this …

Collage of crazy faces via A Lady Goes WestI’m pretty sure this particular collage is not in need of a caption. Not at all. 

Travel delays and changing stories on Friday 

Dave and I (and Rudy, of course) were supposed to leave the Bay Area mid-morning and arrive in Columbus just in time to get picked up at the airport and go to a fancy birthday dinner, as the surprise guests. Well, after not one, but four different delays, our flight ended up leaving about three hours late. Thus, dinner was scrapped. In fact, our whole surprise-arrival-web-of-lies began getting quite tangled, as one of the friends had to continue to update their story as our flight got later and later.

While this trip had a rocky beginning, it ended up being one fabulous three-night stay in the Midwest. Before we get to the weekend recap, here’s a little background …

Our friends Grant and Bre moved to Columbus, Ohio from Jacksonville, Florida more than a year ago, and this was our first time visiting their new home. Grant was the best man in our wedding, and Dave met Grant and Bre while playing with them in a traveling soccer league about seven years ago. Even though we’ve never lived in the same city as them, we’ve always been very close. Our visits have gotten much less frequent since we moved to California, but Grant and Bre were able to fly to San Francisco to surprise Dave in March of last year, which was perhaps one of the most fun few days we’ve ever had — they make extraordinary guests, who are up for anything. Needless to say, when it came time for Bre’s birthday this year, we knew we wanted to return the favor.

Getting to Columbus, Ohio to do the big surprise

After several delays and a long flight, Grant was able to pick us up at the airport around 10 p.m., and he took us to the restaurant, where he had been having dinner with Bre and another couple. As Bre left to visit the restroom, we went inside and sat at the table, and she was totally shocked when she arrived back and saw us sitting there. While at the table, we reviewed all of the lies that Grant had told Bre leading up to our arrival, which was pretty entertaining. She was relieved that all of the confusion and vague statements were designed to throw her off the scent of us coming to town …

That night we went back to their house, had some snacks and a bottle(s) of wine and stayed up way too late (which is when we took those framable photos above, as you may have guessed).

In the morning, we took our time waking up and got a chance to meet their adorable two-year old twins, as well as hang out with their four-year old son. Their three children are absolutely as cute as can be, and they were so good with Rudy, who they called “Wooooooooody” the whole visit. After a morning of playing around, we pulled ourselves together and headed out for a day of college football fun.

Picking up the tailgating supplies at Kroger

First stop was Kroger, which I was excited to visit because I had never been in before. We loaded up on tailgating supplies, like snacks, seasonal beer, sweets, etc. and headed off to the university. We set up a tailgating spot in a lot nearly two miles from the field, and even though it started out empty, it filled with cars by the time kick-off came around. We took our time eating tons of food, people-watching and catching up, until it was time to head into the game, which started at 3:30 p.m. (And as I know from my days in Gainesville as a student at the University of Florida, tailgating is way more fun than the game itself.)

Tailgating at the Ohio State game via A Lady Goes WestWho says you can’t eat sushi or ribs at a tailgate? We keep it classy no matter what time-zone or state we’re in. Pumpkin beer and grocery store food for the win.

We had a tent, so we were able to stay dry once the skies turned dark. And the rain started coming down pretty badly as we were heading in, so we got drenched (lucky for us, we had all packed rain jackets expecting the weather to take a turn). But the rain didn’t put a damper on our fun. Once inside the stadium, we split into two groups and then met back up to hang out in the new club level of The Ohio State University stadium, which is a nice area behind the seats where you can get food and drink in a bar setting. We had some treats and beverages and then watched a little bit more of the game from our seats. The one thing we didn’t do? See the marching band! Sadly, we were in the club area while they performed, and we came outside to catch the show just as they finished. I was pretty disappointed in that, because I hear the band is really entertaining. Maybe next time?

Ohio State game fun via A Lady Goes WestA bunch of Florida people taking in an Ohio State game. And those Buckeyes? So tasty!

After a couple of hours of cheering, we left the game early and headed back to our tailgate area to put a dent in the food and drinks. Once we had done our work, we packed up and went back to Grant and Bre’s house.

Saturday evening shenanigans at home

Once we got home, we played Jenga, told ridiculous jokes, ordered pizza and spent a few hours sitting at the dining room table laughing. In fact, it was one of those nights where my face hurt from laughing so much. Overall, it was a pretty hearty day of gluttony and fun, which was just what we all needed together. And after that full day of activity, we actually went to bed at a decent hour. In fact, I think we all got about nine hours of sleep that night, unlike the night before. 

Lazy Sunday morning and Columbus tour

On Sunday morning, we were all slow to rise, and we had breakfast at home while feeling rather lazy. Then we suited up and went on a little Columbus tour. We had lunch in downtown Columbus at Stack City, where I had a delicious salmon salad and a super tasty grapefruit beer. Then we walked to the North Market (a cool place that reminded me of the Ferry building in San Francisco) and circled the various local vendors and food counters. I purchased some fudge, and we picked up treats to take home for later.

Food and fun in downtown Columbus via A Lady Goes WestA mini-food tour of downtown Columbus was the perfect way to spend the day. Shown above is a group shot minus one baby, as well as a salad, a cake bomb and pumpkin fudge.

From there, we drove around German Village, as well as by Grant and Bre’s old neighborhood, and then we headed home to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. It was in those late afternoon hours that we all got really tired and sad that the weekend was winding down. Total Sunday blues, my friends. For dinner that night, we put together a platter of bites from Kroger on the kitchen table like shrimp cocktail, cheese dip and crackers, sushi and more, then we played with the kids and watched TV on the couch, all a little bit drowsy.

There was so much more we wanted to do and see in Columbus (well, mostly restaurants that we wanted to eat at, but quite frankly, there weren’t enough meals in the day!), and the time went by far too fast. But of course, we’re so glad that we made the trip and were not only able to see Grant and Bre’s new city, but also spent some serious quality time with their little ones. Good times. Goooooood times.

On Monday morning, or rather Sunday night, Dave and I popped up before 4 a.m. to pack up and get to the airport for our ridiculously early flight. It was fairly painless, and although we didn’t sleep much, we did have the row to ourself. Once we got back to the Bay Area, I dropped Dave at work, and went home to get back into real life. Needless to say, we were totally exhausted, but really happy with the many new memories made with our besties, Grant and Bre. They are the coolest. Until next time, Ohio! 

Questions of the day

What was the last sporting event that you went to?

Have you been on a weekend getaway recently?

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  1. Columbus is beautiful. My best friend who lived across the street moved there in college and it is always so fun to go visit her. It’s crazy how flat everything is, lol. I’m glad you had a good time, and were prepared for the rain! The last sporting event I went to was a baseball game with about 25 kids as their field trip. I wouldn’t recommend that one again πŸ˜‰

    1. Hi Heather … come to think of it, yes, everything was pretty flat. But I loved the brick buildings and wide open spaces around houses too! How neat you go to visit your friend there! πŸ™‚

  2. Last sporting event I went to was Wrigley Field Fourth of July with all of our friends! We basically tailgated that, but made nothing, lol. In my mind, the only way to experience a sporting event is with a group of your best buds!

  3. Ohio State has a great marching band! They’re all brass, so their sound is super loud, and their style is really unique. When I was in Penn State’s band, we traveled to Columbus for a few games and got to march with them. They’re a really talented group, but VERY cocky! I guess when you’re called the best d*** band in the land, you can get a little full of yourself!

    Can I just say that I love the fact that you had sushi at the tailgate?! You have to come to a Penn State tailgate next time and bring the food. That’s just amazing!

    1. Hi Gretchen! Oh … so now I am TOTALLY upset I missed the band after learning that they have a reputation ehhee. Perhaps Penn State should be my next tailgating trip! πŸ™‚ Good to know!

    1. Hi Stacie! Well I didn’t like it as much as Publix, but the sushi was good and so was the selection. Seemed nice and big too with WIDE aisles — much different from my usual grocery stores. πŸ™‚

  4. What a fun weekend! My best friend just moved to San Fran so I’m hoping to do the same in the near future! Last weekend trip was to Nantucket over the summer… I don’t have any travel plans coming up, but to be fair, I’m kinda okay with it πŸ™‚

  5. Fun!! I’d love one of those buckeyes! PB and chocolate are my absolute favorite combo ever. The last sporting event I went to was my niece’s high school volleyball game. She goes to the same high school my husband I attended (almost 20 years ago!) and it was fun to watch her. Last weekend getaway was in August when I last saw my hubby πŸ™ But, I am leaving (sans kids!) in 2 weeks (from today!) to go stay with him for a few days in D.C. before we head off to Japan. Looking forward to that!

    1. Ohhhh Melissa!! So glad you have a visit with the hubby coming up. It’s probably pretty hard to be away, but I guess it makes your time together all that much more sweet. Right?

  6. Looks like an awesome weekend! I love surprising people – reactions are priceless πŸ™‚ And college football tailgating is the best. I have never been to an OSU game but I know they take their football very seriously which means they take their tailgating seriously too! Happy Tuesday.

  7. Fun! We love visiting Columbus. It’s just under a 4 hour drive from us, so we’ve been a few times since living in Michigan! Ahhh, Kroger! It’s not a fabulous as Publix (being a Florida girl at heart, I know you understand)… but it’s pretty good stuff. It looks like you guys had a great time! I bet your friends were SO happy to see you. Have a great week Ashley!

    1. Yes, Kroger was good — NOT at all a Publix though. And the brick buildings of the university reminded me of UF actually! πŸ™‚ That’s cool you’re in driving distance too, Heather!

  8. That was a great time I bet. I have not had a weekend getaway in a while, however I have a trip planned in two weeks. So happy you had fun

  9. What a great weekend and so awesome that you guys were able to surprise your friends even with all the delays! I love weekends spent eating and laughing with friends, so good for the soul πŸ™‚

  10. Aww looks like so much fun!! I totally understand the sadness of living far from good friends but sometimes I feel like it’s ALMOST worth it for the amazing reunions haha πŸ™‚ Glad it ended on a wonderful note after what must have been a frustrating start.

    1. Hi Jacklyn, Yes, ever since moving to California from Florida three years ago, I know what it’s like to always be away from my close friends! πŸ™ The visits are fun though!

  11. Sounds like one epic weekend with your friends! Sorry to hear about your flight delay! That’s the worst! Thank goodness Dave was with you to keep you company!

  12. Everyone is going to Columbus it seems! It’s been too long since I have been there. I used to go all the time because I have family that lives in the city. I need to get back up there! I’ve been to an OSU football game and it was fun… but as you are from SEC country as well you KNOW we do it better down south! =) Oh and Buckeyes, as in the candy… sooooo good!

  13. AHHHHH no way!! just playing catch up now- I can’t believe we were literally 5 minutes away from one another- I’m down in German village. Although dang, I went to Cleveland that weekend haha! How good is Pitachiavera or however you spell it. Come back πŸ˜€

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