Road trip; Detroit to Cincinnati. Springfield, Yellow Springs, Clifton Gorge

20 Jun

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Our weekend destination was Cincinnati Ohio with a few stops along the way. We took I- 75 into Toledo, then followed the Scenic Maumee River to 235 South. Kris has a knack for taking the route less traveled from place to place, to him the ride should be as enjoyable as the destination. 235 is easy traveling, not a lot of traffic, plenty of curves, and pretty scenery, no cities to pass through here, only tiny hamlets and an abundance of farmland. At Bellefontaine we got on 68 and took it into Springfield Ohio.

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Springfield Ohio is located about mid-state and shares a similar history with Detroit. Route 40, a Historic National Road that began in Maryland near the Capitol, ended in Sprinfield for about 10 years before continuing westward. This made it very attractive to industrialists; from 1916 to 1926 10 automobile companies operated here. International Harvester was the leading employer building farm machinery and later trucks. The list of items produced here is staggering. Like many cities it has suffered as manufacturing continued to go overseas. Springfield is definitely a place worth visiting, remnants of the grandeur of days gone buy still remain in magnificent public buildings and grand homes. Wittenberg University, one of the most highly rated liberal arts universities in the nation can be found here. Frank Lloyd Wright’s only Prarie style home in the state of Ohio, the Westcott house, resides here as well and is open for tours. Be sure and visit the Heritage Center of Clark County, the architecture alone is worth the stop! Built in 1890 in the Romanesque style it was the original City Hall and Marketplace, oh what it must have been like to buy carrots and tomatoes in such surroundings! Exhibits were impressive; a 1920 Westcott Motor Car,  an old iron cannon, a horse drawn Champion Reaper, and several vintage International vehicles including a lumber truck and a Fire Truck. Signs from many of the local manufacturers hang from the ceiling emphasizing the prestige of this once industrial giant.The museum was much larger and even more interesting that we anticipated. Time to hit the road and find some lunch.

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Continuing south along 68 ,Yellow Springs, a tiny town of only 1.9 sq miles was our next stop. Founded in 1825 by a group of families  looking to create a Utopian community, part of that feeling still lingers, you might even say it has a hippie vibe.This is a haven for the Arts, galleries line the main thoroughfare along with cafes, modest sized shops and a cinema. Color coded trash cans dot the sidewalk urging you to sort and recycle your trash, words like local and organic are found on signs throughout town. Many restaurants offer outdoor seating overlooking Xenia Ave. Current Cuisine is a gourmet Deli we have eaten at many times, and did so again. There is a large selection of ready made food to choose from, everything looks appealing, so it’s hard to choose. A deli sandwich, salad, and an empanada did the trick for us. We took a stroll through town wandering in and out of shops enjoying the colorful mix of people you are bound to encounter while visiting. The Little Miami Bike Trail comes through Yellow Springs making it a welcomed stop for bicyclists.

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We veered off of 68 and went a short distance east on 343 to Clifton Gorge a state nature preserve. Also a regular stop for us when in this neck of the woods, it is a great way to stretch our legs and get some fresh air and exercise after being in the car for a prolonged time. Clifton Gorge is a spectacular example of post-glacial canyon cutting, sounds impressive doesn’t it? It is! The mile long scenic Gorge  trail takes you alongside the Little Miami Scenic River, showing off waterfalls and rapids along the way. Completely surrounded by multiple hues of green of the local flora everywhere you look is a photograph in waiting. Be sure and wear proper footwear as the trail can be slick, you will also traverse some rocky terrain and multiple steps cut into the stone. If you have the time and are feeling adventurous cross the footbridge and continue through John Bryan State Park, at the second footbridge cut back over and follow the original Pittsburgh-Cincinnati Stage Coach Route back. This is a 269 acre preserve that protects one of the most remarkable dolomite and limestone gorges in Ohio.

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Time had slipped away too quickly as usual, we got into Cincinnati, checked into our room located in the Northside district, then to Covington Ky for a (really) late dinner. We can always depend on Chez Nora for late night food and live music. The evening was warm with a slight breeze that beckoned us to dine on the rooftop. A view of the Cincinnati skyline, city lights shining against the night sky accompanied by good food, good music and good company. Goodnight.

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