A Winter Day Trip to Dayton
Dayton is a city worth savoring.
Between its rich history and modern offerings, a day trip to Dayton can be enjoyed through outdoor activities, creative food and drink and explorations of local heritage. Yes, even in winter.
The 60-mile drive from Columbus won’t set you back much more than an hour. Make your first stop at Press Coffee, a fixture in the Oregon Arts District opened by Brett and Janelle Barker in 2011. Brett got a taste for thoughtfully sourced and roasted coffee in his eight years at one of Dayton’s first independent coffee shops before setting his sights on his own business. Press is an airy, bright space with lofted overflow seating and glimmers of history throughout the building, like filigree in the restored ceiling tiles and towering street-facing windows.
The menu is focused. There are recognizable favorites like lattes and espresso, and coffee brewed from beans sourced from around the world. Evans Bakery, a local bakery, delivers fresh donuts every morning. Over the past few years Brett has focused on sourcing and roasting his own coffee beans to ensure quality and consistency. Brett roasts all the coffee served at Press, in addition to handful of wholesale accounts, under the name Wood Burl Coffee. For him, a personal connection to the coffee farmers is a crucial component to operating a sustainable, ethical business.
“I really try and promote specific coffees and their characteristics,” says Brett. At Press, the character of the shop and of the coffee is hard to beat.
Just next door an oasis awaits at Luna Gifts & Botanicals, opened in September. Gifts, pottery, artisan jewelry and charming home accessories are nestled in a thicket of house plants, succulents and air plants. The greenery is too inviting to resist from the sidewalk. The unique wares are curated by the store’s six owners, longtime best friends and photographers.
“We sought to fulfill a little niche downtown, a place filled with beautiful things that we would want to find while out exploring, and enjoying the neighborhood that we call home,” says co-owner Carly Barrett.
Ready to brave the chill? Dayton’s Five Rivers MetroParks operates an ice skating rink from November 25 to February 28 complete with sweeping views of the downtown skyline and the Great Miami River. Hit the ice for a free skate, a curling match or just sip a hot chocolate.
Or, if local beer is more your taste, visit Warped Wing Brewery and taproom situated in a lofty red bricked building from 1938. The name of the brewery comes from a method the Wright brothers used to stabilize their plane: wing warping technology. Factor in that a preliminary version of the pull top was invented by a Dayton machinist and it’s a delicious fate. Warped Wing brews and serves its beers on site and offers tours of the brewery at 2pm, 3pm or 4pm on Sundays for $10, which includes a glass of beer or tasting flight.
Better still, catch a show. The Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center is a cultural hub in downtown Dayton housing the Dayton Philharmonic, the Dayton Opera and the Dayton Ballet. Built in 2003 by architect Cesar Pelli, the dome of the theater features concentric circles of fiber-optic lights meant to depict the starry night sky exactly as the Wright Brothers would have seen it on the eve of their first flight in December of 1903.
If the evening allows, sip a nightcap at the Century Bar, just two blocks from the theater and an even shorter jaunt from the Dayton Convention Center, where the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association will host its annual conference in Dayton starting February 9 to 11 (see page 34 for more details). The bourbon-focused Century Bar serves from an expansive bourbon and rye list in a welcoming space with warm lights and wood details, including a restored cherry-and-stained-glass-back bar from 1862. Choose from carefully mixed cocktails or take a recommendation from the knowledgeable staff.
257 Wayne Ave., Dayton, Ohio 45402
Luna Gifts & Botanicals
261 Wayne Ave., Dayton, Ohio 45402
MetroParks Ice Rink
237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton, Ohio 45402
Warped Wing Brewery
26 Wyandot St., Dayton, Ohio 45402
The Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center
1 W. Second St., Dayton, Ohio 45402
10 S. Jefferson, Dayton, Ohio 45423