A town that seems largely forgotten by time and real estate developers, Yellow Springs, Ohio offers a charming change of pace from the ubiquitous orange barrels and construction cranes of our own bustling mini-metropolis.
If you think vaguely of Yellow Springs as “that hippie town,” or “that town where Dave Chappelle lives,” you’re not doing it justice. When the order of business in most locales is the constant march toward newer, shinier, taller, Yellow Springs sports more character-per-foot than cities twice its size—progress be damned.
Little more than an hour drive from Columbus, Yellow Springs is the perfect destination to get away for a day or two to shake loose from the familiar. With $200 dollars as our target budget, there’s plenty to discover, but let’s be real. Yellow Springs isn’t about hangups like dollar- counting, maaaaan. Just vibe out and have a good time!
On the edge of Yellow Springs just off of I-70, the first stop on your adventure is Young’s Jersey Dairy. You’ll know this destination by its big red barn and signature roadside cow statue, but don’t be fooled by the rural appearances—you could easily blow your whole $200 budget here before ever setting foot in Yellow Springs proper.
While you could spend all day at Young’s hitting balls in the batting cages or teeing off on the driving range, (what kind of dairy is this, anyway?) you’re better off grabbing a to-go cup of their delicious homemade ice cream and handful of buffalo cheese curds and hitting the road. Fueled up on fresh dairy goodness, you’ll be all set for everything that awaits you in town.
If you overdid it at Young’s and need to burn off a few calories, there is one more detour you could elect to make. Situated on the Little Miami River, John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs is known as the most scenic state park in western Ohio. When you’re done walking off your dietary transgressions, have a go on the park’s 18-hole disc golf course, or try your hand at rock climbing on the North Rim Trail. Blew your lodging budget on cheese? It happens. Luckily, camping in scenic John Bryan State Park is one of the most affordable and memorable ways to lay your head down in Yellow Springs.
You’ve gorged on cheese and ice cream and taken in the great outdoors, and now you’re ready to hit the town. Enter: historic downtown Yellow Springs. With its quirky bohemian charm and colorful exteriors, Yellow Springs’ main drag is a vision of small-town USA with a Jerry Garcia Twist. But don’t spend all day outside gawking—duck into some of the many fine establishments and see what this town is all about.
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If by chance you’re still hungry, hit up Peaches Bar and Grill for a burger and fries. This neighborhood watering hole is laid back in a David Lynch sort of way, and features live music from the area’s top talent on a regular basis. Got the giggles? Ha Ha Pizza is a favorite with tourists and locals alike. According to legend, the name harkens back to a time when this joint’s pizzas were topped with mushrooms of the magic variety. Though you’ll have to settle for regular white button fungus these days, this pizzeria remains a hit.
Along with a variety of first-rate eateries, Yellow Springs is home to one of the best breweries in the state in the aptly-named Yellow Springs Brewery. Sporting some killer label art from Dayton artist Don Pendleton, (known for his work with such skate companies as Alien Workshop and Element) the beer inside tastes as good as the cans look. While you’re there, relax and kick back a few on the brewpub’s cozy patio, which overlooks the bustling Little Miami Bike Trail.
Downtown Yellow Springs sports so many unique shops and art galleries to explore, and you can make a whole day of it without spending a dime. Remember OSU campus headshop Import House? A location in Yellow Springs is alive and well. Record stores, comic book shops, multiple (MULTIPLE) independently-owned bookstores—shopping in Yellow Springs has something to suit any taste.
With a community-first approach that keeps makes it a haven for everyone from crunchy art-types to internationally-known celebrities, Yellow Springs is in no hurry to catch up to the rest of the world. Get there and get free from the hangups and hassles of the increasingly hectic Columbus lifestyle, if only for one weekend.
P.s. The Tecumseh Land Trust sunflower field along U.S. 68 is in full bloom!
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