Inside the Short North Tour of Homes and Gardens

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Over the course of its four-decade history, the Short North Tour of Homes and Gardens has showcased some 400 homes. This year, the annual event (Sept. 19 and 20) will allow the public a glimpse into many distinctive living spaces, including the well-known Freshwater House on Goodale Park, featuring impressive architecture alongside an equally impressive gargoyle statue.

The tour showcases properties in Victorian Village, Italian Village and Harrison West, and each neighborhood has its own personality and design aesthetic. In addition to the Freshwater House, other notable stops this year include two newly built homes, an artist's home with 100 pieces of original art, a vertical wall garden, a home with an in-ground swimming pool and a home whose dining room features a mural of the Short North arches.

Columbus resident and tour organizer Pat Lewis has been involved from the beginning. "The first tour was not only to show off the beautifully restored homes, but also so outsiders could see the [neighborhood's] potential and buy and restore homes in the area," she says.

Visitors travel from across Ohio (and from other states) to enjoy the architecture, decor and gardens, as well as find inspiration they can apply in their own spaces. So many people attend the tour that it takes roughly 200 volunteers per year to produce and operate.

On Saturday, there is a preview tour from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $100 and can be used again on Sunday. Following the preview, ticket holders can attend a party at the Pizzuti Collection.

On Sunday, the tour will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 if purchased in advance. On the day of the tour, you can purchase tickets for $20 at the Thurber Village Shopping Center ticket booth. "It is a pleasant walking tour, but we also have trolleys circling the tour route all day Sunday for those who prefer to ride," Lewis says.

Participating homeowners receive perks, too. They enjoy two parties, a homeowner's brunch, a gift basket of goodies donated by Short North businesses and restaurants, and free entry for the homeowners and the tour guides to the other homes on the tour.

"The tour worked out as we envisioned 40 years ago," Lewis says. "Today, most of the homes in the neighborhood have been restored, which encouraged many businesses, restaurants, shops and art galleries along High Street."

Short North Tour of Homes

4 to 7 p.m. (preview tour) Saturday, Sept. 19; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20