So ... why German Village?
This is a question that most people who have chosen to live in this corner of Columbus have probably answered more than once.
Residents of this neighborhood undoubtedly have their own individual responses, but it is also a question that we as a community have answered collectively for the past 54 years on the last weekend of June for visitors from throughout central Ohio and beyond.
The theme for this year's Haus und Garten Tour is "Urban.Living.History." and we believe that those three words, and the different ways they can be combined, capture something of the uniqueness of German Village.
We approached the homeowners with these words in mind, and we are incredibly grateful to them for not only agreeing to showcase their homes and gardens, but also for the enthusiasm and sense of community they have embodied throughout the process.
Rural, suburban and exurban living have their own distinct characters and advantages, but to live in this neighborhood is to experience on a daily basis the delights (and challenges) of urban living in all of its variety.
Indeed, that variety is reflected in all 12 of this year's tour stops.
The interiors of the homes this year range across the spectrum from charming and traditional to sleek and contemporary.
Our gardens will show visitors the different ways outdoor space can be utilized in an urban setting to create an oasis of green in the midst of bricks and cobblestones.
Even our homeowners themselves represent a wonderful cross-section of the talented and diverse group of people in German Village who have embraced urban living.
What unites all of these different homes and gardens, however, is the care and creativity that is on constant display.
At the same time, this is also an historical neighborhood, but more specifically a living historical community in which residents strive to balance the preservation of the remarkable historical character of the buildings and streetscapes with the realities and necessities of modern living.
We believe that this year's tour homes and gardens showcase the different ways that such a balance can be struck.
The homes this year span a variety of different architectural styles. They range in size from larger residences to our beloved signature German Village cottages.
You will find houses that have added modern additions and those that have maintained their original architectural footprint.
We have modern loft spaces and traditional Italianates and Queen Anne style houses.
One property will feature a "green" roof, and it is juxtaposed with a house, which in its detailed stonework is a reminder of the care and craftsmanship of a much earlier time.
What we hope you will notice again and again with this year's tour stops is the various ways in which the historical character of the neighborhood has been dynamically maintained.
In other words, the different ways in which the presence of the past has found a way to coexist with contemporary convenience that embodies a real sense of living history.
The route this year will wind you through the village from the shady tree-lined City Park Avenue, past our two signature parks, Schiller and Frank Fetch, and by the various bakeries, bookstores, restaurants, boutiques, and watering holes beloved by residents and visitors alike.
At the end of the day, our fondest hope is that this year's tour experience of Urban.Living.History will help to answer that question: "why German Village?"
Marie Logothetis and Dan Kline, co-chairmen of the 2014 German Village Haus und Garten Tour, submitted the Village Notebook column.