Blacklick Woods Metro Park
6975 East Livingston Avenue
Reynoldsburg, OH 430698
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
I arrived around 9:00 am. The official time of the hike is 10:00 am. I was able to park in the lot closest to the start of the walk. My advice? If you don’t want to walk a long way to the start of the walk and where the soup is located at the end, arrive early.
My last name is a palindrome. The spelling is the same way forwards and backwards. I have been with Metro Parks since 2011. Blacklick Woods opened in 1948. We have been here for 70 years and we also host the first winter hike. The winter hike is one of our longest standing traditions.
Tell me a little bit about the winter hike
The winter hike offers people the opportunity to walk 2 or 4 miles in the sleet, snow, hail, or sun. It is a healthy way to encourage people to be active in the winter. It is usually a busy hike. We can get upwards of 1,500 people in the park. The last few years it has been about 5 degrees. Today it is headed into the 40s. We serve free soup at the end of the hike. Today’s menu features vegetable minestrone.
This is my second year participating. Last year I made my son participate to get exercise in the winter. After the first hike he enjoyed it. He earned the patch and walking stick last year. He is ready to do more. We have completed some walks in the summer.
How do you earn a patch and a walking stick?
We completed all 13 walks on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays. The walks vary from 1, 2, 4, 5 or 6 miles. Then you earn your walking stick the first year. Instead of a walking stick you can get a medallion. Since we already have the walking stick this year, we plan to earn our medallion to add onto our walking stick.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the walk:
This is our 13 hikes of giving project. This project is in partnership with our winter hikes. We collect food and monetary donations (credit card only) for Mid-Ohio Food bank. You get a mug for a $5 donation or 4 non-perishable items (food, personal hygiene, etc.). The list of most needed non-perishable items are tuna, canned meat, canned vegetables, soup with vegetables, peanut butter, canned fruit, and chili with beans.
Come out to the winter hikes. There are still 12 left. They are a great way to get out of the house. We hope to see you at the Metro Parks.
This is a great concept! The volunteers are friendly. The bridges were a little slippery. I wore hiking boots and still had to be careful to avoid falling. I would feel safe walking alone the full 4 miles because there are plenty of people walking. It is a good opportunity to get out the house, snap a few pictures, and meet new people.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
1777 E. Broad St.,
Columbus, OH 43203
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
I noticed the lights at Franklin Park one afternoon and decided to stop. I parked my car and noticed that the lights were behind what appeared to be a six-foot black iron fence. I remember when there were no restricted areas outside the park and the entire park was free to the public. A person at the front desk informed to me that the area inside of the fence (The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden) is now part of the Franklin Park Conservatory admission.
General admission Ages 13-59 $18
Senior Ages 60+ $15
Children Ages 3-12 $11
Members and Children 2 and under Free
After a long discussion, she told me that admission is free to Franklin park residents the first Sunday of the month if they show picture id and select Columbus libraries (Driving Park, and Shepard) have free passes that can be checked out on a first come basis. The library pass admits up to 2 adults, and 6 children.
Sidebar: My friend along with other photography groups have a membership to Franklin Park Conservatory and they enjoy taking pictures of the beautiful flowers, butterflies, etc.
I decided to walk the entire Conservatory to see why people become members. In general, I would not consider myself a nature lover, or a nature photographer. However, the sites were so picturesque I did enjoy the scenery. Here are a few of my favorite pics from the conservatory.
I admired Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures.
The Conservatory Aglow highlights horticulture displays and other outdoor displays with lights in holiday colors. Here are my favorite pictures of Conservatory Aglow:
Sidebar: While walking around, I heard many comments that this light display and layout is much better than the one at the Columbus Zoo. I like the different colors of the lights that can be viewed without a lot of walking, from different elevations, and different angles.
My take: The Franklin Park Conservatory offers unique and picturesque backgrounds for environmental photography. In my opinion, I think the Conservatory Aglow should be free and open to all every day, and not just on the free Sunday or on a library pass. That way, everyone could take advantage of what it has to offer.
3060 W Broad
Gallery Hours: Friday 12-5, Saturday 10 – 5, Sunday 12-5
FB: 3060ARTWORKS , 3060ARTWORKS@gmail.com
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
Tell me about the Hilltop Art Hop
We have a new fine art gallery that opened at the end of February. On the first Saturday of each month, we have a featured artist reception with a variety of artists that participate. Currently, we have seven (7) resident artists and two (2) featured artists. The resident artists get a key to the gallery. The gallery is a place to show and sell our art. We share in the cost of the gallery and we don’t pay a commission when we sell our art. We have room for about three (3) more resident artists and for several multimedia like painting, etc. We are looking for people who can give their time once or twice a month to run the gallery, show up for the events, and for artists whose work is different than the rest of the work in the gallery. We would love to have a few 3D artists (clary and/or ceramics). We like to have a cross section of artists.
If I come when the gallery is open, will I run into the artist?
It’s possible that you will run into a resident artist. You could also run into the photographer, the water color artist, the stain glass artist. “You have already.”
If I come and I want to make a purchase and the artist isn’t here, can I make a purchase?
You can purchase on the spot. We do the square thing. You can buy from any artist at any time that we are open. If you have our card and say,” hey I would like to come in and see this,” one of us will probably meet you here. There is never any pressure to buy.
Talking about Carol Wallenfelsz’s art:
What is the process for painting on the dominos?
It is totally uncontrolled. She sits there and does her painting and her stuff. She looks at it when it is done moving and grooving all over the place. If she doesn’t like it. She says, “let’s burn that___ (cuss word that means female dog -and the direct quote used was the actual curse word).
So, she destroys it?
No, she sets it on fire.
I really like the concept of painting on the dominos. I was on the fence as to whether I should purchase. In looking at my pictures, I probably need to go back and make a purchase. I like to support local. I like the concept of turning everyday objects that I use (my dad and I play dominos from time to time) into works of art.
I’m a professional photographer. I focus on landscape, nature and fine art. In a lot of my work, I choose black and white. I like the way it portrays a lot of the textures. I like the feeling of the image. Being here at 3060 Artworks is a great way to give back to the community, and help the surrounding hilltop area.
You also do something else. What is it?
I have been teaching at Columbus State in their photography program since 2011. I teach Close up in Macro, Photoshop for Photographers, and Intro to Digital Photography.
Yes, here at 3060 Artworks, we are doing an event called, “Hilltop Hit the Hop” the first Saturday of every month. We are coordinating with Third Way Café and Clay Street Ceramics. Our whole block is “Westgate Business Works.” We are trying to bring small business back to the hilltop area and the Westgate neighborhood.
Are the other businesses open during the gallery hop?
Yes. Third Way Café has an acoustic Saturday night to blend in with our art hop. We will have musical artists in addition to the visual arts. Clay Street Ceramics offers painting ceramics. If your kids want to go there and paint something, it is really family friendly. We are trying to reach out to the community and bring them in.
Are you telling me that people can drop their children off at Clay Street Ceramics, then walk to 3060 Artworks and/or the Third Way Café and have an adult evening?
I think they can work that out.
This is my last month as a resident artist but I plan to support the gallery and stay involved. I’m a self-taught, water color artist. I love being a part of this gallery. It takes a lot of work and heart. It’s good to see something this beautiful in a place that needs beauty.
Why water color and why florals?
Water color started out as being practical. When my marriage was failing, I was home a lot. I needed to find something creative to do that didn’t get in the way. One of the things that sets water color apart is, it doesn’t have an odor. When the paint dries, it is reusable. Water color has the ability to blend and be unpredictable in the way that the colors fade together, that other paint mediums don’t have. I love the spontaneity and that there is always an element of it that you can’t control. I like being surprised by what comes out by what I played around with.
Two of the markers for my work are; I tend to be up close. For example, all you can see are the rose pedals. It’s like you have your face right up in a bouquet. It’s because I’m not good at painting backgrounds; but, that led to a certain style that works for me. Florals are more forgiving opposed to straight lines. If you have to add a few more pedals, its organic. With straight lines, you must be more disciplined, and you can’t get away with as much. Also, when it comes to plants in real life, I tend to kill them. I don’t have a green thumb. When I paint flowers, they are flowers that won’t die on me.
I got involved in the Columbus art scene two (2) or three (3) years ago. It has been wonderful watching it grow. It is vibrant. People are surprised that so much goes on in Columbus. So many opportunities, so many venues, so many talented artists. It’s in a way that you wouldn’t think a Midwest city would have. It’s been a great place to learn, grow and be a part of.
I am a software developer who discovered photography about ten (10) years ago. It got me out of the cube and from in front of the computer to out into nature. I actively avoided nature for about 20 years, partly because I grew up on a farm. I rediscovered it and fell in love with it. A few years ago, I met Vince Noble. I had a lot of technical skills at that point and he pointed me in the right direction on vision. I discovered that I really like landscapes and black and white. I like finding the ordinary and making it beautiful. I like having people see that Ohio is not a fly over state and even how beautiful our metro parks are in Columbus and how beautiful our state parks are in Ohio. I have had several people look at my photos from Lake Erie and think they are from the east coast. They assume Ohio doesn’t have anything that beautiful; but, we do. My motto is “exploring the beauty of central Ohio and beyond” that means our sister states. I have also been to the Smokey Mountains and South Dakota. I like to show people the essence of nature to make them feel like they are standing right at the spot where I took the photo.
Come out and support 3060 Artworks next month. They will have another art hop the first Saturday of the month. Find a way to support local art in Columbus.
The Third Way Café is a coffee shop that my dad and I started back in December. It’s a place where people can come together, drink coffee, have a good time, and discuss the common good.
What makes this a special place?
We have amazing coffee. We are partnered with Coffee Crafters. They do great work in the prison system training people to become baristas (a person who is trained to make coffee specialty drinks). Our goal is to hire those people who are coming out of prison to get them back into the workforce and contributing to society. We sell a lot of books. We are going to start donating books to the library and local school. We put on events for the community and we have a lot of sweet art. It’s just the place to be. When you come here, you’re going to be part of something great. You’re going to be part of the future of social enterprise and the future of how businesses should operate: caring about the community, caring about people, making a change, caring about the environment, and pursuing the common good.
We are a paint your own pottery studio. You come in and choose a piece off our shelves. We have lots and lots of things to choose from. We have a color chart. We have stamps, stencils, and we have idea books. We will help you as much as you need. You paint it. You leave it. We fire it. Then, you come back and pick up your masterpiece in about seven (7) days.
In general, about what is the price range?
Our pieces start at about $6 and can go up to about $45. The kid’s pieces are about $6 to $10. Our studio fee is $4 for kids, $6 for adults, and $5 for seniors. Occasionally, we have some good specials.
What do you consider a kid and what do you consider a senior? I think I’m a child at heart.
For kids up to about 16 or so. About 55 for a senior.
We do have an artisan market. It’s small, but packed full of great items. We have handmade soaps, glass fussed jewelry, small little adorable critter boxes, croquette dish towels, rustic wood signs, all kinds of goodies. It’s worth the trip over to check it out.
We offer glass fusing, wood board, and canvas acrylic painting classes.
Come in, and have fun. Relax and meet new people. Socialize and get off those phones.
There are lots of good things happening at Clay Street Ceramics.
This is the third art car that I have done over the course of 20 years. This is my only car.
How long did it take you to work on this piece of art?
I have been working on it slowly for about seven (7) years. I am always adding to it. I have strips that are tributes to other art cars. The legs are a tribute to the synchronized swimming team at Ohio State. They are a power house. They have won thirty-one (31) national championships. Everyone should drive an art car. It’s wonderful. You never experience road rage.
I was gifted a peacock and roses on my hood the afternoon of the Hot Times Festival last year by International Pakistani Chalk artist (Haider Ali (@haiderali) when I hosted him. It took him about 2 hours. I recently brought him back to town with the help of Greg Phelps and pilgrim Heidi Kambitsch of Open-Heart Creators to paint a bus for the Clintonville Community Resource Center in Pakistani Art. The bus is used for their senior services for grocery shopping and social outing trips. At that time, he painted the rest of my car (the fans and the wheel wells). The door panels are so detailed that many times people think they are decals. I am decorating the inside. The car is named after my great great grandfather, Percival. I think more people should embrace art and make our cars more fun to look at while we are driving around town.
I don’t know much about art. I enjoyed attending this event! The people are friendly and passionate about what they do. This is the opposite of much of what we see about the hilltop on the news. This would be a great suggestion for a date or to hang out with friends.
Address: 400 W Whittier St, Columbus, OH 43215
Hours: 6:30am to 10pm April through September
6:30am to 8pm October through March
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
A friend suggested I check out the field day that their church singles group scheduled at Scioto Audubon Metro Park. I showed up prepared to take pictures of what I considered field day type activities (three-legged race, tug of war, sack races, etc.). Of all the activities, the obstacle course left a lasting memory. The course consists of nine obstacles: tire run and flip, tunnel crawl, cargo climb, balance beam, belly crawl, monkey bars, over under log jumps (the intent is to jump over one log that is a few feet tall then go under the next log and so on), wall climb, and log run. I observed many people taking advantage of the course: children, teens, those who appeared to be concentrating on strength training, mature people, families, etc. Some choose to concentrate on one obstacle, others attempt to complete the entire course. Since nobody is punching a clock and it is first come first serve, the amount of time an individual wants to spend at the obstacle course varies.
1. Tire Run and Flip
Sidebar: I have gone to the park at least 5 times to take pictures of those using the obstacle course. This is the obstacle that most people attempt. This is also the obstacle that most men attempt to flex their muscles. There are a few concrete balls that are extremely heavy. I viewed several young men who could barely lift them. I also viewed two older men attempt to lift the concrete balls, who I was thankful when they stopped attempting to lift them. I was one minute from dialing 911 for them.
2. Tunnel Crawl
3. Cargo Climb
4. Balance Beam
Sidebar: Of the 15 people I saw attempt the balance beam, only 3 were successful. When I asked why most people are not successful, the reason given was the lack of tread on their shoes. A person who was able to run across the balance beam told me the trick is to lean forward and be deliberate on each step. Here’s my mature lady advice: skip this one; especially, if you don’t have good health insurance.
5. Belly Crawl
Sidebar: I only saw two people and one young child (who appeared to be about 4) attempt the belly crawl. It looks like this obstacle would cause a person to use muscles they ordinarily wouldn’t use. My mature self would probably skip this one as I don’t like the feel of dirt or dust on my skin. The field group used it as a hop scotch obstacle instead of a belly crawl.
6. Monkey Bars
7. Over Under
8. Wall climb
9. Log Run
Sidebar: In my opinion, this is another obstacle to skip if you don’t have good health insurance, and you are competitive. It looks like this obstacle can go bad quick. One miss step and there goes an ankle or worse.
It is wonderful that the obstacle course is free to all who want to use it. It makes me wish for younger days when I would have attempted most of the obstacles. My suggestion is to go see it for yourself and even try it. This is an activity for the young and the young at heart.