Capital Style editor Kristy Eckert with an escape plan for mommas.

My friend was feeling so fed up with her (typically darling) family that one night, just before dinner, she finally lost it.

"That's it - I've had it!" she yelled. "You're on your own."

She grabbed her car keys and a book, then left. That evening might remain the most enjoyable Chinese dinner she's ever eaten. (And something tells me that a husband and kids left to fend for themselves for a couple of hours were probably much nicer upon her return.)

We've all been there, right - in desperate need of an escape? But as much as we'd all like to have a private jet whisk us to Miami each time those I'm-just-about-to-lose-it moments come on, that's not always an option. However, getting away for half a Saturday is - you just need to give yourself permission to do it.

There are choices aplenty for an enjoyable momma's day out in Central Ohio. Here are a few suggestions: The Short NorthI hear from so many women living in the suburbs that they haven't visited the Short North since they went to Ohio State. Seriously, people, this place is fabulous! Parking is more doable in the daytime, so find a meter and explore. A few suggestions: Rowe, Ladybird and jinny for upscale women's fashion (even if you just want to window shop). Substance for really nice - but sometimes more affordable - women's clothing and accessories. Collier West for swanky-with-a-little-funk home goods. Bink Davies for great gifts (I promise you will laugh if you shop here; they have some hilariously funny cards and goodies). And Betty's for lunch.

German Village
The village is one of Columbus' true gems. I could write a whole column on a day - or weekend - here, but this is my suggested I've-only-got-a-couple-Saturday-morning-hours itinerary: Start at Pistacia Vera and order a drink and pastries to go. Drive to Schiller Park, spread out a blanket and enjoy your breakfast while you read a magazine or book, and then walk the park's loop. Afterward, hoof it to Helen Winnemore Craft to shop. And then take a few steps to The Old Mohawk or Brown Bag for lunch.

WestervilleThe thriving Uptown strip is one of the best in the 'burbs. encircle, which sells artsy jewelry, clothing and home goods, is really fun. Hey Diddle Diddle boasts adorable baby-shower gift options. A Gal Named Cinda Lou offers cool and quirky vintage clothing. Outside Envy is a must-visit for garden lovers. And Meza is a pleasant little wine shop worth a stop. There are plenty of others worth visiting, too. Try Serendipity for a coffee/snack break and Old Bag of Nails for lunch.

Worthington
Just off Rt. 315, Worthington is easy and fun. Fritzy Jacobs is fresh and vibrant, with jewelry, handbags and more. Pure Cottage sells antiques, refurbished vintage goodies and artisan-made jewelry. Wren House Gifts is super cozy with very affordable gifts and dcor. You can also make a candle at The Candle Lab, get a mani-pedi at Elli Nail Spa and stop in at House Wine to take a bottle home. Try La Chatelaine for lunch and Emlolly Candy to satisfy your sweet tooth.

GranvilleJust a half-hour from Downtown Columbus, Granville is charming and serene. Don't miss Kussmaul Gallery, a spectacular gift store with everything from jewelry to stationery to funny cocktail napkins. Other highlights include Green Velvet (which offers a super-cool European vintage jewelry selection) and Petali Teas (sip samples and buy tea to take a little bit of peace home). Del Mar is a good lunching option, and dessert choices include Whit's Frozen Custard and two candy shops.

Here's to new places - and refreshed Mommas. Cheers!


Kristy Eckert is the editor of Capital Style, a bimonthly women's magazine published by The Dispatch Printing Company. To sign up for her weekly e-newsletter, visit Capital-Style.com