One of our top day trip destinations from Columbus is the town of Yellow Springs, Ohio. We’ve made multiple trips there – both as a family and just as a couple. It’s expansive enough that you can fill a day, but it’s also small enough that you can find plenty to do with only a couple hours to kill.
This spring the folks from Young’s Jersey Dairy invited us to take a little tour of the farm, hear about the future of it, play some games, enjoy some ice cream. Always a fan of the farm, we took them up on the offer, and extended our time into a full day trip.
We met up that morning with John Young, a member of the family who owns the dairy. Their family has owned the property since post-WWII. It started out just as this barn and the dairy store next to it. Customers used to pull up to the store and ring the bell, and the family would come from their house across the street to serve them. Nowadays that facility is used to produce their cheese.
The cows had just finished milking when we arrived. We glimpsed the calves outside, all curious and skittish at the same time. Inside the barn, where you can visit the animals, we saw the ladies finish their milking and then head out to pasture. We said hello to the goats, too.
If you’ve been to the farm before, especially with kiddos, you’ll know this section, where you can feed the goats.
We spied the ladies making their way outside to graze.
Then John walked us around more of the premises, telling us stories of growing up around the farm and working there as a kid. Their Udders & Putters section includes two mini golf courses, a driving range, slides and rides, games for all ages.
It was quiet that early on a Friday morning, so Will spent time in the batting cages, while Owen rode the Moovers & Shakers barrel train something like 10 times in a row.
We have pictures of both of our boys, when they were each about one year old, sitting on my lap on this ride, big grins on their faces.
I rode along with Owen a couple times on this visit, although my long legs barely fit in the barrels!
After playing games for a while, John took us to lunch at the Dairy Store. This is the larger, cafeteria-style eatery at the farm. (If you want a full-service, sit-down meal, you can visit The Golden Jersey Inn, too.)
The Dairy Store serves breakfast and lunch, plus ice cream. There’s a retail section if you want to buy cheese and other goods, too. We ordered sandwiches, a burger, and every type of cheese curds available.
I mean, you’re at a dairy that makes its own cheese curds, so you HAVE to order them, right?! We tried all three flavors: plain, buffalo, and sweet chili.
I’m no cheese curd connoisseur. Years ago a friend from Wisconsin taught me that fresh cheese curds will squeak when you bite into them. So I know that much. But it’s honestly hard to argue with breaded and fried cheese like these, especially when it’s well seasoned and not super greasy.
Of course, following a cheese-heavy lunch like that, we wanted to get out and walking. In Yellow Springs, the three most popular parks for hiking are Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, John Bryan State Park, and Glen Helen Nature Preserve.
We love all three, but Glen Helen is our favorite because it’s a little rougher and more immersive. As you descend into the park, you’ll find steep and rocky trails, waterfalls, creeks, even the original spring that Yellow Springs is named after. If you travel far enough north in the preserve, you can find the Raptor Center with owls, eagles, hawks, and more birds of prey.
The Preserve is run by a non-profit. If you’re parking the lot, bring $5 cash as a donation. They’ll give you a map of the trails, too.
Unfortunately, a quick-moving thunderstorm chased us out of the preserve, so we headed back into town to duck in and out of shops. We love stopping at Yellow Springs Toy Company.
We also make regular stops at Dark Store Books, to browse used books and comics.
And maybe caffeine and a snack at Dino’s Cappuccinos.
I love checking in on the latest exhibitions at Village Artisans Gallery.
By then the rain had cleared, so we grabbed our bikes and set off down the Little Miami Bike Trail. We’ll pick a direction and ride a few miles, then turn back toward town.
The trail conveniently passes by Yellow Springs Brewery, so we locked up the bikes, ordered chips and a flight of beer, pulled out some board games, and rested a bit.
The brewery excels at brewing beers that are perfect for the warmer months: pales, saisons, IPAs. And I love their multi-level patio out back, overlooking the bike trail.
One last stop before we headed home: back to Young’s, where John treated us to ice cream. My go-to is the Cow Patty: dark chocolate with chocolate cookie pieces, chocolate-covered toffee, and chocolate chips.
And there’s the iconic Buckeye sundae. It’s the perfect treat to finish out your Yellow Springs trip!
You can learn about more Yellow Springs adventures here.