Castle & Cafe

In the wee morning hours over a light breakfast I was paging through the Ohio magazine when I noticed a cafe in Columbus that we've never sampled. Jacki and I had made plans to visit a castle in southwestern Ohio and if Columbus is about halfway there, shouldn't we stop off and try a pastry and coffee?

How delighted we were to find this charming pastry shop is right in German Village, an area of Columbus we wanted to tour anyway. Never mind me, tripping about in a rather exaggerated fashion. I'm hoping I don't actually walk with that much of a lift to my foot. Jacki consoled me with the assertion that I was backing up to get out of the photo she was taking. I think she is right...I hope she is right.

We opened the door and were greeted with this feast for the eyes. It's one of the best pastry displays I have ever seen. Exactly how am I to choose only one creation?  

The cute, helpful ladies behind the counter added to our sense of pleasure at this new discovery. And, as you can see, we did not come away with only one pastry apiece. There are four choices to share between us. Orange brioche (a lightly sweet bread), along with cafe au lait, honey lavender, and pistachio macarons, all pleasing to the palate. Wash it down with a latte and cafe au lait, and we are now quite fortified to continue our search for a castle.

Look at all those breads and cookies we have not been able to sample. It's the sweetest place and high on our list of "desire a return visit."

A little gift on the drive to the castle is the miles and miles of daisies by the roadside. Those are the kinds of simple joys that convince me that I have a heavenly Father planning for me with love and care and attention to detail like no earthly man ever could. 

In typical Schmucker fashion (I really am conforming to my husband) we arrived before the gates opened. But it proved to be a good plan, because we could snap our photos from a distance, which is the best vantage point for such a large structure.

We give you Loveland Castle...Chateau Laroche, a grand sort of edifice hidden among the hills of Loveland, Ohio, and situated along the banks of the Little Miami River.

Yes, I would like to live in one such great and imposing mansion, but my husband has other ideas and is known to call them damp and dark caves, these stone castles in which I find beauty.

This particular castle was a bit of a disappointment to Jacki and me. It was not well-maintained, had an air of neglect and disarray so far as landscaping, and was not exactly inviting when you actually walked up to it. Benches and flower pots were plopped haphazardly along the wall, warning signs were in abundance. "Keep Off" and "Don't Climb the Fence" and "Private Property" did nothing to make us feel welcome.

Our conclusion was that it's a great photography opportunity from a distance but we would not spend much time hanging about or taking a tour of the interior. Too hasty? Perhaps! But we both agreed and off we went, following a short tour of the gardens.

Why not return to German Village? There we had a lovely little stroll along the cobblestone streets and quaint old-world structures.

I wonder how long this sidewalk has been here. Though cute, it is a bit of a hazard. Somehow I don't mind. Why did I mind the shabbiness at the castle? I cannot always answer for it, but sometimes it is acceptable and other times it's just all wrong.

Many homes had these lovely flickering lamps that caught our attention from the start. 

Old-world cottages contrasted with modern skyscrapers off in the distance. I definitely prefer the warmth and character of the old.

Unless it looks like this...dead foliage inside the window of a deserted building is not attractive. Remove the rubbish, repair the window frame and give it a coat of paint, and wash the glass, then it would be a delight to the eye.

Pretty Lamps, elegant doors, cheery flowers, pleasing symmetry...these all add up harmoniously to create little thrills of pleasure and squeals of delight from my daughter and me.

If you find yourself with an unexpected free day and enjoy finding local treasures, take to the highways and byways of your state or county or village. You might be surprised what you will discover right in your own neighborhood. 

It gives me joy to find a castle right in our own state of Ohio. I do not have to go to foreign lands to stumble upon fun and exciting places. Amazingly enough, I have the added happiness of spending hours with Jacki. This is priceless for communication and life lessons learned along the way. 


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