Things We Love: Picks from Jessica Mathews

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

Jessica Mathews is best known to Alive readers as a tireless bicycle/pedestrian advocate and "obsessive street behavior observer" through her affiliations with groups like Open Streets Columbus and Consider Biking and as a Transit Columbus board member. Here are a few of her favorite things.

Scioto Audubon Metro Park

I think it's the unkept crown jewel in this area. I just love watching it grow. One of my running routes is down there along the trail, so I love taking it seasonally. I like taking the Olentangy trail down there and taking it through seasons, and just watching that area grow. [But] I don't want it too crowded down there.


I am a fan of the O'Reilly's Pepper Burger. Barley's Smokehouse has a great cheeseburger. Johnnie's off of Trabue has a great cheeseburger. Club 185 does two cheeseburgers for the price of one. Those are surprisingly good.

The World Naked Bike Ride

It's one of the most positive, loving, body-image, non-threatening community events I've ever been a part of. It's amazing to see all of those people come together and absolutely no conflict. Just the identifying positive energy of yourselves. And, of course, the riding bikes thing. Obviously. I love that ride so much.


I ADORE scarves. I have around 25, and I'll continue to accumulate. Fat ones, skinny ones, winter scarves, light-summery scarves, I'm a fan. Someone once told me that people who wear scarves are guarded because of the wrapping of the neck. Initially, I did the old "eye roll" but then ... after thinking about it, I can totally dig it. I am quite guarded.

Dinner parties

I love throwing them and attending them. There's something beautifully intimate about creating food and an environment, and opening your home to friends. I love the various conversations that are had around a table. Anything from sex and relationships to books to cities everyone has recently visited; nothing is off the table. There's an honesty that happens when an environment like that is created. You don't exactly get that at a bar.

The Book Loft

I just like getting lost in there with no agenda. That's always a good place to get lost. You always come out with books you don't fuckin' need. That's great.


Swingsets are cool, but [I love] porch swings. My current place is too small, but my mom has one, and when I'm done working in her yard every weekend, that is where I am. One time, I got to her house and I went up to the porch, and she had two bright orange bungee cords X-ing off the swing with a note that said, "Not until the work's done." I love porches in general. People don't use their porches enough.


I love the ritual of sipping on bourbon. I don't drink a whole lot, so it's a good controlling beverage for me. I love the way it tastes. I like the first sip. I love how it burns a little bit. I think it's sexy how it smells.