Warren County is known as Ohio’s Largest Playground, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun for grown-ups, too. Au contraire! Those of us who grew up in Southwest Ohio (nearby Dayton for me) have known this secret for years – Warren County is a great destination for a girlfriend, re-charge, re-group, re-connect, or grown-up getaway.
PLAY, SHOP & EXPLORE
My ideal getaway can change with my mood. Sometimes I want a back-to-nature weekend. In Warren County, that means canoeing on the Little Miami Scenic River, fossil hunting at Caesar Creek State Park, and zip lining at Ozone Zipline Adventures. Now, you may not immediately think of a zip line as a nature experience, but thanks to the location and informative guides, it most definitely is at Ozone.
When I lived in Indianapolis, I enjoyed a trek to Waynesville and Lebanon for an antiques shopping odyssey. You can spend an entire weekend in these two towns exploring tiny stores or larger antique “malls”. The area has deep Shaker roots, so you naturally find items of that nature, but they are often right alongside colonial, art deco, and retro 70’s finds.
Even before we had our son, my husband and I enjoyed trips to Kings Island – frequently, in fact! There is something relaxing and rejuvenating about leaving your cares and stress behind as you become a kid again on giant roller coasters or a ride where you are competing to blast the most ghosts. So leave your cares (and cell phone!) behind and scream and giggle your way through the day.
When we travel, we prefer to eat at locally-owned restaurants. There are several in Warren County offering a wide range of cuisines. Since everyone has different tastes, let me just share a few personal favorites. For pizza – my go-to is Bentino’s in Waynesville. We love their Greek pizza, calzones, and garlic knots.
For fine dining our recent rediscovery and new favorite is, ironically, the oldest continually operating Inn in Ohio – The Golden Lamb. The ownership has made some changes over recent years, retaining some of the historic favorites (such as their fried chicken and Sister Lizzie’s Sugar Shaker pie) while adding new flavors and recipes that keep customers such as us coming back for more. Maybe this is also why they are consistently voted Best of Warren County.
For a change of pace, another fun dining experience for us is Valley Vineyards. The Vineyards and winery are great to explore and offer various tastings. And the weekend cookouts (grill your own steak or salmon) are perfect for couples or groups wanting a relaxing way to wrap up the day.
When you want to escape the everyday, you want to make sure you can sleep well at night. That means different things for different people. Luckily there are numerous lodging options in the area, from chain to independent hotels and motels to unique and historic B&Bs to cabins and campsites. I love antiques and my husband loves history, so two good options for us are Hammel House in Waynesville and The Golden Lamb in Lebanon. Both offer comfy accommodations and are centrally located to area attractions.
Located right between Dayton and Cincinnati, Warren County is easily accessible for most everyone in the Midwest and on the East coast. There is more than enough to do to keep you busy for a weekend or a week. Isn’t it about time for recess?