A Day in Yellow Springs; The Perfect Itinerary

08 April 2013

For the first beautiful day of spring my friend and I decided to make a day-trip to Yellow Springs, Ohio. You've either A) never heard of this town or B) correlate this town with one word: hippies.

Well, yes, B is pretty true. Yellow Springs is one of the most liberal and funky towns you will ever come across. The people are extremely friendly, the buildings are bright, energizing colors, there are posters for tribal African belly dancing lessons, and music fills the air as musician jam out on the sidewalk.

Something about the sense of community and relaxing lifestyle that the citizens embrace is so refreshing from my life of nonstop working and studying. This town has held a special place in my heart ever since I first visited when I was 16 years old so I knew I had to go back again. This time I take you with me as I show you the perfect day itinerary so that you can experience all of Yellow Springs!

Late Morning


When we first got into town it was about time for lunch and we hadn't eaten anything yet that day. We stepped into Sunrise Cafe which was packed and had an hour wait. Though the menu looked amazing we went back out onto the street and ended up chatting with a local. After talking about the beautiful weather, he advised us that the place to go if we wanted good food would be Ye Olde Trail Tavern.


As you can see, the tavern is the oldest building in Yellow Springs and the second oldest restaurant in all of Ohio. This tavern had a home-y log cabin look but also had a lovely patio where my friend and I enjoyed our food and the spring weather. For my meal I wanted to try something I'd never had before so chose to get the fried bologna. Doesn't that sound so American? The food was great and soooo filling. As well, our incredibly sweet waitress made the experience all the nicer!


After your meal, enjoy a jaunt around the town and check out all the beautiful and unique shops. You can go to eco-friendly grocery stores, buy locally produced art and clothing, get a tarot card reading, or just stock up on your incense. The actual downtown area is very small (just two streets) and can be toured thoroughly in a hours time. Also, keep an eye out for yarn bombings and beautiful graffiti around the streets. Don't be afraid to go behind buildings and down alleys to find little troves of amazing guerrilla art.

Afternoon

Next you've got to head to Glen Helen, an amazing and immense nature reserve, so you that you can see the spring for which the city was named. And, being that it's a natural spring, you can drink right from it! Check that of my bucket list! The water was cool, fresh, and tasted slightly of metal. I was informed later that the spring water is rich with iron and this is also the reason the rocks around it are colored orange.


Besides the spring, there are many other features to enjoy at Glen Helen. Check out the old dam, visit the raptor rehabilitation center, see Hopewell Indian mounds, get lost in the pine grove, or relax by the cascades. Come here in the height of summer to enjoy all the green foliage!



Next, cross the street and head over to Antioch College. This adorable campus is small and cozy and can be toured in a short amount of time. Pop inside the buildings if you can and check out the awesome graffitted walls of the dorms. This extremely liberal liberal arts school is so cute, I could transfer there now!

Evening

After that, head on over to Young's Jersey Dairy to check out a working dairy farm. Besides petting baby cows and goats there are lots of other activities. This is a great stop for families as there are batting cages, putt putt golf, and a playground to entertain children.



Or just enjoy the amazing food! They're known for their milkshakes but also offer all kinds of other confections and have a bakery as well. I got sea salt caramel ice cream in a chocolate dipped waffle cone. Yum! After that we went to the store and picked up some fresh cheese as well as a delicious cranberry honey mustard. I highly recommend it!




We decided to finish our day in Yellow Springs in a relaxing manner. First we stopped into the lovely book shop Dark Star Books. They have a great collection of modern books and comics as well as older, rare books. It was great fun perusing through their collections and reading old books on fashion (Ugh, 90's! What were you thinking??) After that we sat at a table along the sidewalk and enjoyed our cheese while listening to street musicians in the warm spring air. I couldn't think of a more perfect ending!


What do you think? What would you like to do in Yellow Springs?


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46 comments

  1. Replies
    1. It was! I wish I could have shared more pictures to show how fun the city was!

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  2. I want to go! I cant believe I've never hear of this place!!!

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    1. Yeah, it doesn't seem to be very well known outside of the immediate area.

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  3. I'm part of group a and have never heard of this place before but it looks like a hidden gem!

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    1. Hidden drug users too. Dont be fooled

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    2. I'm pretty sure that's every city now a days!

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  4. You had the perfect Yellow Springs day. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences. Yellow Springs is a hidden gem in southwest Ohio. And in addition to all of the great destinations mentioned, we have a year full of festivals and other events. Anyone wanting more information about Yellow Springs should check out the website, https://www.YellowSpringsOhio.org or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/YellowSpringsOH

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    1. Yes, I hope to be able to come back for the street fair some time!

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  5. Yellow springs is such an amazing little town! My husband and I go there regularly to relax and de-stress. Our first visit was about 5 years ago, and as we were driving through town, there was a huge tree covered in brightly colored yarn! It was as if they had knitted the tree a sweater! I fell instantly in love. I later learned that yarn bombing happens elsewhere, too, but at times, it seems the entire town is full of knitted, artsy goodness. Every time we go, we look for apartments or houses for rent. It's my dream to live in Yellow Springs full time.

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    1. Yes, the yarn bombing is adorable!! When I first visited Yellow Springs I was applying to colleges and absolutely fell in love with Antioch. Too bad it closed right as I was about to apply!

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    2. Thought you like to know that you can still attend Antioch. The College has been up and running for a while now & is going gang-busters. Applications are accepted year-round. For more info: http://antiochcollege.org/about

      I had the pleasure of raising my children in Yellow Springs. The Village has great schools, great towns-people & its an all-around great place to live and enjoy life!

      BTW: This is a really lovely article that you have written about your visit to Yellow Springs. Nice story-telling and fun pix. Cheers to you!!!!

      Idella, Antioch Class of '90

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    3. After-thought: I decided to check out the rest of your blog, I found it to be very nice and fun too. I had the pleasure to travel abroad during college as you have and then as an International Educator regarding program development for Antioch College. I just want to applaud you once again for the fine job you have done in writing about your travels and for including Yellow Springs with high regards. And now that I have read through your blog, I am only sorry to find out that you are about to graduate and that Antioch will no longer have an opportunity to claim you as a future alumni. Perhaps you have a sibling or friend you'd like to direct our way :-).... And please do come back to visit, Often :-)
      Idella (now from Springfield, OH...just down the road from the Village of Yellow Springs)

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    4. Yes, sadly I've gotten old and missed my chance to attend Antioch College! But thanks for giving my blog a read. I'm glad you found it entertaining :) All this positive response is great! Just proves my point that Yellow Springs is the best!

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  6. Yellow Springs! The only place where you can smoke weed and people know. IMagine if it was Dayton. Bunch of druggies live in yellow springs too

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    1. Actually, if you do see people dressed like hippies and doing drugs in town those are the tourists. Stay classy anonymous.

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    2. you are not informed very well my friend ppl dont just toke in the streets, have lived here my whole life,and yours is a common misconception!

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    3. Yellow Springs definitely isn't the only place to smoke weed so I don't know where you're getting that from >.>

      And there definitely was no one toking in the streets so that statement is just pure fantasy.

      Also, I think you seem to be aligning the consumption of pot with being a bad person which I personally do not find this statement to always to be true. Some good people smoke weed. Some awful people are completely drug free!

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    4. Rich hipsters who charge to much for lil candy in their lil stores and talk bad about tourist walking by.

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  7. Cynthia Bretz-SterlingApril 11, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    My Love and I got married in Yellowsprings! Love that Hippie Town!

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    1. That's totally do able! Many people get married in the Pine Forest in Glen Helen. It's beautiful!

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    2. My Beloved and I just got married at the Corner Cone in Yellow Springs...it's where we met at a Street Fair two years ago whilst I was playing music on their stage and he was taking photos. We live here in YS now...and love every moment of it. Thank you for writing this beautiful piece about our wonderful Village. It really is a special and amazing place!

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    3. Aww, that's awesome! Sorry I read the first comment wrong, I thought you said you would like to get married in YS but you've already done that, haha! That's a very sweet story, congrats!

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  8. I would add Ohio Silver to the list. It's a gem of a jewelry shop like none other. It's been there 40+ years and is next door to The Little Art Theater.....another cool place.I love YS!!

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    1. Yes, I did go there! I was so tempted to buy a piece but I'm trying to limit my shopping lately, haha.

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  9. Truly a magical place. A small town with a mixture of a place time forgot and a place for the future. Ever changing and never changing. Always an adventure. In June and October they have a Street Fair. Something to put on your Bucket List.

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    1. You described Yellow Springs perfectly! I really do need to go back for the street fair!

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  10. I'm lucky enough to live only 5 minutes from YS. I love spending every Sunday there having lunch at The Winds Cafe and shopping. There is always something new going on.

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    1. Yes, I loved that there's so much to do in this little town! There were so many posters for hikes, lectures and art shows. So awesome!

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  11. Love, Love, Love this place. We visit it as often as possible. S. Shaffer

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    1. It's great! I really want to go back when Glen Helen is a little more green!

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  12. Ohio Silver is my favorite place.

    You missed another wonderful restaurant, "The Winds". If you ever visit YS again, make sure you have lunch or dinner there.

    The last time I was home, my friend and I ate at the Tavern - their burgers are the best.

    I grew up in a town a few miles from there; it was the best years of my life - growing up.

    Wonderful review!

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    1. Thank you! I did see the Winds so I'll have to go there next time!

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  13. I grew up in Yellow Springs in the 60s and 70s. Smoked pot 1x (didn't like it), fell in love with God (lifelong affair), still love the town -- the combination of proximity to the woods, support for creativity, interest in ideas that rubs off even if you aren't a professor's kid was - is - amazing.

    Don't know if it is still the same way, but another thing this honkey loved was growing up in a small town with non-polarized racial diversity. The town was about 20% black. Several of the black families went back many generations. Most of the black families in the suburban neighborhood across the street from us were professional families. And this diversity led to an influx of professional families of other ethnicities. That doesn't mean that people of color in Yellow Springs did not experience racism, or that I don't (still) struggle with my own racism, but I do find that my perceptions of race are differently shaped than those of many. The small town where I live now is half an hour from a large college "town"/city, mostly white, and the diversity is hidden (some interracial marriages and adoptions, but the handful of families where both partners are people of color is quite small). Here it is almost like you need some proximity to "whiteness" to legitimate you or make you welcome.

    I understand that the town is less diverse now, and that's a real shame. I cannot think of a better place to have grown up.

    - Caro

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    1. I grew up in a town that was 98% white so I definitely understand the need for diversity. I'm glad you had a positive experience growing up in Yellow Springs. I think I found the place I want to move when I'm finally done traveling!

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  14. I have lived in Yellow Springs for 20 years.It is interesting to read the opinions of visitors.I don't know any druggies ,though I have heard others say that about us. YS is a liberal ,nonjudgmental place. Most of my friends are hard working creative types trying to support ourselves with our art.
    If any of my friends used pot ,it would have to be organic ,and baked into gluten free brownies {,we don't smoke},but it would still be expensive.

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    1. Lol, that last bit. Glad t hear so many positive voices about Yellow Springs!

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  15. I've lived in YS for 30 years. If you come to visit try to spend more than one day, because there is a lot to do, especially on the weekends. Check out the chamber of commerce calendar before you come. Yes, people smoke pot, but not on the streets; news flash!-- people smoke pot in many cities and towns. Almost no locals wear tie-dyed shirts. A few locals are barefoot much of the year. People live here because they want to and are ok not being dependent on a "mall" culture. There are lots of great artists, much live music, wonderful areas to enjoy nature, miles of bike trails and plenty of good food. We raised 2 kids here and loved that it was safe for them to ride bikes to school, the library and the local pool. We camped at the state park and they went to summer camp in Glen Helen. People are friendly and helpful. If you live here you will say hello to many of the people you see in at the market and on the street, and get to know lots of them by name.In an increasingly paranoid and anonymous world, it's a great place to call home!

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    1. Thanks for clearing up some of those misconceptions about Yellow Springs. It's a wonderful city! I can't wait to go back again!

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  16. I so enjoyed reading your blog entry and how your visit went :)

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  17. I was born and reaised in YS and experienced all that is written. Everyone thinks of YS as this little radical leftist community when actually it was a republican strong hold back in the day. George Dewine was the coner stone of the republican party in Green county and his grand son is the attorney general of the state.

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    1. Wow, really? I would have never guessed that!

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  18. So great to hear about these places, really they do not get enough attention. While there for work, I found Asheville, NC to be a fairly hippie town.

    It's Beautiful too, being wedged in the mountains, I tell people about it all the time.

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    1. Yeah, my mom went to Asheville for a concert and said she loved the town. It seems really nice!

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