Today I’m taking a little break from recipes to give you a taste of our adventure in Butler County, OH, home of the donut trail!
With all of the wanderlust pictures floating around Pinterest these days, it’s easy to forget that an entirely new experience could be right around the corner from you. I was happy to get that reminder in one of the most delicious ways possible through a short weekend trip to Butler County, OH nestled just north of Cincinnati and only an hour and a half drive from Columbus.
Butler County has been stirring up buzz all over the state for their Donut Trail, a true donut-lovers adventure featuring 10 different local donut shops and their variety of tempting fried and glazed wares. When I caught wind of the trail, I grabbed the hubby and son, packed the car, and hit the road to check out the donuts and everything else Butler County had to offer. And trust me, there was a whole lot more than just donuts.
We arrived at the Staybridge Inn and Suites on a soggy Friday afternoon. I was bummed about the weather, but quickly perked up. This was P’s first time in a hotel, and he absolutely loved it. Every room had a TV (pure magic!), and the long hallways provided plenty of run room. We stayed in a 2 bedroom suite, which felt much less cramped than traditional hotels and ensured we all got a great night’s sleep.
That afternoon, we headed to Entertrainment Junction, a spot we knew our son’s choo-choo loving heart would enjoy. I’m not sure what exactly I expected when we arrived, but it certainly exceeded all my expectations. The trains are displayed in three eras, from the 1800s to the Modern Age. Each era is filled with lifelike replicas set on several stories of mountainside. The attention to detail is absolutely incredible. Every window is filled with people, from bread bakers to people taking dance lessons. Parks were populated with people having picnics, pushing strollers, or enjoying a bonfire. We even saw a fake “accident” complete with a mangled bike, ambulance, and paramedic. It was entrancing and brought me right back to my days of playing house. P was, of course, also enthralled, and spent most of the time pointing at trains as they went by and yelling “choo-choo!” He also loved the train ride in the kid’s play area. I think the experience must’ve kindled a new love of trains for him, because since he came home all he wants to do is play with his train set!
That evening we enjoyed a wonderful meal at Palermo’s right across from the hotel. There were garlic knots and cheesy baked ziti. Enough said.
On Saturday we woke up early, donned our stretchy pants, and hit the trail! With 10 spots spread across the county, it involves quite a bit of driving, so be prepared to spend some quality time in the car that morning (it’s ok, you’ll have donuts). Many of the stops don’t have seating, so if you’re hoping to sit and enjoy some of your donuts, I recommend hanging out at Stan the Donut Man or Kelly’s Bakery.
We ate our fill of twisted and glazed and filled donuts in every imaginable combination. If you like trying really unique flavors, I definitely recommend checking out Mimi’s Donuts. They had so many crazy flavors, and they’re available in mini and regular size, so you can get a nice sampling. I loved the peanut butter and jelly donut here! My other favorites were the Fried Cream Cheese Donut at Milton’s Donuts, the apple fritter at Central Pastry Shop, and The Twisted Sister at Martin’s Donuts.
After getting our fill of glazed carbohydrates, we decided to burn off all that sprinkle-fueled energy at The Web, an indoor entertainment center with Mini Bowling, Putt-Putt, Go Carts, and a large arcade. The mini bowling was a bit hit with P, although I think he enjoyed organizing the balls on the track more than actually rolling them down the lane. After slinging a few bowling balls, we checked out the dinosaur themed putt-putt course. P absolutely loved having his own club and ball, but let’s just say we have some work to do on his swing.
We hit Bagger Dave’s for lunch and headed back to the hotel for some much needed naps. I snuck out a bit early, leaving the boys to rest so I could explore Jungle Jim’s International Market on my own. This place has earned a reputation, and for good reason. It is GIGANTIC. It’s difficult to describe the size and scope of this grocery store without seeing it for yourself. They had literally everything imaginable there. Fresh produce with the odd jackfruit or ugli fruit, a wall of Pez dispensers, a candy aisle that would make a four year old week in the knees, and whole aisles dedicated to individual cultures and countries.
My favorite areas, not surprisingly, were the butter bar and the cheese aisle. I picked up a sea salt butter from Prince Edward Island (where we honeymooned), that is to die for.
I also grabbed some hard to find cream sodas that Will absolutely adores, as well as an assortment of quirky pastas, baby bananas, gluten free items, honey, and maple syrup. I MEAN LOOK AT ALL THAT MAPLE SYRUP.
That night we went to a local restaurant called Taqueria Guanajuato and ate the best traditional Mexican tacos I’ve had north of the Texas line. Butler County, you are full of surprises.
On Sunday, we brunched at a charming little spot called High St. Cafe before finishing out our trip with a visit to the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park. I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like this park. With it’s combination of large scale sculptures, rolling hills, ancient artifact museum, and golf cart rides, this is a truly unique experience.
P was absolutely thrilled to be spending the morning on a golf cart. So thrilled, in fact, that he threw a major fit when we tried to drag him off the cart to see the sculptures up close. Luckily, after a little more ride-time we convinced him to do some exploring. The park is filled with gorgeous views, both of the larger than life sculptures and the rolling forest surrounding the park. It was an absolutely lovely way to spend the morning, and we even got to practice our golf cart selfies.
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway the whole family will enjoy, check out the Butler County Visitor’s Bureau and plan your own sprinkle filled adventure!
Thanks so much to the Butler County Visitor’s Bureau for providing the accommodations and activities for this trio.