Uncover a waterfall at downtown Dublin park

There’s a small, hidden park with a waterfall in the middle of historic downtown Dublin.

I didn’t know about it until recently, and I wonder how many people do.

Indian Run Falls makes a perfect picnic spot, photo op or place to skip rocks, concealed from the businesses along High and Bridge streets in Old Dublin.

Once the stomping grounds of Native Americans in the area, the park features walking trails, picnic shelters and observation decks overlooking a gorge and stream with a series of cascades.

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One entrance to the park is near the Dublin Library at 75 N. High St. My children and I, though, entered via a parking lot at 700 Shawan Falls Dr.

We walked along a dirt path, passing a field of wildflowers, to an observation deck. It was tough to see the waterfalls from atop the gorge because of the trees, so we descended a staircase to the creek below.

There were no signs telling you to stay out of the water, but common sense says it’s probably a good idea. Wearing water shoes, my son walked in the shallow stream, venturing farther than I wanted him to go. Not knowing where the stream led, I jumped into the water wearing my tennis shoes and went after him. This was by far the most exciting part of this adventure! I quickly retrieved him and held his hand from then on.

Otherwise, this park is low-key, best kept as a secret. So, shhh.

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Prime picking time for farmers markets

One of the best things about summer in Ohio is the bounty of fruits and vegetables. There’s nothing like a sun-ripened tomato, picked fresh from the vine. Even better is dicing it up and combining it with peeled cucumbers, strips of basil and a freshly made vinaigrette for a tasty summertime salad.

You can find these ingredients and more at the many farm markets sprouting up this time of year in central Ohio. I recently visited the farmers market in the Columbus neighborhood of Clintonville, held each Saturday from April through November.

Vendors from around Ohio set up temporary shops along N. High Street, offering fruits, vegetables, pastries, jams, honey and flowers. The farmers grow their produce within 75 miles of Columbus, so it’s made for flavor — not made to survive long trips on trucks or trains.

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Here is a brief look at some of the many farm markets around central Ohio:

Bexley Farmers Market: 4-7 p.m., Thursdays, May through October, Bexley City Hall, 2111 E. Main St., Bexley. Learn more: www.bexleyfarmersmarket.com.

Canal Winchester Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-noon., Saturdays, May through October, Main Street in downtown Canal Winchester. Learn more: www.thecwfm.com.

Clintonville Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, April through November; and 4-7 p.m., Wednesdays, June through August, west side of N. High Street between Orchard Lane and W. Dunedin Road, Columbus. Learn more: www.clintonvillefarmersmarket.org.

Delaware Farmers Market: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturdays; 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays, May through October, Sandusky Street, downtown Delaware. Learn more: www.mainstreetdelaware.com/farmers-market.

Dublin Farmers Market: 3:30-6:30 p.m.., Wednesdays, May through September, Oakland Nursery, 4261 W. Dublin-Granville Rd., Dublin. Learn more: www.dublinfarmersmarket.com.

Franklinton’s Market at 400: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturdays (biweekly), year round, 400 W. Rich St., Columbus. Learn more: 400westrich.com.

Grandview Avenue Farmers Market: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturdays, July through October, 1371 Grandview Ave., Grandview Heights.

Grove City Farmers Market: 8 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, April through October, Grove City Town Center, at the corners of Park Street and Broadway.

Hilliard Farm Market: 4-7 p.m., Tuesdays, June through September, parking lots at the corner of Wayne and Center streets, Hilliard. Learn more: hilliardfarmmarket.com.

Jefferson Township Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, June through September, Jefferson Community Park, 7494 Clark State Rd., Blacklick.

Lancaster Farmers Market: 8 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, May through October, Government Services parking lot, 239 W. Main St., Lancaster. Learn more: www.lancasterohfarmersmarket.org.

Pearl Market: 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesdays and Fridays, May through October, Pearl Alley, one block north of the Ohio Statehouse, downtown Columbus. Learn more: downtowncolumbus.com/pearlmarket.

Powell Farmers Market: 9 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, May through October, City of Powell Municipal Building, 47 Hall St., Powell.

Reynoldsburg Farmers Market: 3-6 p.m., Thursdays, June through August, Huber Park, 7300 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg.

Worthington Farmers Market: 8 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, May through October; 9 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, November through April (indoors), downtown Olde Worthington. Learn more: worthingtonfarmersmarket.blogspot.com.

Upper Arlington Farmers Market: 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays, May through September, Upper Arlington Senior Center, 1945 Ridgeview Rd.

Uptown Westerville Farmers Market: 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays, May through October, N. State and E. Home roads, Westerville. Learn more: www.marketwednesday.com.

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Runway restaurant in Urbana serves up aerial delights and delectable pies

After visiting the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve in Urbana, we headed to a place that I had read about on the Web: Doug and Michele’s Airport Cafe at Grimes Field in Urbana.

It was recommended as the only place to eat in Urbana on a Sunday. I also read that it’s always crowded. Sure enough, when we arrived, the cafe was open and crowded.

It’s not the fanciest joint, just a lackluster building off Main Street. But it’s near the airport runway, and the full parking lot at this time of day meant that it was the real deal.

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Grimes Field is Urbana’s municipal airport. It’s named for Warren Grimes, who is described as “father of the aircraft lighting industry.” As the story goes, Grimes was working as a lighting contractor in Detroit with his brother when Henry Ford approached him to create a light for the Ford Tri-Motor airplane, aka “The Tin Goose.”

Two days later, Ford adopted his design, and Grimes eventually employed 1,300 to produce the lights at a factory in Urbana.

This success led the city to name the airfield after Grimes when it opened in 1943. It remains operational and also houses the Champaign Aviation Museum. You can take flying lessons there, or just sit and watch the small planes take off and land.

The restaurant menu is an interesting mix of salads, burgers, omelets and dinners with surprising specials including bison and ostrich meat, which come from a nearby farm.

We sat outside and ordered mac and cheese and chocolate milk for Max, who especially enjoyed watching a steady stream of small planes taxiing the runway.

Michele, one of the owners, waited on us and said that people regularly fly in from all over the country to eat their homemade pies, made with local berries and apples. Like the restaurant, the black raspberry pie and butterscotch pie, at $2.79 a hearty slice, were the real deal.

The Airport Cafe is located at 1636 N. Main St., Urbana, Ohio. Hours are listed on the menu as 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; and 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sunday. It’s closed on Monday.

For more information, call 937-652-2010 or visit www.urbanaohio.com/grimes-field/airport-cafe.html.

Learn about our trip to the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve.

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View rare plants and animals at protected swampland

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, and my husband and I had just dropped off Rosie for a play date. With nothing else to do, we decided to take our son, Max, on a driving adventure.

We made our destination Urbana, Ohio, for a walk in the woods and lunch with flying colors.

The first stop was Cedar Bog Nature Preserve, about an hour’s drive west of Columbus. The bog is a haven for rare plants and animals common after the Ice Age, such as small purple foxglove, leathery grape fern and the blue-spotted salamander.

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Created about 18,000 years ago when glaciers retreated, the bog is one of 58 designated “Historic Sites” in Ohio that’s overseen and protected by the Ohio Historical Society.

A mile-long boardwalk guides visitors through the 450-acre preserve.

When we arrived, the visitors center, which offers displays and a gift shop, was closed but a sign stated the boardwalk was open. A $5 donation is suggested and can be deposited in a box on a post.

It was fun walking on the narrow boardwalk. It starts in a marshland then leads into the woods. The warm, swampy atmosphere made it feel like we were in Florida.

We soon learned, though, that the seclusion came at a price — the woodsy areas of the path were populated by swarming mosquitos at 2 in the afternoon. So we jogged along the majority of the path, slowing down at openings in the woods. If you go during times of high humidity, take bug repellant.

Minus the pests, Cedar Bog is peaceful and educational. You can learn about the area by reading signs that are positioned at children’s height. For instance, one warns you not to touch the poison sumac or anything else off the path. The woody shrub can cause painful swelling on the skin if touched.

In April, the bog boasts one of the best displays of marsh marigolds in the state.

Cedar Bog is located at 980 Woodburn Rd., off U.S. 68, in Urbana.

For more information, call 800-860-0147 or visit www.ohiohistory.org.

Learn about our next stop to Doug and Michele’s Airport Cafe.

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1,700-acre estate makes a great getaway from central Ohio

One of the main attractions of Oglebay Resort, two hours east of Columbus in Wheeling, W. Va., is the former summer estate of the late industrialist Earl W. Oglebay. The yellow mansion with stately white pillars in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is a museum that’s a tribute to Oglebay and the history of the property.

But what my family found more delightful than the 1846-built home during a recent visit, is the surrounding explorable landscape, so thoughtfully cared for and manicured, making the 1,700-acre estate a great getaway from central Ohio.

Oglebay willed his property to the people of Wheeling upon his death in 1926 as long as they “shall operate it for public recreation.” Visitors can tour the mansion, a glass museum, and wander along a red brick path through a garden that dates back a century.

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My husband, Mike, and I, held our wedding reception at Oglebay in April 2005, and like so many others were photographed among more than 50,000 tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. We return most every year in the spring, but decided this year to visit with our children in June.

Now, taking a 7-year-old and 5-year-old through an old building with historical artifacts and keeping their attention would be an exercise in futility. Fortunately, the resort offers an enticing variety of activities that are fun in the summer such as golfing, fishing, boating, swimming and horseback riding. There’s also a quaint zoo that’s a pleasure to explore.

We stayed two nights at the Wilson Lodge – most of its 271 rooms were remodeled in 2008. Each morning we ate a hearty buffet breakfast at the Ihlenfeld Dining Room, which overlooks Schenk Lake and the encircling countryside, where friendly deer roam. Mike enjoyed a round of golf with friends. Oglebay offers courses designed by Arnold Palmer and Robert Trent Jones, Sr.

My children and I explored the pool at the Crispin Center, where little has changed since opening in the late 1930s. Built of locally-quarried sandstone, it’s elegant alongside the sky-blue pool. It’s one of the loveliest pools I’ve ever seen. I half expected to see ladies appear in modest swimsuits and caps, then jump off the platform in the center. I found the water too cold, but my kids didn’t seem to mind as they overtook the large kiddie pool.

We also explored the 36-acre Good Zoo. Opened in 1977 in a wooded area, it contains African wild dogs, meerkats, kangaroos, lorikeets, and recently added a dinosaur exhibit, with animatronic creatures. The lorikeets were particularly friendly if you entice them with nectar that the zoo sells for $1 a cup.

Wintertime it’s a poplar site for the Winter Festival of Lights, a six-mile drive showcasing millions of twinkling lights on more than 300 hilly acres.

Oglebay is located at 465 Lodge Dr., Wheeling, W. Va. Offers a variety of package rates. We stayed two nights via the Bed & Breakfast Package, starting at $151 per night, which includes lodge accommodations, buffet breakfast and use of the outdoor pool.

For more information, visit www.oglebay-resort.com.

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