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WOrth the trip: dayton

Originally printed in the Winter 2016 issue
By Claire Hoppens
Photography by Maria Khoroshilova

Dayton is a city worth savoring. 

Between its rich history and modern offerings, a day trip to Dayton can be enjoyed through outdoor activities, creative food and drink and explorations of local heritage. Yes, even in winter. The 60-mile drive from Columbus won’t set you back much more than an hour. Make your first stop at Press Coffee, a fixture in the Oregon Arts District opened by Brett and Janelle Barker in 2011. Brett got a taste for thoughtfully sourced and roasted coffee in his eight years at one of Dayton’s first independent coffee shops before setting his sights on his own business.

Press is an airy, bright space with lofted overflow seating and glimmers of history throughout the building, like filigree in the restored ceiling tiles and towering street-facing windows. The menu is focused. There are recognizable favorites like lattes and espresso, and coffee brewed from beans sourced from around the world. Evans Bakery, a local bakery, delivers fresh donuts every morning. Over the past few years Brett has focused on sourcing and roasting his own coffee beans to ensure quality and consistency. Brett roasts all the coffee served at Press, in addition to handful of wholesale accounts, under the name Wood Burl Coffee. For him, a personal connection to the coffee farmers is a crucial component to operating a sustainable, ethical business. 

“I really try and promote specific coffees and their characteristics,” says Brett. At Press, the character of the shop and of the coffee is hard to beat. Just next door an oasis awaits at Luna Gifts & Botanicals, opened in September. Gifts, pottery, artisan jewelry and charming home accessories are nestled in a thicket of house plants, succulents and air plants. The greenery is too inviting to resist from the sidewalk. The unique wares are curated by the store’s six owners, longtime best friends and photographers. “We sought to fulfill a little niche downtown, a place filled with beautiful things that we would want to find while out exploring, and enjoying the neighborhood that we call home,” says co-owner Carly Barrett. 

Ready to brave the chill? Dayton’s Five Rivers MetroParks operates an ice skating rink from November 25 to February 28 complete with sweeping views of the downtown skyline and the Great Miami River. Hit the ice for a free skate, a curling match or just sip a hot chocolate. 

Or, if local beer is more your taste, visit Warped Wing Brewery and taproom situated in a lofty red bricked building from 1938. The name of the brewery comes from a method the Wright brothers used to stabilize their plane: wing warping technology. Factor in that a preliminary version of the pull top was invented by a Dayton machinist and it’s a delicious fate. Warped Wing brews and serves its beers on site and offers tours of the brewery at 2pm, 3pm or 4pm on Sundays for $10, which includes a glass of beer or tasting flight. 

The Oregon Arts District in Dayton

The Oregon Arts District in Dayton

Better still, catch a show. The Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center is a cultural hub in downtown Dayton housing the Dayton Philharmonic, the Dayton Opera and the Dayton Ballet. Built in 2003 by architect César Pelli, the dome of the theater features concentric circles of fiber-optic lights meant to depict the starry night sky exactly as the Wright Brothers would have seen it on the eve of their first flight in December of 1903. 

If the evening allows, sip a nightcap at the Century Bar, just two blocks from the theater and an even shorter jaunt from the Dayton Convention Center, where the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association will host its annual conference in Dayton starting February 9 to 11 (see page XX for more details). The bourbon-focused Century Bar serves from an expansive bourbon and rye list in a welcoming space with warm lights and wood details, including a restored cherry-and-stained-glass-back bar from 1862. Choose from carefully mixed cocktails or take a recommendation from the knowledgeable staff.   

Press Coffee
257 Wayne Ave. Dayton, Ohio 45402

Luna Gifts & Botanicals
261 Wayne Ave. Dayton, Ohio 45402 

MetroParks Ice Rink
237 E. Monument Ave. Dayton, Ohio 45402 

Warped Wing Brewery
26 Wyandot St. Dayton, Ohio 45402 

The Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center
1 W. Second St. Dayton, Ohio 45402 

Century Bar
10 S. Jefferson Dayton, Ohio 45423 937-223-3382

old favorites in dayton

By Claire Hoppens

We last visited and wrote about Dayton in the winter of 2011. Writer Carol Amber laid out a winter day trip to Clifton Mill for oversized pancakes and a holiday light show open to guests from Thanksgiving to New Years, then to Dorothy Lane Market with a stop at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in between. Each of those destinations would still make excellent stops, especially for families.

Clifton Mills in Clifton, Ohio

Clifton Mills in Clifton, Ohio

Carol also recommended a stroll through downtown Centerville, just southeast of downtown Dayton, before a relaxing dinner at the acclaimed Rue Domaine, where chef and co-founder Anne Kearney crafted meals with New Orleans flair and local ingredients. Since May 2015, Rue Domaine has shifted its focus toward events both public and private. To view the complete listing of public events, including pop-up dinners, visit their website (details below). For a cozy overnight stay, English Manor Bed & Breakfast in Miamisburg is still a fine choice with unique guest rooms, ample breakfast options and scratch-made scones.

Clifton Mill

75 Water St., Clifton, Ohio 45316 | 937-767-5501

Legendary Light Display

November 25–January 1, 6pm–9pm

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

1100 Spaatz St., Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45431 | 937-255-3286

Dorothy Lane Market

6177 Far Hills Ave., Dayton, Ohio 45459 | 937-434-1294 Open 6am–11pm

School of Cooking schedule: visit website

English Manor Bed & Breakfast

505 E. Linden Ave., Miamisburg, Ohio 45342 |  937-866-2288

Rue Dumaine

1061 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd., Washington Township, Ohio 45459

worth the trip: wooster

Originally printed in the Fall 2010 issue
By Carole Amber
Photography by Troy Amber

Wooster is charmingly quaint town tucked in the northeastern region of Ohio about 90 miles from Columbus. Surrounded by towering corn and farmland, this agricultural center for Ohio has a lush history of farming. Wooster takes its heritage seriously, as it is home to the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (an agricultural science teaching and research facility)—both subsidiaries of OSU, as well as the College of Wooster. It is rumored that Wooster has more PhDs per capita than any other place in Ohio. 

The Wooster town square where one of the farmers markets is held.

The Wooster town square where one of the farmers markets is held.

With agriculture as its heartbeat, Wooster is alive with food options. We began our culinary tour at a Broken Rocks Café & Bakery. A loud, vivacious chatter buzzed between the modern brick walls. We were greeted by Glen Grumbling, executive chef and owner. Glen is a transplant from Columbus with honed skills from Figlio, where he perfected his Broken Rocks bread recipe. A sidenote on sourdough bread: It is best made with wild yeast (rather than yeast from a packet) that is made into a bubbling, live “starter,” which is combined with flour to make dough. This starter acts as the leavening and allows the bread to rise. This natural fermenting process helps create a tangy, crusty-on–the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside mouthwatering sourdough bread. 

As the story goes, Glen collected the natural yeast and bacteria off wild grapes in the northern Michigan town of Broken Rocks to create his famous sourdough bread starter 20 years ago. This starter along with his perfected 24-hour baking technique can be sampled through his all-natural, delectable sourdough bread at Broken Rocks Café & Bakery. I can attest that this bread had a moist yet rustic texture and a nutty flavor and a wonderfully mild tang finish. Served with fresh, creamy unsalted butter, this bread alone is worth the trip. As Glen says, “Everything on our menu highlights the bread” and is accompanied with the freshest and most local ingredients possible. From tomato mozzarella pizzas (made with tomatoes from Glen’s garden) to homemade soups and sandwiches, Broken Rocks is a must when you come to Wooster.

My recommendation is to start with the sourdough wheat bread (Glen’s favorite) followed by the burger. This burger is made with homemade focaccia,  grass-fed steer that Glen personally ground, Maytag blue cheese, caramelized onions and a secret barbecue sauce, and it is the best burger that I have ever put in my mouth. 

After lunch, a walk around Wooster is in order. Centered around the intersection of West Liberty Street and South Market Street, the square is the hub of Wooster. The corners of the square feature children’s art, a gazebo that often presents live music, the Wayne Country Courthouse and public gathering areas. As a walking town, antiques, Moorefield pottery and books can be easily browsed and bought. 

For anyone looking to cook a fantastic meal or to take home fresh veggies and baked goods, Local Roots Market & Café is the place to go. Located near the square, this recently opened year-round co-op market connects producers and consumers of locally grown foods. Over 100 producers offer daily baked goods, non-homogenized organic milk, grass-fed cheese, free-range eggs, fair trade and locally roasted coffees, bright produce grown within 50 miles, herbs, jams and many other treasurers. Some of the more unique offerings that I enjoyed were Chianti Espresso Jam, Lemon Citrus Iced Tea and Cheese-Herb Artisan Bread baked by board member and producer Jennifer McMullen. If you plan your trip on a Saturday, you can join the locals at the farmers market in the square followed by a trip to the Local Roots Market & Café. You may even be able to catch a cooking class. 

Everywhere I went in Wooster revealed warm smiles, waves to cars passing by and shop owners who knew their customers by name. Wooster is a small town with a big heart and is definitely worth the trip.


A Day Out in Mt. Vernon

Plan a weekend road trip to Mt. Vernon based on recommendations from Page Price and Gene Robinson of Warwick Farm in Mt. Vernon and life-long Knox County resident, Susan Cunningham! First take a virtual tour of the area through our web-exclusive "Worth the Trip" photos, then use our digital road trip guide to map out your own weekend adventure. 

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edible Gathering at The Crest Gastropub


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Our Night at The Farmers Table


Just so you know, we'll take you up on any opportunity to share a meal with local leaders like the wonderful Val from Jorgensen Farms, Snowville's fearless owner Warren, and the passionate team at Northstar.


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