Wednesday, October 10
Check out Springfield Ohio and #FindYourUnwind
This summer we had the pleasure of taking a quick trip over to Springfield, OH to do a little relaxing and exploring with my in-laws. Sometimes just a few nights away is all you really need to unwind and recharge. With fall break just around the corner my mind has been wandering quite a bit lately, thinking where we could go for a quick get away to recharge again. My daughter has been in school for about two months now so she's ready for a little break, and I can't say as I blame her reflecting back on our trip to Springfield.
I invite you to hop aboard my trip down memory lane as I relive our short but quite eventful mini-trip as I like to call it. Upon arrival we stopped in at the Champion City Guide & Supply Champion City is a “brick & mortar” retail store and visitor center featuring heritage apparel, local artisan goods and Springfield-centric merchandise. The store is located right in downtown Springfield so it's super easy to find.
Speaking of downtown. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Springfield both nights of our trip and I have to say day or night it was quite beautiful outside. We were able to score adjoining rooms which made it super easy for us to visit with my in-laws between the two rooms. One evening we even rolled their room chair over and set up our desk to played games. The hotel has all the amenities you would want from super comfortable beds to a pool and restaurant right inside the main doors. Perfect for those times you don't want to go far to eat.
However if you're like us you enjoy taking in the unique offerings in the area your visiting. So we opted to check out Seasons Bistro. It was actually within walking distance of our hotel so we didn't even have to drive. Plus it was nice to take a walk after dinner instead of getting back inside of a car. They had a really nice menu of options plus some unique daily specials. We decided to each get something different so we could have a taste of each other's foods. My husband and I really enjoyed the meal whereas my daughter wasn't quite as big a fan. She got grilled chicken over some pasta and was expecting something that tasted like chicken Alfredo. She's not into the extra add-ins and spices that nicer restaurants like to add to their meals. So we each gave her some of our food (since there was plenty) and she was happy. I had the top meal in the photo with fish, mashed potatoes and veggies. I really enjoyed my meal alot. The flavor was totally different than anything I'd eaten before and nothing like I would make at home. It was really nice to enjoy a good from scratch meal.
After dinner we walked around downtown a little bit then hopped in the car and headed over to check out Hartman Rock Garden. I'm sure you can guess from the name of the place exactly what we saw when we arrived. A garden filled with rocks, right? Well let me tell you they aren't your average, or ordinary rocks. They are actually rock sculptures of all shapes and sizes. Everything you see in the above photos are all made from rocks (or cement). They were hand crafted by Harry George “Ben” Hartman starting back in 1932 and spanning over the next 12 years until his death. He had been laid off from his job as a molder and couldn't handle doing nothing at home. Thus he began building his now legendary rock garden. If you're ever in the area I highly recommend checking it out. It's quite amazing to see some of the small intricate details of some of the sculptures.
After a good nights rest and breakfast in the hotel we ventured over a few blocks to check out Winans Coffee & Chocolates. I have to say my first impression was a smile on my face as I inhaled the scent of coffee and homemade chocolates. If you ask me there's no better scent in the morning that fresh ground coffee beans. There's just something refreshing about it that wakes up your senses. As far as the chocolate part - I mean come on who isn't a sucker for something homemade with chocolate? I even found a bucket of candy lemon drops. Those brought back memories of when I was younger seeing my dad with them as a kid. What an awesome place to find them on our trip!
After we had our coffee and chocolate fix we hopped in the car again and drove over to Yellow Springs. Yellow Springs is a funky town just 10 minutes from Springfield that's filled with unique shops and art galleries. It's one of those places you will either love and want to park and walk around for hours. Or like my daughter ask "How long are we gonna be here?" because she's ready to go before we even get out of the car. Of course I'm sure it didn't help that she knew the next destination on our list was Young’s Dairy. Young's Dairy is a great place to visit if your kiddos like animals. You even get to touch and feed their goats by hand. The cows of course are a little more behind the scenes since they are there for dairy production. On grounds they also have a miniature golf course, The Golden Jersey Inn restaurant, ice cream parlor, and other kid friendly activities. It's definitely someplace you can spend an entire afternoon having a good time. From the animals to the WONDERFUL food over at The Golden Jersey Inn it was a fun time for us. And this gal was super excited to enjoy their homemade cheese curds made right at the farm thanks to their dairy cows!
For dinner we decided we just wanted to pick something up on the way back to the hotel so we could just relax and hang out for the rest of the evening. So we decided to stop in at Mike and Rosy’s Deli and pick up a couple of their pizzas. Honestly I'm not sure if we were all more excited about the pizzas or the small storefront inside the deli. They had a super-sized assortment of hot sauces (that my husband drooled over) and several other shelves filled with unique products that you usually only find in specialty stores. It was awesome finding them all in one place. We all left with several things to take back home to our kitchens for later use. Oh, and their pizza....AWESOME!
The last morning of our trip landed on a Saturday so we were able to literally walk outside of the hotel and straight into their Farmer's Market. I was honestly in awe of the homegrown foods we saw at the market. I mean just look at the size of those melons! I've never seen anything that big in our grocery stores. We were only to take advantage of some things they had to offer that we knew would be okay being in the car for the rest of the day since we still had our journey to the caves and then home ahead of us. We took one last walk around the downtown square, then loaded up the car and headed out.
Finally we were to the part of the trip that I had been looking forward to most. Our stop at the Ohio Caverns. It had been a few years since we had last visited any caves so we were all looking forward to this stop. Maybe not the long walk that took us down into the cave, but we knew it was all worth it.
Of their two tours we opted to take the longer (and newer) Natural Wonder tour. The Historic Tour is their original cave tour and highlights historical facts along the way. We really enjoyed the tour we picked and learning all about the formations inside the cave. The tour guides always allowed us to have plenty of time to see things and answered any questions we had along the way.
We were even able to take as many photos as we wanted while inside. We were just asked not to touch any of the formations. I am always in awe every time we visit a cave at how they look inside. The crystal-white stalactite and stalagmite formations are each unique in their own way. And the fact that it always stays 54° F no matter the time of year is another thing that I've always thought was interesting.
After we finished our guided tour we stopped over and let my daughter have her chance at mining for gold. Okay so she didn't really find any gold, but she did find some really neat gemstones and fossils. And to her that was just as good as finding gold.
On the overall we really did cover a lot of ground for a two night mini-trip. We visited some fun and unique places. And we ate some really good food while we were at it. Springfield, OH is definitely on our list of places to go again when we need somewhere fun to visit. If you're looking for something fun to do for fall break and aren't too far from Springfield I would definitely say check it out for a few days. Even if you don't have kids (or a fall break) I would still recommend checking it out. There are lots of great places to visit for both kids and adults. We barely touched the surface of what Springfield has to offer.