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Columbus, OH, Schmidt’s, and Serendipity

Sunday 9/9/2012

Alton RV Park

Galloway (Alton), OH

Friday morning, 9/7, started out with us knowing that it was going to be a travel day, but we didn’t know for sure where we were traveling to.  We had a couple of destinations in mind but needed to make a decision on how far we wanted to drive and then make a phone call to check availability.  We decided on a longer travel day of about 200 miles and about 3.5 hours.  I called Spring Valley Campground in Cambridge, OH, and got their answering machine at 9:03AM.  I tried four more times with the last try at 10:20AM.  I never left a message because we needed to make a decision before starting out, and I’ve left messages before with other campgrounds with no return call.  So out of frustration and the urgency of getting on the road some time soon, we decided to try calling Alton RV Park instead.  My call was answered on the first try by Sue.  She was very friendly and very thorough with her questions and information.  She wanted to know the size of our rig, how many slides and their size, number of vehicles, how many people, why we were staying, if we wanted to sit outside, and if we were going to have any company while there.  Normally, some of these questions would be somewhat offensive, but I had done my research and understood why she was asking all these questions.  This big rig friendly RV park is very small with only 35 sites, and she wanted as much information as possible in order to put us in a suitable site.  The following was taken off their website:
“Sue Randall's parents, Warren and Lucille Douce, started renting space in their side yard to RV'ers in 1965.  Their historic 1850's house currently serves as the park office and home of Sue and Jim Randall.  The park is located on one of the oldest roads in the country—the National Road, U.S. Route 40.  This clean, friendly, 3 acre park can accommodate 35 camping units on  level gravel sites with full hook-ups.”
This park is very tight, and if you look at the satellite shot of it on google maps you’ll see what I mean.  I was a bit concerned about the size of the park and my ability to navigate around it.  However, my concerns disappeared after we arrived.  It’s amazing how so many units can fit into such a small area, but it works!  We were greeted by Sharon, the camp host, and she got us all registered and directed into our site.  This little RV park is located just a few miles west of Columbus, OH.  The address is Galloway but it’s really in Alton.  They have full hookups (50 and 30 Amp, water, and sewer) and excellent WIFI.  They do NOT have cable, but with their proximity to Columbus I could get all the major networks, even with the antenna down.  There’s also a clear view for satellite reception. Smile  They’re a bit pricey at $36 per night, but the TV reception and WIFI made up for it.  They offer a dollar per night discount if you pay in cash.  They’re located on U.S. 40, and there is some traffic noise.  We’ll stay there again if we’re in the area.  Reservations are highly recommended!
This is their sign by the road.
Views of the park and our rig from near the sign.
Here’s a shot of the old house/park office.
Another look at our rig and the highway from our door.
Friday night the park was almost, if not completely, full!  Saturday night there were a few empty spots.  We decided to stay two nights since the TV reception was excellent and I wanted to watch the NASCAR races from Richmond both Friday and Saturday nights.
When we were checking in on Friday, Sharon, the camp host, told us about a restaurant in Columbus that we actually already knew of but had forgotten about.  In fact, it’s on my “go to” list.  Serendipity!  Since we were so close, we decided to go to Schmidt’s Sausage Haus and Restaurant Saturday afternoon!
This place was featured on Travel Channel’s show Man vs. Food.  Schmidt’s has been in business since 1886.  They produce their own sausages including bratwurst, knockwurst, their own spicy creation called the Bahama Mama, and a slightly milder version of the Bahama Mama.  They offer the German Autobahn Buffet which includes all four types of sausages, sausage stew, German Potato Salad, red cabbage, sauerkraut, baked chicken, and a nice salad bar.
  I opted for the buffet.  This is my first helping.
I didn’t fill my plate very full as I was “sampling” different things to see what I liked.  Of course, there were a few return trips.  Open-mouthed smile  I focused mainly on the sausages, all of which were delicious.  Terri chose the Weiner Schnitzel und Gravy with green beans und spatzel and redskin smashed potatoes.
Of course Terri couldn’t finish her Weiner Schnitzel, so I helped her out with it.  Winking smile  We both really liked our food and will go back if we’re ever in the area again.  This is a view out the window from our table of the brick street.
The restaurant is located in a residential area called “German Village,” and most of the streets and buildings are made out of brick.  The entrance door is located just to the right.  It was interesting watching all the people come and go.  We arrived about 3:30PM, and it was busy, but not so much that we had to wait for a table.
Soon after we were seated, however, the crowds really picked up, and many of the customers were wearing red Ohio State shirts.  It became so busy that they were taking names for the waiting list.  Terri commented to our waitress that there were sure a lot of red shirts in there.  The waitress said that the Ohio State Buckeyes football game had just ended, and quite a few people were coming in from the game.  We did see one “stray” wearing a yellow West Virginia shirt. Surprised smile  We both wondered if Ohio State had played against West Virginia, but we later heard that they actually played the UCF Knights and won.

After our late lunch we were too full for desert, so we got one of the highly recommended Jumbo Cream Puffs to go.  These things are HUGE!!!  Later Saturday night, we cut it in half and enjoyed our treat.
If you’re ever in the Columbus area and you like German food, Schmidt’s is the place to go!!! Smile
We experienced serendipity not once but twice at Alton RV Park.  Because we were unable to get in touch with our first campground choice on Friday, we decided to go to Alton RV Park instead.  This resulted in the nice surprise, as mentioned above, of dining at Schmidt’s.  Also, I was determined to get to our destination of Richmond, VA, by NOT taking the WV Turnpike.  I was planning on heading east to Hagerstown, MD, and then head southeast to Richmond.  However, I’ve been unable to find a place to stay Sunday night along that route.  So we’ve decided to “bite the bullet” and head south to Charleston, WV, and the dreaded WV Turnpike.  The serendipitous part is that if we would have gone to our first campground choice on Friday, we would have another 80 miles and about an hour extra drive time.  Needless to say, we’ve been very happy with our choice of Alton RV Park.
Today, Sunday the 9th, is another travel day.  We’ll be headed to West Virginia for the night.
Smile Open-mouthed smile Smile Open-mouthed smile Smile


  1. Oh my! Don't you just love Serendipity moments. Perfect little park, and that restaurant looks divine!

  2. Oh my! I might just have to start following you around from restaurant to restaurant! Yum!

  3. Oh boy, the dreaded WV Turnpike! Every time I drive it, my fillings get loose.

    You seem to be coming down with PDD, your travel day of 200 miles is the first indication of the affliction. ;c)

    That Jumbo Cream Puff looked mighty good, but nothing beats Terri's Cherry Pie!

  4. That looks like a great restaurant. I have a good campfire story about Columbus.

  5. Wow! The food at Schmidts looks so good I think I gained 10 pounds just looking at the pictures. I love it when you end up somewhere you didn't expect to go and it turns out to be a great place.

  6. We'll be up that way next spring/summer. Thanks for the headsup on the restaurant. It sounds great!

  7. LOVE your header picture. I have to say you guys really eat well. How do you stay so thin Terri? Darling little campground. A great find. Serendipity is the best!!

  8. Now that looks like some good eats!!!

  9. Serendipity is a great word and very popular as a boat name. It sure is a word that can make life a bit more fun:)