Located about a half hr from Columbus, Oh to the West lies one of the most interesting and exciting communities I've ever visited. With a population of only 4,000, Yellow Springs is small but culturally diverse, and the people are open and friendly. It is a Mecca of the counterculture and the bohemian philosophy, and I loved every minute I was there.
Yellow Springs was founded in the 1800's around the actual springs, and was a popular destination because of the waters supposed healing properties with resorts, hotels and spas for the travelers convenience. The resorts and spas are gone but the spring is still there as well as many other outdoor activities for the enthusiast. It is surrounded by beautiful parks including John Bryan State Park, Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve and Glen Helen that offer numerous bike paths, including one that is 69 miles and runs all the way to Cincinnati. The Little Miami River is a thing of beauty cutting a gorge through limestone offering small waterfalls, fishing, canoeing and other activities. The outdoor enthusiast finds a diverse set of activities and settings to quench their thirst, but that's not all to do in Yellow Springs.
The downtown area is filled with small, independently owned shops that offer a nice chance from our corporate consumer world. It is like being in a time warp to be in such a small community, but one that offers 4-5 bookstores, a couple music stores, and various new age shops and other culturally based stores. There are over 40 stores and shops total in the downtown area, all within a short stroll so please go spend the day and check them all out. I liked them all, so naming favorites doesn't work here but I can safely say there is something for everybody.
For the person seeking sustenance, Yellow Springs also stands out from it's small population to offer the dining experience of a much larger city. I had lunch at the Sunrise Café' and it was simply delicious. They offer a wide range of breakfast food, sandwiches as well as steaks and other heavier meals. The Winds Café is also worth a look as it boasts a large wine cellar and delicious food. Gypsy Café offers Latin, Carribean and Mediterranean food for the person seeking something a little more spicy and flavorful. I stopped with a friend for coffee in Dinos Cappuccinos, a Dean Martin themed coffee shop and one of 4 or 5 total in the small community. The service was great, the people friendly and the coffee hot and delicious. Peachs Grill serves a great meal, but is known more for it's micro brews and it's live music. Recent visitors to perform are Richie Havens and Acoustic Hookah. There are many more restaurants and coffee shops to check out so please take the time to try many of them.
Within walking distance of the downtown area lies Antioch college, a small but beautiful liberal college. I walked the campus which offered the student a diverse and comfortable environment, and even went in some of the buildings. I went upstairs in the Student Union to find wall to wall graffiti, which was at once awe inspiring and menacing. If you didn't know it was a college you would turn and run for fear of your safety, but the safe environment allows you to study the art form and enjoy it. They also have an alternative library on campus which was closed but certainly peaked my interest. Art is one of the driving factors in the community and I love that. The downtown theater offers both new movies at times, but mostly arty films and small film festivals. There are numerous galleries in the downtown area and their library is top notch. There are too many organizations here to name, but let me just say that the community of 4000 are all either artistically inclined or most of them enjoy it so there is a community you can join for any type of artistic expression.
I can't really explain properly how much I loved Yellow Springs, I never can for the really great places. For Strangeroad though, this is Mecca, a small community that offers all the great things about a big city artistically. As I said, I've never seen a place with so many bookstores per capita and I loved it. Please visit Yellow Springs if you are like me and long for the community and brotherhood of the 60's and 70's. The people are nice, the outdoor activities are numerous, and the food and drink are delicious. I can't wait to go back.
By Tyler CaseySend us your comments on this article