I love traveling and exploring new places. What I don’t love however is having responsibilities so that I can’t travel every weekend. Luckily there are places here in my home state of Ohio like Butler County that I can visit and have an awesome time, without ever really being far away from my home! Butler County is located right between Cincinnati and Dayton, and in my opinion has the best parts of a metro city plus the small town charm and community. We had such a wonderful time there. Get ready for lots of photos folks!
I had never been to Butler County so I was pretty excited to hit the road with my Dad and my brother, Nathan. It also happened to be my Dad’s birthday, so it was the perfect occasion to get out of town and have fun with my family! Luckily the Butler County Visitors Bureau hooked us up with an itinerary and suggestions of places to check out, so we were set!
We arrived pretty late in the day and stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Hamilton. We stayed here for our whole trip and loved it. It was a fabulous hotel, with wonderful staff (not to mention a wonderful restaurant!) and a killer view! We were able to admire the sunsets on the Great Miami River from our room, which was an awesome way to end the days. They also had an awesome brewery and taco truck right across the street from us. I knew it was fate, and I was all over that taco truck!
One of the great things they have in Butler County is the Donut Trail! Naturally, it involved donuts, so my family and I were down to glaze that trail (Get it?)! The whole idea is that you go to each of the local donut shops and bakeries with your Donut Trail Passport, and try the different shops (and donuts!). It lets you get a feel and vibe for each shop as well as taste all of the delicious goodies. As you go around, each shop will stamp your passport. Once you visit all of the shops, you can mail in your passport, and get a super cute Donut Trail T-shirt! The shirt will also get you some perks at local places as well!
We thought that we would be hardcore enough to visit all of the shops, but we were not. We stopped at 5 of them, and went to heaven with every bite of their treats. Our favorite of the ones that we tried was definitely Jupiter Coffee & Donuts, but The Donut House was a runner-up for sure. The Maple Bacon Donut was DELISH! The Donut House also had the best coffee according to my Dad, and I loved their vibe, as you can tell by the thousand photos I took in their shop. I also loved that you could custom fill the donuts right there at their shop! We had a blast getting to know the area and trying the shops and seeing how each of them had their own unique style & recipes. For foodies like us, it was the perfect way to spend the morning.
After the Donut Trail, we explored even more food at Jungle Jim’s International Market! I swear we could make a whole day in this place, just trying different things and seeing everything they have to offer. We had a tour with our friends at the bureau and they showed us many of the exciting things they had there including a sushi bar, giant cheese, fresh seafood, and a host of international foods. The decor is also super eclectic and fun which I like. If you look around there’s always something interesting to see. The owner collects a lot of eclectic things from old amusement parks etc and incorporates it into the store. It makes it a lot of fun, and even more fun to explore. We ended up taking quite a few things back with us to try!
After stopping at all of those foodie havens, we burned off some of those calories we ate at the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park &Museum! As an artist I was really excited to check out the artwork and explore what they had. I loved that they had and “art cart” as well so that you can ride around and look at the sculptures. It was a huge place, and filled with lots of artwork incorporated into nature. It was so nice and peaceful out there. We spent a lot of time just sitting in different places out there and enjoying the beautiful day.
We wrapped up our first day there with some lunch at Jolly’s Drive in, who had some seriously awesome root beer, and floats! We definitely took some for the road, and then headed to the WEB Extreme Entertainment. This is a kids paradise man, they have pretty much everything a kid could want including an arcade, bowling, laser tag, and an indoor go-kart track. It made us big kids pretty happy as well. We spent our time there playing some arcade games, oh and racing go carts! I hadn’t been in one in years and it’s still a lot of fun, although I almost couldn’t make it out. It was a lot easier to get up from the ground when I was younger lol. After wearing out the energy we had left, we retired to the hotel after some delicious snacks from the Plaza One Grille.
Our next day there we really hit the trail early to get some breakfast at the High Street Cafe. This was by far my Dad & brothers favorite place we ate and they served the perfect breakfast. Everything was homemade from scratch even down to the biscuits, and the staff there were more than awesome. I’m a weirdo and I tend to not eat breakfast food, so I opted for their Canadian Wrap, which was awesome as well! We also loved the feel of the restaurant which sold antiques as well. It was a really cool concept and we loved browsing their wares after we ate. I even found something to take home to my grandma!
We then met up with a tour group touring the Benninghofen House with the ladies from the Butler County Historical Society. We got to not only learn about the historical Benninghofen House, but also about the history of Hamilton itself, and everyday life in the era the house was lived in. As people interested in history and learning we were thrilled! We learned a lot of things we didn’t know before and the ladies who gave the tour were super engaging and knowledgeable. I’ve been on tours before that were super boring, but these ladies really knew their stuff! Even the kids that were touring also were super engaged and ready to learn. It was a beautiful house, with a lot of the original furniture and items from the periods it was lived in, and also items donated to the historical society. It was amazing to see how people lived and how society was in the past.
After appreciating the beautiful Benninghofen House we went down to Two Little Buds, a local florist shop in the area. I love flowers and gardening, so we stopped to meet the owners, learn a little more about their business, and take some photos. The shops namesake is in reference to the mother daughter team who owns the shop. They were sweet people who were willing to answer all of our questions. They have their own flower farm as well, which is where they source their blooms. I wish we could have went later in the year when they do their amazing flower workshops as well!
Our last stop before heading home was the Barn-N-Bunk Farm Market. It was a sweet little farmers market that had lots of fresh produce, handmade goods, a restaurant, and ice cream! I was VERY excited about them serving Velvet Ice Cream there! We loved looking around and exploring everything. I would definitely love to come back in the middle of summer when they have an even bigger selection of produce and the place is really hopping. They have tons of workshops and pottery classes on the weekend that would be awesome to check out.
That about wraps up our trip to Butler County Ohio! Since it was so close to home we made it back before the end of the night. We saw so many more things that we want to check out, that we’re dying to go back. I really want to experience all of the international restaurants that we saw there. I swear there was a restaurant for every type of food you could want, and I loved that. They also have such a vibrant downtown area in Hamilton and other cities in Butler County, and we’re eager to visit those as well. When we go back, you can bet there will be another blog post to go with it. *wink.
If you want to see more of our days in the BC, head over to my Instagram and check out my stories!
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