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614 Summer Road Trip: Yellow Springs

Mike Thomas

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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!

3rd place. Photo by: Eric Anderson

Posted by Tecumseh Land Trust on Thursday, October 18, 2018
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Champions of US Women’s National Team to grace MAPFRE Stadium this fall

Regina Fox

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The heroines of US women's national sports are coming to Columbus! The United States Women's National Team will take on Sweden on Thursday November 7 at MAPFRE Stadium.

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The match will air on FS1 and TUDN at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets go on sale to the public on Thursday, September 26 at 10am through ussoccer.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Groups of 20 or more can order directly at ussoccer.com starting Friday, Sept. 27, at 10am. Columbus Crew SC Season Ticket Members will receive information via email about a special pre-sale opportunity.

https://twitter.com/MAPFREStadium/status/1174339536144523266

This will be the first friendly match for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup champions this season, who are holding down a 14-game winning streak. Here's to 15!

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Life is but a dream with Greater Columbus Rowing Association

Linda Lee Baird

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Sculling. Coxswain. Regatta. For the uninitiated, the language of rowing can be difficult to parse. But if you’re ready to build your vocabulary, muscles, and circle of friends all at the same time, rowing might be right for you. You don’t even have to be an early riser to join the club.

The Greater Columbus Rowing Association (GCRA) was founded in 1984 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the sport of rowing. The central location on the Scioto’s Griggs Reservoir provides rowers across the city with a place to get on the water, before or after work. Open to all levels and abilities, with new rowers, adaptive rowers, and competitive rowers welcome, the GCRA has provided dynamic opportunities for Columbus- area residents for 35 years.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

Rower Jan Rodenfels, whose lightweight quad team took home the cup at this summer’s Midwest Sprints race, started as a runner, and said that rowing requires concentration and coordination that she hadn’t needed before, even when competing in marathons. As a writer and motivational speaker, she had multitasked during her runs, planning and preparing with every mile. “With running, I could work in my head,” she said. But rowing put a stop to that. “You are working in your head on the stroke, as well as all your major muscle groups. It looks easy but it’s challenging, synching up [with other rowers]. Oars have to go in and come out together.”

Learning to row was more difficult than Rodenfels had anticipated. One of her early coaches cautioned the team that as they learned new skills, “Our problems will multiply like rabbits.” Rodenfels focused on learning one or two things at a time, as trying to put everything together immediately was simply too much. “I had to think Swan Lake at the beginning instead of rock and roll,” she explained. In other words, her primary focus was on getting smooth and perfecting her form before worrying about speed. “I could add the rock and roll when we could start moving fast.”

She extolled the benefits of rowing for beginners. “You use legs, arms, [and] back... You really develop your muscles and cardio system.” She cautioned that because the sport is so demanding on your body, having a good coach from the beginning is key. That way, you’re taught the correct way to do things from the onset. “You don’t want to have to undo all the bad moves you’re making.”

The schedule, too, can be a challenge, particularly when trying to coordinate with other busy members of a team. “We’re supposed to be out at 5:30 [a.m.],” Rodenfels said. “We’re out at 7:00 [a.m.], 8:00 [a.m.], whenever we can get all of our different boats in and coordinated.” And while the early mornings can be difficult, there’s something to be said for getting exercise while watching the sunrise on a boat with your friends. “It’s a beautiful sport.”

It’s also open to everyone who’s past their years of college eligibility. “Master’s rowing starts at age 21... all the way up to people in their 90s.” Even if you’re not a morning person, there’s room on the boat for you. Rodenfels said many club members practice in the evenings. Physical limitations can be accommodated as well. “We have a paradaptive program at GCRA that’s all done and supported by volunteers. We encourage anyone who would like to try it to go on our website and sign up.”

Still not sure it’s the sport for you? GCRA offers corporate learn-to-row activities that businesses such as Cardinal Health and even the Columbus Blue Jackets have taken advantage of. It’s a good opportunity to dip your toe in the water—whether you choose to take that advice literally or not.

New members might take up rowing for teamwork, exercise, fresh air, opportunities to travel and win awards, or all of the above. Whatever your motivation, Rodenfels recommends starting with a learn-to-row class, and getting ready to enjoy the ride. “When you do it, it’s so beautiful,” she said.

In mid-August, GCRA members headed to The 2019 USRowing Masters National Championships in Grand Rapids, MI and took the gold. Follow their journey and find out how to get your crew on at columbusrowing.org.

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Obscure Columbus: Brown Pet Cemetery

Laura Dachenbach

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I drove past it dozens of times before I realized what it was. 

I could see that it was a cemetery peeking out from under an overhang of trees, with stones spreading across a field. But something was different. One day while driving down Sawyer Road, I slowed down until I could make out a name on what seemed to be a very small marker: Pug. 

I had found the Brown Pet Cemetery. 

Surrounded by the grounds of the John Glenn Airport, the Brown Pet Cemetery remains mostly hidden. The cemetery was started in the 1920s by Walter A. Brown, a local veterinarian, and a cemetery association was founded in 1934. Over 450 burials cover the site, all a visual testament to the purity of the human-animal bond. Most markers bear the names not only of the pets themselves, but also of their human “parents.” Folk art decorates many stones, as well as oval ceramic plaques with black-and-white pet portraits. DIYers of decades ago have used marbles and shells to adorn handmade markers.

Pet names over the decades show their cultural and historical influences. Dimples and Trixie and Buster in the 20s and 30s give way to Lassie and Gidget in the 50s and eventually become Coco and Misty in the 70s and 80s. But pet owners have clearly always been common or creative in naming their animal companions. For every Blackie or Fluffy that rests here, there’s a Boob and a Stinky Bill and a Dammit, each of them memorialized and apparently cherished. 

It’s hard to tell how active the cemetery is. The articles of incorporation for the cemetery association expired in 1997, when most burials seemed to have stopped. However, during my most recent excursion through the grounds, I saw several graves marked with artificial flowers, as well as a memorial for Mr. King, a ten-year-old cat with a love of shoes, who was interred this past June. 

Regardless of activity, the sentimentality of this space is palpable. (A visit will likely require a package of Kleenex.) Be ready to be touched by the still-visible memories of the pets who have found peace here.

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