Fall and spring are my favorite times to go hiking and some of my favorite hiking spots abound in Clark County. The Yellow Springs area offers charming shops and Young's. Springfield features a Frank Lloyd Wright house. It's about an hour drive to the area from Columbus.
View looking downstream from Cascades Bridge at Glen Helen Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs.
Young's Jersey Dairy
What was once a small building selling ice cream treats has expanded to include the Golden Jersey Inn, Udders and Putters putt-putt, a golf driving range, pick-your-own pumpkin patch and more. The barn and animals have been there since I was a child and they used to offer pony rides on the weekend. They also have a pick your own Christmas Tree farm, too. The Golden Jersey Inn offers nice, sit-down meals and the other building sells sandwiches, salads, burgers, donuts and breakfast in addition to Young's cheese, ice cream, gelato and shakes. Meals in the Golden Jersey Inn are roughly $10, whereas meal combos in the main building are around $7. Ice cream sundaes start at $3.75 for a scoop of ice cream or gelato with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry. Young's is located about 5 miles south on U.S. 68 off of I-70 West. Young's will be hosting a "Haunted Wagon ride and Storytelling" (appropriate for children) from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Oct. 25 and Oct. 26-cost is $10 for ages 5 and older/ $4 for ages 4 and younger. They also have pick-you-own pumpkins and apple cider.
*If you like wine, check out Brandeberry Winery, which is also off of U.S. 68. They are open Thursday through Saturday. Visit http://www.brandeberrywinery.com/ for details.
Located a little further south on U.S. 68 is this orchard, which has honeycrisp and other apples varieties for sale. In addition to 25 varieties of apples, they also sell cider, honey, maple syrup, pumpkins and baked goods.
• Glen Helen This nature preserve is located near Antioch College in Yellow Springs and partially abuts John Bryan State Park. It features stone steps, waterfalls, lots of trees and a pine forest with moderate level hiking trails. Located at 405 Corry Street off U.S. 68/Xenia Road in Yellow Springs. This park, which allows dogs, has a nice nature center and parking is $2 per vehicle. I suggest you grab a trail map at the nature center or take a photo of the map at the kiosk with your phone as it's easy to get lost here since trails are unmarked. There will be a "Edible and Useful Plant" hike and learn from 4-6 p.m. Oct. 27 beginning at the Trailside Museum and an author lecture about "Arches and Pillars" in Ohio with a hike to follow to the pillar at Glen Helen, which meets Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Glen Helen Auditorium.
• John Bryan State Park Also located nearby is this state park with various trails, including a mountain bike trail. It also has a picnic grove and adjacent camp areas. It's a very popular hiking destination this time of year. It's a fairly easy hike.
• Clifton Gorge Clifton Gorge features more rocky terrain and scenic views with moderate level hiking. When I was young, we used to see rappellers/climbers on some of the cliffs going into the gorge (now prohibited) and there was a rope swing over the water. If Glen Helen and John Bryan are busy, or you like geological formations, you might want to hike here. Not too far off is Clifton Mill, which has a huge light display during the holidays.
If you like to ride your bike and it's not too cold for you, there are nice bike trails in the area. Also, as I mentioned, there's a mountain bike trail at John Bryan.
Downtown Yellow Springs is a nice walkable area with cute and unique shops and restaurants. There's even a record store, if you have a player and buy albums like me. It's definitely got a hippie and artsy vibe to it. Free parking is available along the strets and entrance into Yellow Springs off Rt. 68.
If you like antiques there are 3 antique malls off exit 62 heading West on I-70. Various weekends see a flea market and extravaganza at the Clark County Fairgrounds. A few antiques dealers also line the drive along Rt. 68 as well, but they're not that organized and you have to look through stuff a la American Pickers.
Located near U.S. 40 in Springfield, Westcott House, is a Frankl Lloyd Wright home that was once turned into apartments and has been restored. They offer tours daily and the guy in the gift shop said they sell out often and he definitely expects things to sell out next year when they build a solar house adjacent to the main property. The Westcott House also plans to give special, members-only tours in the future. Currently, they offer a lecture series and last night featured the work of Frank Packard, an architect who designed several homes in the Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff area. Lectures are $5 and tours are $15 for adults/$12 for seniors, students with valid ID and groups of 8 or more. Reservations highly recommended. To plan your visit, check out http://www.westcotthouse.org/.
A side view of the Westcott House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.