Ice Cream Chronicles (Year 5): Four Scoops Along State Route 3

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the 1879-built
Wayne County Courthouse stands proudly in downtown Wooster.
Although the completion of Interstate 71 through Ohio didn't officially finish up until 1975, the freeway had usurped State Route 3 as the major route used to travel between Ohio's "Big C" cities years prior. However, the gains in terms of travel time for the new freeway sacrificed some of that bucolic countryside charm and small town atmosphere of its parallel highway neighbor, which was first established by state officials back in 1923.

On a recent travel day along Route 3, with summer heat and humidity in full effect outside, it was probably no surprise that ice cream quickly rose to the forefront of my mind. And considering the brutal conditions, it was probably no surprise that I double double dipped this day.

Signs of the Times: A Little Downtown Columbus Restaurant History

LeVeque Tower provides a lovely backdrop for this pathway along the
Scioto Mile, a green space respite from the concrete of downtown Columbus
In the course of everyday life, even the simple things can your day go better. In terms of Downtown Columbus, something that initially was quite helpful early in my orientation to this area has slowly become a curious combination of light annoyance and culinary history.  But as I recently discovered, signs of change (or is it changes in signs) are on the horizon.

The Old Man and the C(offee): Hemingway's Coffee Nook

Part of the Poindexter Village staircase mural at the
Columbus Metropolitan Library, as depicted by renowned
local artist Animah Robinson
Depending on your particular likings, your high school English class was either right in your vocabulary zone or something you dreaded during the school week. It may surprise you to find out that as a regular blogger the past four-plus years, I had a middling attitude toward English class, especially in comparison to things like science- and math-related classes, which I was far more enthusiastic about back then.

This middling attitude could be swung drastically in either direction if we were venturing into novels and literature. I came to dread novels from William Faulkner and F. Scott Fitzgerald, while books from George Orwell and John Steinbeck were guaranteed page-turners for me. Then there was the vast middle of works which were more shrug-inducing than anything, such as the numerous plays of Shakespeare or the stories of Ernest Hemingway.

I admit I don't read too much of that type of literature these days, but at the very least the notion of Hemingway has evolved from the middling to the desirable, at least when it comes to coffee.

Hole Foods and Jim-nastics: Weekend in Butler County (Pt. 3)

(As noted in my previous two posts, our trip to Butler County was sponsored by the Butler County Visitors Bureau. Our immense thanks go to them for hosting us; all opinions on the places we visited are ours alone.)

The Homer Price Doughnut Machine, located on the east side of
Municipal Brew Works, is part of a mural dedicated to Hamilton-based
illustrator/writer Robert McCloskey
Donuts....I mean, come on, who doesn't like donuts?

When I heard that the Butler County Visitors Bureau was launching a Donut Trail in 2016, I thought that was a pretty novel idea that they heard from somewhere. Except here, this doesn't appear to be the case at all; when I tried to find another similar promo on the Internet, I found basically a big old (donut) hole.

Yes, you have all manner of trails around the country: the Columbus Ale Trail is but one of many adult beverage trails around the country; an ice cream trail tempts you both in New Hampshire and close to home here in Hilliard; buffalo wings provide the heat in (where else?) Buffalo, NY; and a Green Chile and a Boudin trail give you a delicious direction in New Mexico and Southwest Louisiana, respectively.

The promo appears to be a perfect fit too, as Butler County is said to have more donut shops per capita than anywhere else in the country. So yes, we were absolutely, positively, without a doubt going to explore at least a portion of this dozen-strong sweet treat contingent before we left.

Brews and 'Ques Deluxe: Weekend in Butler County (Pt. 2)

(As noted in my previous post, our trip to Butler County was sponsored by the Butler County Visitors Bureau. Our immense thanks go to them for hosting us; all opinions on the places we visited are ours alone.)

A statue of Alexander Hamilton straddles High Street in downtown Hamilton
We are already fans of the Marriott hotel chain from our previous travel experiences: we have found their service to be solid and their beds uniformly comfortable across all brands. The Butler County Visitors Bureau put us up in their Courtyard location in downtown Hamilton for the weekend, and this experience turned out to be as good as any others we've had with them.

Added bonuses include this hotel's central location for all things Butler County as well as its location right across the street from Municipal Brew Works, a place we detailed in this previous blogpost. We took our trip one week before their first anniversary celebration, but if our down moment visits during our stay are any indication (lots of foot traffic and solid brews across the board), they'll have plenty more anniversaries to celebrate.

The Towns Where It Happens: Weekend in Butler County (Pt. 1)

A lovely sunset greeted us on our first night of travels through Ohio's Butler County
Confession: when the Butler County Visitors Bureau offered to host my spouse and I for a weekend exploring this county nestled just north of Cincinnati, I was a little nervous.

Granted, I had relayed the things we typically like to pursue so the Bureau could put together an agenda, but this was a complete change from the norm for me. Ever since we started traveling together, I was pretty much the de facto vacation planner. I asked my spouse for input, but generally speaking she trusted my instincts in terms of the places we would like to visit, see, and eat at.

When we received the agenda, I was pleasantly surprised. Many of the places we would've sought out together were on there, with one or two "Oh, nice, I would've never sussed that out" destinations. Overall, the staff at the Visitors Bureau did a fine job of planning a great weekend for us, and we're incredibly thankful to them for inviting us out.

Evolution of a Mission: Mission Coffee

When Mission Coffee opened up in October of 2012 in the Short North, they had joined a coffee scene whose quality and general public awareness was under the radar to most folks outside the immediate area. Things have changed immensely since that debut for Mission and the Columbus coffee scene, however. Slowly but surely, the quality of the Columbus coffee scene has received notice on a national scale, as exampled by this March 2018 article by USA Today

Add in an appealing incentive in the Columbus Coffee Experience, a coffee trail featuring some of the best area coffee purveyors, as well as by an influx of new roasters such as Florin, Ramble and Bacca joining established members like Thunderkiss, Stauf's and Crimson Cup in creating a wealth of beans for the local consumer to sample, and you have the definition of a burgeoning scene. In its own right, Mission has tapped into this momentum to become one of the city's best coffee experiences.