In the alpha-trip series, we have tackled the letters U(rbana), N(ew Carlisle) and X(Xenia). Let’s hit 70 east and make a stop in the ‘Home City’ of Springfield. Before we get into the excitement, that is Clark County’s seat, a little disclaimer, I was born here…so it’s already home to me.
Many folks don’t realize the importance Springfield played throughout Ohio’s history, but even today, glimpses of its past come beaming through. I have compiled a little day trip just for MostMetro readers to get the best of the best in Springfield.
Starting your day in Springfield, head over for breakfast to the Olympic to fill up for your big day. This greek diner is a little treasure hidden among a plethora of restaurants on Bechtle Avenue. They have quick, friendly service and feature some really great omelettes (try the Gyro Omelette…yum!), interesting soups (my mom loves the lemon rice soup) and are vegetarian friendly. It can be a bit crowded but rest assured you are leaving full…portions are large.
First stop on our whirlwind trip is the Hartman Rock Garden, which unless you have seen it, you cannot explain it. Open 365 days a year, from dusk to dawn, this folk art phenomena, is chock full of Ben Hartman’s rock creations. In the garden you will see creations ranging from detailed figurines to gorgeous fish ponds. The garden is literally constructed of hundreds of thousands of stones. 90 plus years in the making, the garden was renovated in 2010, and it is magnificent to walk through. The story goes that Ben constructed the garden for his wife as a ‘Garden of Love,’ once you visit it, you’ll feel the same! The garden is located at 1905 Russel Avenue.
Hopping back in the car, let’s head to the Heritage Center. The building alone is stunning, and inside awaits archives, bios and scaled models. The Romanesque building dates to 1890 when it was a marketplace, and the admission is FREE! To really get a feel for Springfield’s role in America’s growth, the museum features how the city helped shape the nation. Check it out at 117 S. Fountain Ave.
And one more before lunch.
Small, quaint and oh, so perfect is Springfield’s Art Museum. Let’s face it, Americans love their art in small doses…and this is the winner. Situated in beautiful Cliff Park, the museum features ever-changing artwork and a fun, scenic Sculpture Walk. When I was there last, Charlie and Edie Harper’s permanent exhibit was a fave. Filled with classrooms and activities, you can see why this is such a gem! The museum is at 107 Cliff Park Rd.
Hungry? Right up the street is Seasons Bistro and Grille. It’s an excellent choice for lunchtime in the city. A great wine selection awaits in this restaurant featuring local fare, a constantly rotating menu, and waitresses that aim to please. Mom and I enjoyed the bibimbap and Bison Burger on or recent visit. It’s vibe is unique and edgy, but it never forgets its clientele. We had an apple turnover at our lunch’s end…and yes, order it!
After lunch, comes a real treat…a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Westcott House at 85 Greenmount Ave. The property, now back to its original condition and design, is so inspired, I feel guilty giving away any details. Just know that the furnishings, the accessories, the tours, the entirity is a 10 out of 10. The house is one of Wright’s greatest masterpieces and to know it is only 35 minutes away should excite.
Alright outdoorsy fans….I am sure you have heard of the Fair at New Boston, which takes place in George Rogers Clark Park. Stuffed with history, including the ‘alleged’ birthplace of Tecumseh, the park has seen many a battle, including the Battle of Peckuwe, which was the largest in the American Revolution west of the Alleghenies. The labyrinth of trails is extensive and and the nature preserve is beautiful.
Time to have dinner and wrap it up. I have to give a plug to one of my favorite since I was youngster, the Hickory Inn….their pizza is still one I crave from time to time! (at 652 north Limestone St.)
However, we are going to go a couple blocks north of there and hit Cecil and Lime. Live music, a nice atmosphere, and attention to detail make this a good choice in Springfield. The variety of food on the menu matched with well-prepared food keep us coming back. In the Warmer months, Cecil and Lime cannot be beat with their outdoor seating. There is an elegance to the place, and it continues to evolve! You will find it at 227 East Cecil Street.
As we head back home, we have to stop at Mother Stewart’s Taproom to share a beer in Springfield’s brewing company. Located at 109 West North Street, Mother Stewart’s offers about 8-10 different beers, from Lagers to Witbiers. The interior of the place is rustic and perfect for events. Speaking of events, they have a ton…so check out their Facebook Page for info.
Time to hit the road for home…..until we venture out again…