January 2010 Issue
Best of the Best Hometowns
These highlights from the communities named as Ohio Magazine's Best Hometowns show why they are great places to live and visit.
Best Place to Whet Your Whistle
Best Place to Spark Your Creativity
Since 1957, The Fine Arts Association in Willoughby has been a mecca for arts lovers of all ages. The organization offers a stellar, year-round lineup of theatrical performances and concerts, as well as art, dance and theater classes and private music lessons. Don’t miss “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” based on the C.S. Lewis children’s book, which will be staged in February and March. Fine Arts faculty and students perform a “Cabin Fever” concert on Jan. 31. The Fine Arts Association, 38660 Mentor Ave., Willoughby 44094, 440/951-7500. fineartsassociation.org
Maybe it’s because the brews are made a stone’s throw from where you’re sitting. Or because the lineup of entertainment, ranging from golden oldies rock to ’80s disco, guarantees a good time for all. Whatever your pleasure, you’ll find it at the Willoughby Brewing Company, which is housed in a century-old former railway depot. Favorite liquid refreshment includes Willoughby Wheat, a thirst quencher that exudes a subtle graininess along with a floral hop flavor and aroma. On the lighter side, save room for Railway Razz, a raspberry ale jammed with so many berries that it makes an ideal dessert draught.
4057 Erie St., Willoughby, 44094, 440/975-0202. willoughbybrewing.com
Best Comfort Food
The mac-n-cheese at Gavi’s is the ultimate in feel-good fare. Made with American and sweet mascarpone cheese, along with a touch of cream, it’s guaranteed to warm winter’s chill. (You can add grilled or blackened chicken or shrimp, but au naturel is the best way to savor this delectable dish!)
38257 Glenn Ave., Willoughby, 44094; 440/942-8008. gavis-restaurant.com
Best Place to Feel the Spirit
Willoughby’s weekend ghost walks are 90-minute, after-dark strolls through 12 blocks of the spookiest parts of town. From stops at pubs that have a haunting presence to paranormal investigative gatherings, each trip is clearly out of this world. Willoughby Ghost Walks are held May through November, and on designated dates throughout the winter.
Best Place to Add Zest to Your Life
Whether it’s a pinch of rosemary
(said to be a symbol of true love), or a smidgen of cayenne pepper, (guaranteed to ignite your taste buds),
The Spice Peddler is sure to liven up all your culinary creations. Shop owner Cathi Weber also stocks an impressive pantry of 85 additional herbs and spices, as well as sauces, oils and seasonings. 4140 Erie St., Willoughby, 44094, 440/975-0380. thespicepeddler.com
Best Spot for Young Artists
From stretching their own canvases to drafting personal artist statements, the students — or artists, as they prefer to be called — at Granville’s Studio of Visual Arts are on a fast track to an exceptional arts education. The studio, which offers innovative programs and is located on the grounds of the historic Bryn Du Mansion, opened its doors in 2009.
537 Jones Rd., Granville 43023, 740/587-2371. gsvaonline.org
Best Spot for a Sunny Lunch
For ladies who lunch — or for anyone with an appetite for warm sunshine and gourmet food — the Buxton Inn’s back porch is a sure bet. Head to the historic inn on a warm day and enjoy one of the many lunchtime specials, like seafood pasta, salmon cakes and specialty sandwiches.
313 E. Broadway, Granville 43023, 740/587-0001. buxtoninn.com
Best Historic Carriage Ride
Experience the fascinating history of Granville on a horse-drawn carriage tour from Granville Carriage Company. Company founder and carriage driver Diana Jones — with the help of her grey Percheron gelding Toby — takes visitors through the village’s residential streets while sharing anecdotes about important events and individuals throughout village history. 3354 Battee Rd., Granville 43023, 740/602-0984. granvillecarriage.com
Best Colorful Surprise
From the street, St. John’s Episcopal Church appears to be a traditional Tudor-style structure. But step inside and you’ll see what makes the church unique: A brilliant azure ceiling represents heaven, complete with glittering stars and painted fleur-de-lis patterns that represent the resurrection.
1025 Steubenville Ave., Cambridge 43725 740/432-7508
Best Family Photo Display
Need some inspiration to start working on your family album? Visit the Colonel Taylor Inn B&B and check out Patricia Irvin’s family photo collection. Pictures, some of which are nearly 200 years old, are prominently displayed in antique frames along the inn’s grand staircase. Irvin’s impressive collection goes back six generations, to her great-great-great grandparents. In fact, her oldest “photo” is not a photo at all, but an artist’s rendering from the early 1800s.
633 Upland Rd., Cambridge 43725, 740/432-7802, coltaylorinnbb.com
Best Sugar Rush
For 85 years, Kennedy’s Bakery has been known for a plethora of treats, from pumpkin doughnuts to wedding cakes. But one playful item defines decadence: Devil Dogs. Sink your sweet tooth into two layers of chocolate cake (baked in a hot dog bun pan) sandwiched together with buttercream icing and topped with chocolate. Need another reason to put your diet off for a day? Devil Dogs come in peanut butter, too.
1025 Wheeling Ave., Cambridge 43725, 740/432-2301, kennedysbakery.com
Best Place to Play 18
Golf Digest magazine gives the par-71, championship golf course at Salt Fork State Park four stars. Even the most experienced golfers find a challenge at the aptly nicknamed “Big Green Rollercoaster,” where nearly every hole is an uphill approach. In the off-season, the top-notch track doubles as a great place for winter sledding.
14755 Cadiz Rd., Cambridge 43755, 740/432-7185. ohiodnr.com
Best Place to Rest Your Head
Most bed and breakfasts offer cozy accommodations. Few, however, have the high-quality and “green” amenities of Susanne Oldham’s 1921 colonial-style home — the Arthur Morgan House Bed & Breakfast. Each bird-themed room boasts 800-thread-count linens, and two of the rooms have been upgraded to organic mattresses and Oxygen pillows from local retailer Design Sleep.
120 W. Limestone St., Yellow Springs 45387, 937/767-1761. arthurmorganhouse.com
Best Place to Greet the Seasons
Whenever possible, the residents of Yellow Springs shop locally, and the owners of The Winds Café & Bakery are no exception. With a European-inspired menu that changes with the seasons and emphasizes locally grown ingredients — and a carefully crafted wine list that pairs well with the food — The Winds has been a must-stop destination since 1977. Check the Web site regularly for events, special dinners and tastings.
215 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs 45387, 937/767-9441. www.windscafe.com
Best Pane Medicine
If you happen to break a cherished stained-glass window, Bonadies Glass Studio’s owner Valerie Huffman-Spinning is a master at glass restoration. Her store also offers a selection of beautiful glass lamps, mirrors, stemware, jewelry and blown glass from a variety of artists.
220 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs 45387, 937/767-7021. bonadiesglasstudio.com
Best Offbeat Festival
Ohio has a plethora of festivals, but one that truly reflects the spirit of its home is the Yellow Springs Street Fair. On a Saturday in early October, more than 200 tents pop up, brimming with original art, crafts, herbs, candles, incense and, yes, liberal-leaning political causes — all the things that make Yellow Springs special. Musicians line the sidewalks and everybody celebrates autumn and, well, Yellow Springs-ness.
Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce, 937/767-2686. yellowspringsohio.org
Best Reason to Dig in the Dirt
Amateur paleontologists sharpen their skills at Sylvania’s Fossil Park, a dumping ground for a local quarry that was once the location of an ancient sea. Now, Sylvania residents young and old head to the park to hunt for prehistoric remnants of aquatic life. 5705 Centennial Rd., Sylvania 43560, 419/882-8313. olanderpark.com
Best Place to See Stars
The world-class Appold Planetarium on the campus of Lourdes College offers shows and various other events to the school and the public. Using real-time 3-D simulations of the skies, its shows are, simply put, out of this world.
Lourdes College, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania 43560, 419/517-8897. lourdes.edu
Best Place to Have a Seat
Despite Sylvania’s reputation for active, athletic residents, the city elevates leisure to an art form. The “Sittin’ Pretty in Sylvania” project had local artists paint and decorate 42 public benches paying homage to their hometown. Now locals and visitors to the city can rest in style.
Best Spot to Dance the Night Away
From some of the biggest names in 1940s big band music to the rock sounds of Heart, the outdoor stage at Sylvania’s Centennial Terrace has seen a lot of music-making. Centennial Terrace still draws crowds for summertime rock shows, disco parties and, yes, big band.
5773 Centennial Rd., Sylvania 43560, 419/882-1500. sylvaniarecreation.org