Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play

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Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with Visit Greater Springfield. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When you live in an area where there's always something to do, it can be easy to forget that there are SO many places out of state (and beyond) that need exploring, as well! That’s why I was excited when Greater Springfield reached out with the opportunity to spend a weekend in a part of Ohio I’d never taken the time to explore. Just 45 miles west of Columbus and 25 miles northeast of Dayton, Springfield is only 3.5-ish hours from the Detroit area (depending on your exact location), making it a great contender for a weekend adventure.

FRIDAY

Check-In At The Courtyard Marriott

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
Our weekend started with check-in at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Springfield. This hotel is the place to be if you want to be in the center of it all! Located within walking distance of most places we’d visit that evening and the next morning, the Courtyard Marriott felt modern, nicely-updated, and was incredibly comfortable (a great place to crash after a busy day of sight-seeing!).

Late-Afternoon Walk Around Downtown

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
It was a beautiful Friday evening, so Brad and I went for a walk around the city to get a feel for the area and take some pictures. We stopped by Champion City Guide + Supply, a really cool local gift shop that’s also the location of Greater Springfield’s visitor bureau. While picking up our itinerary and perusing the shelves, we learned that this unique store sits inside the historic Tuttle Brothers Building, the site of a former motor vehicle parts supplier.

Dinner at Seasons Bistro

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
When dinnertime rolled around, we walked over to Seasons Bistro and Grille (a popular spot right around the corner from Champion City). Inside, a lively atmosphere tipped us off that this was the place where everyone met up after work. It was busy, but not overly-crowded, and we were seated right away. On the menu: an eclectic, but not weird selection of flavors (great for both foodies and picky eaters!). We started with the steak quesadilla appetizer (pepperjack, tomatoes, and chimichurri), followed by two entrees (Brad tried the NY Strip with herb butter and I got the Bibimbap—so delicious!). Brad also tried the seasonal sweet tea, a mint-flavored variety that he was both surprised and delighted to love.

Coffee at Winans

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
While it was difficult to pass up dessert, Brad and I had a couple other stops we wanted to fit in that evening. We walked back to the hotel to grab our car, then drove down the street to Winans Chocolates & Coffees (also walkable from the Courtyard Marriott). We ordered our coffees, chatted with two of the friendliest baristas I’ve ever encountered, then headed upstairs to a lovely room filled with exposed brick and natural sunlight. I kid you not when I say I wish I could have brought that place back home with us. (Hey, Winans, ever considered branching out to Michigan? ;) )

Hartman Rock Garden

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
Now, I don’t think I’d ever been to a rock garden before visiting Springfield, but the Hartman Rock Garden sounded intriguing, so we gave it a go. I’m so glad we stopped by—it’s such a cool little place! Created during the Great Depression by Harry George “Ben” Hartman, the Hartman Rock Garden features dozens of sculptures (made from over 250,000 individual stones!) that focus on history, religion, and patriotism. A fascinating folk art scene that’s drawn in tens of thousands of visitors over the past 80+ years, this photogenic garden is open 365 days a year from dawn until dusk, and admission is free (donations encouraged).

[Click here to watch my video walk-through of the Hartman Rock Garden!]


SATURDAY

Springfield Farmers Market

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
Springfield’s farmers market is the place to be on the weekend, and since our hotel was literally just steps away, Brad and I had no trouble getting up and heading over on Saturday morning. Welcomed by live music and the bustle of fellow shoppers, we ducked into Un Mundo Cafe for iced coffees, then headed back out to peruse booths filled with local foods, flowers, and crafts. Following some high-praise recommendations, we made sure to order breakfast burritos at The Painted Pepper, a local food truck that specializes in southwestern cuisine (the tortillas alone are enough reason to stop here!). As we enjoyed our breakfast at a nearby picnic table, I happily reflected on the fact that this was my ideal way to spend a Saturday morning.

Springfield Heritage Center Museum

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
As if the farmers market wasn’t enough of a draw (it totally was), we extended our morning by spending some time inside the Springfield Heritage Center, home to Clark County’s local historical museum. Housed in the former city hall, this multi-level collection took us back to the 1800s to learn more about Springfield, its residents, and the events that helped form the community through present-day. And bonus: the Heritage Center's close proximity to the farmers market (it's literally right next to it!), makes this gem a super-convenient stop in between shopping, brunching, and strolling around.

Frank Lloyd Wright Westcott House

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
Next, we were off to tour a Frank Lloyd Wright home! Prior to this trip, I really didn’t know much about Frank Lloyd Wright, including the fact that there are a TON of his designs out there (for the longest time, I thought Fallingwater was the sole reason for his popularity). A Springfield fixture since 1908, the Westcott House was one of Wright’s earlier works that underwent multiple changes throughout the 20th century. First a residence, later an apartment building, then renovated in the early 2000s to reflect its original styling, the Westcott House is a fantastic example of how Wright’s recognizable design style was decades ahead of its time.

Lunch at Mike & Rosy’s Deli

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
Located in the vicinity of Wittenberg University, Mike & Rosy’s Deli was founded in 1977 by Bob Rosencrans (“Rosy”) and Mike Wagner. Ordering a couple of the deli’s famous fresh, hot sandwiches, Brad and I enjoyed checking out the signed sports memorabilia (we’re talking athletes like Peyton Manning and Brett Favre) and chatting with the founder/owner—Mike himself—about the business’ evolution since it opened when Mike was just 19 years old. If you love sports culture and good food, don’t pass this place up!

Shopping and Dinner in Yellow Springs

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
Downtown Yellow Springs is designed for the artist and the free spirit. It’s the kind of place where you’ll find mosaic recycling bins on every corner and niche shops for everything from vinyl records to vintage housewares. It’s colorful, alive (when we visited, there was a line of cars just to get into town), and there are cats everywhere. Like, everywhere. There’s a cat napping inside the hardware store window. There’s a cat napping on the cashier’s counter inside the art shop. There’s a cat napping on a chair in the middle of the bookstore, and you can buy a coffee mug that’s customized with his photo. I even saw a guy make a long trek down the street, only to return to his car a few minutes later with a giant box of cat litter.

If you’re not a cat person, however, no worries. There’s plenty more to see and do in Yellow Springs—coffee shops, boutiques, and interesting restaurants like Ye Olde Trail Tavern, the German-themed establishment where we ate dinner. Founded in 1827, Ye Olde Trail Tavern is Ohio’s oldest tavern and has the audience to prove it. Live music, great weather, and patio dining brought a lot of people out on that Saturday night, and it seemed as though we’d found out the favorite weekend hangout among locals. Food-wise, Brad ordered a burger and I went for the bratwurst (which was okay, but tasted more like a hot dog in my opinion). Given the chance to go back, I think I’d have to try a plate of onion rings, which looked phenomenal and appeared to be one of the house specialties.

Ice Cream, Animals, & Fun at Young’s Jersey Dairy

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
On our way out of Yellow Springs, we made an unplanned stop at Young’s Jersey Dairy. A big farm/restaurant/ice cream shop/batting cage/mini golf course/etc., Young’s Jersey Dairy reminded me of the cider mills that are so popular in Michigan during the fall, except it skewed more toward summertime theming. The lines to order ice cream were long, but moved quickly (especially considering the extensive flavor menu), and there were plenty of farm-themed photo opps available (you can even feed goats and hang out with the cows). This place is definitely family-friendly and if you’ve got the time, it provides plenty of entertainment for an entire afternoon or evening of fun.

SUNDAY

Coffee at Winans & Breakfast at the Sunrise Cafe

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
Sunday was our day to check out, but we couldn’t leave without grabbing breakfast and our morning dose of caffeine! Stopping by Winans for one last cup of coffee in that glorious, peaceful setting (have I mentioned how much I love this place?), we hopped in the car for one more drive over to Yellow Springs and brunch at the Sunrise Cafe. The restaurant was crowded that morning, so we left to do some shopping while we waited (a perfect opportunity to check out some of the stores we’d missed the day before). When we returned to the restaurant and followed the hostess to our table, Brad and I were both surprised to be led through the back of the restaurant to a "secret" outdoor patio! This adorable little area felt very tropical and was the perfect setting for our delicious, scratch-made meal. My must-try menu recommendation: A side of buttermilk wheat biscuits with butter and homemade jam. Soooo good.

Thrifting at the Junk Diva

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
On our way out of Yellow Springs, Brad navigated us to the Junk Diva, a collection of salvaged, repurposed, and handcrafted treasures housed in two barns and a storefront. There, we browsed old weathervanes and metal signs, saw at least three or four more cats, and picked up some lovely-smelling wax warmers inside the shop. If you’re in a Chip and Joanna Gaines-type of mood, you won’t want to miss this roadside treasure and the unique gems you’ll find here.

Exploring the Ohio Caverns

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
With one more stop left on our itinerary, we drove 45 minutes up the road to the Ohio Caverns. Also known as “America’s Most Colorful Caverns,” this natural beauty offers two main tours: the Natural Wonder Tour and the Historic Tour. While we would have loved to check out both, Brad and I had had plans to get home early that evening, so we opted for the Natural Wonder option and had a blast learning more about the caverns’ gorgeous formations.

Greater Springfield, Ohio: Big City With A Small-Town Feel

Our Weekend In Springfield, Ohio: Where To Stay, Eat, & Play | via Wading in Big Shoes
Overall, Greater Springfield wowed us with its big-city looks and "everybody knows everybody" personality. Trendy restaurants, shops, and hangouts are in wide supply here, but the fact that you'll run into the same people at least a few times throughout the day keeps the city (and the surrounding area) from getting too overwhelming. I'm already missing our weekend here and look forward to seeing more ventures pop up in this (re)booming town!

Thanks again to Visit Greater Springfield for introducing us to this new-to-us destination!

Have you visited Greater Springfield, Ohio? Which Ohio destinations are your favorites? Share in the comments!

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