I have a confession to make. I’m kind of new to Gahanna. Although I’ve lived in Columbus/ Central Ohio all of my life and visited Gahanna on rare occasions for meetings, my (newish) job with the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau has me exploring the city like a tourist. For someone who works in tourism, this is a really GOOD thing. Why? Because I get to discover all of these hidden gems for the first time … and then become a “regular” visitor to my new favorite spots.
One of my favorite local hidden gems is Shepherd’s Corner. Just beyond Gahanna’s eastern border lies a 160-acre natural oasis that is a combination working farm, spiritual refuge and center for ecology (and education). This little slice of heaven on Earth is operated as an ecological ministry by the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
The breathtaking property offers a diverse range of habitats—providing a haven for wildlife and native flora … and more than one way for visitors to find rest, new energy and peace. The team here tends chemical-free gardens (selling produce at their market and donating some to local food banks), as well as free-range turkeys, chickens, sheep and Fernando, the Llama. Visitors will find greenhouses, beehives, meditation trails and a labyrinth (ideal for quiet walks and soul searching).
Any visit to Shepherd’s Corner begins at “The Barn.” Built in 1803, it was originally used to house cattle, horses, hay and farm equipment. No longer needed for this purpose, the barn was donated to Shepherd’s Corner in 2005. It was taken apart piece by numbered piece, and brought to its present location. Like everything at Shepherd’s Corner—the barn was rebuilt with sustainability in mind. It has won a number of awards including the “Ohio Barn of the Year Award for Adaptive Use (Friends of Ohio Barns). The rebuilt barn includes office space, library, program/assembly space, a fiber room, an art room, a large kitchen and work sheds.
Maybe the BEST way to experience Shepherd’s Corner is to attend one of the workshops. Have you always wanted to experience Maple Syrup making? (I have!) This is the place. Want to give back? Gather with others to create hand-knitted and crocheted “Prayer Shawls” for those in need. Need to nurture yourself? Check out workshops like, “The Art of Balancing” or “Awakening the Dreamer.” While you’re there—shop the products made on site, including homemade soaps, hand cream, maple syrup, towels, vinegars and gift bags. All profits benefit this amazing refuge and its lovely purpose, stated so eloquently in the Shepherd’s Corner Vision Statement:
Here, people of all backgrounds can learn to reconnect with the natural environment, themselves, one another, and the Creator who made them all.
~Post by Mary Szymkowiak, Communications & Sales Manager, Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau