September 21-28, 2014 - - Your Guide to Local Living

                                    Festival Guide HERE                                      
(Click HERE for Miami County Obituaries & HERE for Archived News) 

Election Board Expects High Absentee Voter Numbers
(Article from Troy Daily News) 

Johnston Farm to Host Fall Event
(Article from the Piqua Daily Call)

BikeFest Draws Thousands to Piqua
(Article from the Piqua Daily Call)

Careflight Sent to Three-Car Rollover Crash in Pleasant Hill Sunday
(Article from WHIO) 

Careflight Called to Head-On Motorcycle Crash Near Piqua Saturday Night
(Article from WHIO)

Historical Rendezvous Coming to Troy this Weekend
(Article from the Troy Daily News) 

Miami County Lawyer Seeks Special Prosecutor 
(Article from the Dayton Daily News)

History Recreated in Piqua During BikeFest 
(Article from the Piqua Daily Call)

Aquatic Center Attendance Down in Tipp City
(Article from the Dayton Daily News) 

Superintendent Comments on Miami County Schools Report Cards 
(Article from the Sunday Record Herald) 

Green Appointed New Acting Manager in Tipp City
(Article from the Sunday Record Herald)  

Troy Council Considers Proposal for Marina Bids
(Article from the Dayton Daily News)

Tipp City BOE Continues Talks About Teacher Compensation
(Article from the Sunday Record Herald) 

Milton School and City Give Project Updates
(Article from the Troy Daily News) 

Troy Christian Schools Announces $5.2 Million Building Expansion
(Article from Troy Daily News)

MoJos Bar & Grille Helping Animals in Namesake's Honor
(Article from Troy Daily News)

The Roaring Twenties Are Coming to the Hayner 
(Article from My Miami County) 

Pink Floyd Tribute Coming to Hobart Arena in November 
(Article from My Miami County) 

(Click HERE for all recent news stories in Miami County) 

(Click HERE for this Weekend's Calendar of Events)

Monday, September 22

                                           Special Events                                           

Paranormal Class at the Piqua Library (FREE) - Mondays through October 13
PIQUA - Sign up and learn about techniques to uncover the paranormal tonight from 6-8 p.m. This class will be held on six consecutive Monday nights in the first floor Louis Room of the library located at 116 W. High St. On October 13th, the class will meet at a site to be determined later. For more information, or to sign up, contact Robin at (937) 773-6753.

Halloween Shopping at the Apple Tree Gallery - Monday-Saturday
PIQUA - The Apple Tree Gallery in downtown Piqua has an entire floor dedicated to Halloween. It includes one-of-a-kind and unique decorations, as well as decorative pieces, such as Halloween silverware rings, salt shakers and lighted decorations, figurines and more. On the bottom floor of the shop, located at 405 N. Main St., there is a section for Vintage Halloween, which contains collectible items from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. The Apple Tree Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

1913 Flood Photo Exhibit - Daily through October 11
PIQUA - Now through October 11, the Piqua Library lobby will house a display of photos taken by professional photographer and author Andy Snow. These "before & after" images show the devastation right after the flood of 1913, alongside a modern photo taken from the same vantage point. These images were used in Snow's book "A Flood of Memories", which is a centennial commemoration of the great 1913 flood. These works were recently on display at the Dayton Art Institute. The library's lobby exhibit will focus on the photos of Piqua and its surrounding area. For more information call (937) 773-6753.

Fall Harvest at Fulton Farms - Open Daily
TROY - Fulton Farms is displaying its fall harvest, which includes blackberries (including pick-your-own), apple cider, apples, pumpkins and gourds, mums, cauliflower, broccoli, organic produce and more. Coming soon will be pick-your-own pumpkins, including a fall fun area, hayrides and more. Fultons is located at 2393 St. Rt. 202 between Troy and Tipp City and is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday-Sunday. For an up-to-date crop report, call (937) 339-8246 or click HERE.
M n J's Gift Boutique Liquidation Sale - Open Daily
TIPP CITY - Time is running out to receive 50 percent or more off of everything at M n J's Gift Boutique in downtown Tipp City. The gift shop is liquidating its entire sale and also giving away huge prizes, including big screen TVs, to shoppers. Everything must go, including fixtures, shelves and flower arrangement decorating items. To view the hours and the special offers at the shop - located at 125 E. Main St. - click HERE.

The Square is Where Lunchtime Entertainment – Weekdays, Now through Sept. 30 (FREE)
DAYTON – The Downtown Dayton Partnership and Montgomery County present The Square is Where, featuring live entertainment, vendors, and more at the Courthouse Square. The entertainment will take the stage around the noontime lunch hour and food trucks and vendors will set up on the Courthouse Square. Come enjoy cornhole, mini golf, giant chess, and more. The Courthouse Square is located at the corner of Third and Main Streets in Dayton. For entertainment schedule and more information, click HERE.

Fairy Tale Facade - Mayhem & Mystery at the Spaghetti Warehouse
DAYTON - The Spaghetti Warehouse will host the Mayhem & Mystery Dinner Theatre from 7-9 p.m. Monday at 36 W. Fifth St. in downtown Dayton. For $25.95 per person, guests can enjoy a full-coursed dinner and an interactive murder mystery show, which is titled "Fairy Tale Facade." For a full description of the show, click HERE. Reservations are required by calling (937) 461-3913.

New Fall Arrivals at Dr. Littlejohn's in Piqua
The office of Dr. Littlejohn carries all your favorite brands including, Ray-Ban, Oakley, Nike, Kate Spade, Coach and many more. Visit them at 8090 Looney Road In Piqua next to Winans and take advantage of their $50 off a complete pair of glasses offer!  Can't remember when your last eye exam was?  Give them a call today at (937) 606-2772 to schedule - they'll help you see what you've been missing! Dr. Littlejohn and his friendly staff look forward to seeing you soon!  *$50 off offer is not valid with insurance or other discount plans.

                                        Dining & Nightlife                                        

All-You-Can-Eat Lunch Buffet at La Piazza - Monday-Friday
TROY - La Piazza serves its all-you-can-eat lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for $8.95. Guests can dine on nine different items, as well as all-you-can-eat salad and bread with house-made herb butter. The buffet features pizza, vegetables, a potato item, soups and more. For today's buffet menu, click HERE.

Z's $6 Lunch Specials
PIQUA - From 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Z's offers five $6 lunch specials. Options are: Breaded Tenderloin, Hamburger, Pulled Pork, Steak Sub and Fish Sandwich. Each meal is served with a drink and chips. Z's is located at 319 N. Wayne St. in downtown Piqua and can be reached at (937) 773-9190.

Fresh & Grilled Sandwiches at Bakehouse Breads
The Bakehouse Cafe serves fresh and grilled sandwiches,
soups and salads - plus sweet treats - from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
TROY - Bakehouse Breads serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., including fresh and grilled sandwiches. The selection includes: Turkey n' Cheddar, Marinated Roast Beef, Chicken Pecan Salad, the New Yorker, Bavarian and the Beet & Black Bean Burger, among others. To view the full menu, click HERE.

Hamburger Meal at the Little York Tavern Troy  
TROY - Along with famous pizza, the Little York Tavern & Pizza Troy offers daily lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday's special is a hamburger meal for $5.50. To view the full menu, click HERE.

50 Cent Boneless Frickin Chicken Wings at Frickers
TROY - From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every Monday, Fricker's locations in the Miami Valley, including Troy, offer their Boneless Frickin Chicken Wings for 50 cents each. The special is dine-in only.

Daily Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Specials at the 25A Diner in Troy
TROY - The 25A Diner in Troy offers daily breakfast, lunch and dinner specials. To see what's in store for today, click HERE. The diner is located at 1469 S. County Road 25-A.


Extra Large, Two-Topping Pizza, Breadsticks and a 2-Liter for $20.99 at Beppo Uno
PIQUA - Click HERE for a coupon good for the above offer at Beppo Uno in Piqua. To place your order, call (937) 615-1100.

Italian Cuisine - Outdoor Patio & the Best View of the Square at La Piazza - Open Daily
TROY - La Piazza offers the finest Italian cuisine in the Miami Valley (and beyond), as well as some of the best views of downtown Troy. Guests can dine in the restaurant by candlelight or enjoy outdoor patio seating. To plan your meal in advance, click HERE. For reservations, call (937) 339-5553. La Piazza is located at 2 N. Market St. on the Square.

Monday Combo Special at the 311 Drafthouse
PIQUA - From 3-7 p.m. on Mondays, the 311 Drafthouse offers a nine-inch pizza, a basket of winged hotties and a pitcher of domestic beer for $15. Additionally, during this time, domestic pints are $1.50 and well drinks are $3. The 311 Drafthouse is located at 311 N. Main St. For more information, click HERE.

$2 Off Build-Your-Own Burger or Chicken Sandwich Basket at Mulligan's Pub
PIQUA - Beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, Mulligan's Pub takes $2 off its Build-Your-Own Burger or Chicken Sandwich Basket. The regular menu and two full bars are also available. Mulligan's is located at 110 W. High St. and can be reached at (937) 606-2819. For additional specials and entertainment, click HERE.

Barley Breaded Wing Special at the Little York Tavern & Pizza Troy
TROY - From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday, the Little York Tavern & Pizza Troy offers its popular Barley Breaded Wings (8 of them) for $3.95. The same special is also offered from 4-7 p.m. on Thursdays. The tavern is located at 118 W. Main St. in downtown Troy.

Two Flat Iron Steaks with Sides for $10.49 and $3 Sangrias at Harrison's in Tipp
 - On Monday evenings, patrons at Harrison's restaurant in downtown Tipp City can feast on a 6-ounce flat iron steak with a baked potato and green beans for $6.99, or two for $10.48. Also, guests can enjoy $3 Sangrias. Harrison's is located at 106 E. Main St. and can be reached at (937) 667-5223.

Big Salads with Protein Tuesday at The Caroline
TROY - From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, The Caroline offers its Big Salads (with protein) for $2.50 off the regular price. The restaurant also has a prime rib and seafood plate special on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For more specials at The Caroline, click HERE.
Pizza Special at Al's Pizza in Troy
TROY - Buy two or more 14-inch pizzas and get $2 off each pizza at Al's Pizza, 13 S. Weston in Troy. To place your order, call (937) 335-2100. Click HERE for more information.

Two for $20 Menu at Applebee's in Troy
TROY - Receive two entrees and one appetizer for $20 at Applebee's in Troy. To view the menu, click HERE.

Paella, Stuffed Gnocchi and Shredded Zucchini Cakes at Basil's on Market in Troy
TROY - Basil's on Market features a variety of unique menu items, including Paella (fresh mussels, shrimp, chicken and andouille sausage tossed with tomatoes, peas, peppers, with tri-colored pasta in a saffron broth), Gnocchi (filled with herbed asiago cheese over basil's house marinara) and Zucchini Cakes (over heirloom tomatoes, on top grilled asparagus covered with fresh mozzarella evoo and fresh ground sea salt and pepper). Basil's is located at 18 N. Market St. in downtown Troy. For more information, click HERE.

Dine on the Upper Deck at Coldwater Cafe in Tipp City
TIPP CITY - Enjoy lunch or dinner, or relax with a cocktail, on the Coldwater Cafe's private outdoor deck. The deck is open after 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and until 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. To plan your visit, click HERE.

The Greenfire Burger at the Greenfire Bistro in Tipp City
TIPP CITY - Among many dishes, the Greenfire Bistro serves the Greenfire Burger. The burgers is hand-pattied and seasoned with sweet rice wine and ponzu sauce and topped with sesame spinach. It is served with brown sugar-butter sweet potato fries and wasabi mayo. The Greenfire Bistro is located at 965 W. Main St. To plan your visit, click HERE.

$1 Domestic Bottled Beer at the Leaf & Vine
TROY - The Leaf & Vine serves $1 domestic bottled beers all night long on Mondays starting at 4:30 p.m. and lasting until 1 a.m. Patrons can also dine on appetizers and try a cigar from the largest walk-in humidor. The pub has an enclosed outdoor patio, a jukebox and a great selection of wine and spirits. The Leaf & Vine is located at 108 W. Main St. in downtown Troy and can be reached at (937) 332-0773. For additional weekly specials, click HERE.

$1 Off All Draft Beers at MoJos Bar & Grill
TROY - Starting at 4 p.m. on Mondays, MoJos Bar & Grill offers each of its draft beers at a $1 discount. For the menu and more specials at MoJos, click HERE.

New 5-4-3-2-1 Happy Hour at La Piazza - Monday-Friday
TROY - La Piazza is introducing a new Happy Hour called 5-4-3-2-1. Bar patrons can get discounts of $5 to $1 off appetizers and drinks from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. La Piazza is located at 2 N. Market St. in downtown Troy and can be reached at (937) 339-5553.

$5 Bud Light Pitchers and More at The Little York Tavern & Pizza Troy
TROY - The Little York Tavern & Pizza Troy is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Additionally, on Mondays, bar patrons can enjoy $2 Bud Light Tall Boy Drafts and $5 Bud Light Pitchers. The restaurant is located at 116 W. Main St. in downtown Troy and is open 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Vino to Go at Beppo Uno in Piqua
PIQUA - Beppo Uno discounts its wine selection every Monday, including significantly lower prices for carryout wines. All wines from the restaurant's wine menu are available at discounted prices for dine-in and carryout. Beppo Uno is located at 414 W. Water St. in Piqua and can be reached at (937) 615-1100.

Trivia with a Twist at BW3s in Troy and Huber Heights (FREE)
TROY/HUBERHEIGHTS- The BW3s in Troy and Huber Heights (7875 Wayne Towne Blvd.) host Trivia with a Twist from 7-9 p.m. on Mondays. Trivia includes videos, music clips and regular questions and is free. Guests can play the game from the bar area or from any seat in the house!

Karaoke Night at the Little York Tavern in Vandalia (FREE)
VANDALIA - The Little York Tavern hosts Monday Night Karaoke from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Monday night. The event is hosted by JAMRE Entertainment and is free. The tavern is located at 4120 Little York Road in Vandalia and a full menu and bar are available.

$25 Dinner & A Movie at the Sunrise Cafe in Yellow Springs
YELLOW SPRINGS - The Sunrise Cafe and the Little Art Theatre offer a $25 Dinner & A Movie special on select Monday evenings. The cafe offers a three-course meal and the movie at 7 p.m. For details, click HERE. For reservations, call (937) 767-7211.

                                          Arts & Leisure                                           

The Crafty Listeners Group (FREE)
WEST MILTON - The Crafty Listeners is a group of women who get together on Mondays from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Milton Union Library, 560 S. Main St., to listen to an audio book and work on craft projects. All crafters are welcome, from needlework to making greeting cards. The group is always willing to welcome a new member and share their expertise. To reach the library, call (937) 698-5515.

Creative Expressions Beyond The Classroom: Works Of Troy Visual Art Teachers - Open Daily (FREE)
TROY - The Troy Hayner Cultural Center's current exhibit celebrates the artwork of over 20 past and present art educators representing Troy City Schools, Troy Christian and St. Patrick Elementary. School children's talent and creative thinking is developed by art teachers who encourage their students to reach their potential through creative problem solving projects. Many of our teachers are artists in their own right creating from a variety of mediums including paintings, watercolors, mixed media, sculptures, wood block prints, photography, ceramics, stained glass and more. This exhibit will remain at the Hayner through October 5 and can be seen during regular business hours. The Hayner is located at 301 W. Main St. For more information call (937) 339-0457.

The Crafty Listeners Group (FREE)
WEST MILTON - The Crafty Listeners is a group of women who get together on Mondays from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Milton Union Library, 560 S. Main St., to listen to an audio book and work on craft projects. All crafters are welcome, from needlework to making greeting cards. The group is always willing to welcome a new member and share their expertise. To reach the library, call (937) 698-5515..

Sisters' in Spirit Book Club (FREE)
BRADFORD - The book club's meetings take place in the Community Room of the Bradford Library, 138 E. Main St., and are on the second and fourth Monday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The library provides coffee and some type of refreshment. All book lovers are invited. For additional information, contact Carol Coy at (937) 448-2612.
Movies 5 & Cinemark Theatre - Open Daily 
PIQUA/TROY - Movies 5 in Troy and Cinemark Theatre in Piqua are open daily. Click HERE to find a movie theater and movie you'd like to see. 

Open Bowling at Troy Bowl - Open Daily
TROY - Open bowling is available at Troy Bowl from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday; 1-10 p.m. Sunday at 1530 McKaig Ave. Along with bowling, guests can enjoy a full kitchen and bar, billiards and video games. Always call in advance for Open Bowling - in case leagues are playing, at (937) 339-3315.

Bowling at Brel-Aire Lanes in Piqua - Open Daily
PIQUA - Brel-Aire Lanes is open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; noon to midnight on Friday; 9 a.m. to midnight on Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. For details on lane openings and pricing, call (937) 773-0462. The bowling alley is located at 8433 N. County Road 25-A in Piqua.

                                  For Children & Families                                     

Lego Group at the Covington Library (FREE)
COVINGTON - The Fall Lego Group at the Covington Library, 102 E. Spring St., begins today from 3:30-4:15 p.m. The group is open to kids in kindergarten through 5th grade. Please be sure that your child is able to build using small Legos before they attend.

Evening Storytime at the Covington Library (FREE)
COVINGTON - The Covington Library, 102 E. Spring St., hosts evening story time for children ages 3 to 5 from 6-7 p.m. every Monday in September. For more information call the library at (937) 473-2226.

Toddler & Me Storyrtime at the Troy Library (FREE)
TROY - The Troy Library will host toddler story time and a craft for ages 2-3 and their caregiver at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. today. The program is free.

Clubhouse at The Avenue (FREE)
TIPP CITY - The Avenue at Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City hosts a free, faith-based Clubhouse from 3:45-5:15 p.m. on Mondays. This is open to teens in grades 2-6 and includes interactive games, crafts, small group discussions led by teen leaders and more. The Avenue is located at 6759 S. County Road 25-A. For more information, call (937) 667-1069 Ext. 274.

Kids Eat Free at Buffalo Wings & Rings in Piqua
PIQUA – Located at 989 E. Ash St. in Piqua, Buffalo Wings & Rings offers Kids Eat Free Night every Monday with the purchase of an adult meal. To view the menu, click 

Kids Eat Free (and Healthy) at El Sombrero 
TROY/PIQUA – Every Monday night, kids get to eat free from the children’s menu at El Sombrero in Troy and Piqua with the purchase of an adult meal. El Sombrero offers a healthy children’s menu that includes carrots and celery, salads, Jell-O, sweet potato French fries, applesauce and apple slices, among others. Of course, kids can also enjoy tacos, burritos, pizza, chicken nuggets and other foods. For more information on tonight’s special offer, call (937) 339-2100 in Troy or (937) 778-2100 in Piqua.

Kids Eat Free Everyday at Frickers - Daily
TROY – With the purchase of an adult meal, dine-in only, kids get to eat free from the Fricker’s children’s menu in Troy. Click HERE for the menu. 

More Family Fun!
Click HERE for dozens of family friendly activities in and around Miami County - from museums and fun centers to outdoor activities and indoor recreation! 

Antiques and Crafts Available at Trash to Treasures Antiques 
TIPP CITY – Trash to Treasures Antiques located at 7130 S. County Road 25 A is the place to find quirky and repurposed antiques at negotiable prices. Browse through items such as gourd crafts, antique furniture, and antique toys. Treasures can be found inside and out. The store is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday, and opens by appointment the rest of the week. For more information, call 937-667-2637. The owner can also be reached on her cell phone, 937-313-2294.

50% Off on Return Visit to Olde Red Barn
WEST MILTON – If you make a purchase at the Olde Red Barn, present your receipt on your next visit and receive 50% off. This deal lasts until the end of the year. The Olde Red Barn is the place to find unique antiques and interesting vintage pieces at reasonable prices. Their hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 937-698-0219.

Shopping at the Miami Valley Centre Mall - Open Daily
PIQUA - The Miami Valley Centre Mall is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Guests can shop, dine and enjoy a new children's play area and games. To plan your visit, click HERE.

3D Fiber Lashes!
Call in the morning to learn more about Younique 3D Fiber Lashes, which go on like mascara, are water resistant and easily wash off. A local distributor is Cherie Ganger, who can be reached at (937) 710-1215, or online at


Autumn in the Ohio Country 1814 this Weekend
By Amy Maxwell
For My Miami County
Visitors can experience activities based on real events on the Ohio frontier in the fall of 1814 during the “Autumn in the Ohio Country 1814” event taking place this Saturday and Sunday.
 While the troops march, civilians will prepare food on a campfire, dye and sew uniforms and demonstrate artisan skills from the historical period. The event takes place at the historic Staley Mill Farm, which also features the newly built artisan whiskey distillery, Indian Creek. Both are located at 7095 Staley Road in New Carlisle. 
Joe and Missy Duer, of Staley Mill Farm and Indian Creek Distillery, have partnered with Terry and Karen Purke and the Elizabeth Township Historical Society to coordinate the event.
“Re-enactments of militia and frontier life will take place and Simon Kenton, portrayed by nationally known interpreter Mel Hankla, will be featured at the event as well,” Missy said. “He will speak at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on both days of the event and will mingle with the visiting folks in the Kenton character throughout the weekend.”
Living history exhibits and demonstrations will be part of the
Autumn in the Ohio Country 1814 on Sept. 27-28 at Staley Mill.
The event will also feature The Copper Arrow Antique Show, which will offer primitive and country furniture and collectibles presented by dealers from the surrounding Ohio areas. Historic artisans will also be demonstrating their skills during the event.
“A robust Scottish lace-maker will also be on hand to delight visitors with his humor and ‘old-style’ personality,” Missy said.
The event first took place two years ago and focused on the times surrounding the War of 1812 on the frontier in Miami County and the Ohio area.
“What we are doing this time is more of a form of a celebration and heaving a sigh of relief that the war has moved on and isn’t here anymore,” Terry Purke explained.
Visitors can also tour the old Staley Grist Mill - known as Ohio’s oldest standing grist mill - founded by Elias Staley in 1818. Tickets for the tour will be $5. 
The farm has been preserved for over six generations and the Indian Creek Distillery continues to distill early American rye whiskey in the family’s original 1820 pot stills.
“There’s over 200 years of family history that goes into our Staley rye whiskey,” Missy said. “It is crafted in the hearts and hands of the sixth generation to own and live on the old Staley Mill Farm.” Onsite whiskey sales, tastings, gifts and food will be available as well.
Event hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and admission is $5 per person. For more information, click HERE or call (937) 216-0949.

Fall Color, Rock Art and Lost in Ohio
Matt Bayman
Hiking the rim of Conkle's Hollow.
Some roads had names, others didn't. Some roads were paved - barely - and others were simply gravel paths winding up and down the desolate countryside. But regardless of the conditions of the roads, or the location, which was sometimes questionable, as my son and I traveled through the back country of Jackson and Pike counties this past weekend, beauty and mystery were around every corner.
We had set out two days earlier to visit Hocking Hills. We had camped there and had a splendid time. We hiked the rim of Conkle's Hollow, which is probably one of the top-5 things to do in
Ohio, and visited Old Man's Cave, cooked hot dogs over the fire, told ghost stories and played at the playground at the campground. The stars above us were brighter than ever in rural countryside.
Hocking Hills is not yet near peak, but it's beauty is alarmingly tranquil. For some reason this year, the trees that have leaves that turn red have changed colors before those that turn orange (mainly maples) and yellow, so the landscape is covered in red and green, making for a rare sight. In years past, it is usually yellow and orange that peak first, so for anyone who plans to visit Hocking Hills this weekend or next, it should be quite a rainbow of beauty, especially at Conkle's Hollow.
I have no regrets on my timing though. My son, James, who will be six-years-old at the end of this year, was, for the first time, able to hike the full three miles of the Conkle's Hollow Rim Trail. We ate lunch on a rock ledge overlooking the hollow and I made up a ghost story about the voices we heard coming from the distance as a warning to my impressionable child. "Those are the ghosts of little kids and people who fell through these crevasses, so make sure you stay to the right of the trail at all times," I said, spinning more than I'll write here. (Safety is a major concern with small children on this trail, as there actually are spots that drop hundreds of feet down. One slip could mean the end).
Hocking Hills, as it always is in fall, or any time of year for that matter, was a wonderful time, but it was not until we decided to drive south and explore the back country of the region that things really became interesting.
On Friday, we traveled south in search of a place on the map. It was Leo Petroglyph State Memorial, located maybe 20 miles or so southeast of
Chillicothe in no-man's land.
From Hocking Hills, travelers use State Route 93 South to reach a very remote area of
Ohio located in Richland Furnace State Forest. This route takes drivers through the beautiful countryside, where, oddly enough, every color of the fall foliage is visible on the foothills that rise in every direction. The towns that are passed through on St. Rt. 93 are also magnificent and quaint. A little spot on the map known as Creola welcomes visitors with just one gas station. McArthur is at the crossroads of two scenic roadways in U.S. 50 and St. Rt. 93. Then comes Hamden, where I got off the main road and headed east toward Leo Petroglyph State Memorial.
The memorial is located on
Park Road and not a single sign indicates that it's there. Although I had my trusty, yet worn-down, Ohio Gazetteer, which badly needs updated (more on that below), I must have turned the wrong direction at least three or four times. But I'm not complaining. It was on these side roads, with names such as R-19, R-33 and R-23, that I discovered some of the most beautiful and interesting places of our trip. I found a house that was made partly from a caboose and partly from wood. I passed by countless age-old barns and numerous covered bridges, plus very special pieces of property where people seem to be doing more with less. The area is by far not wealthy, but the properties on these back roads seemed like paradise to me.
Finally, I reached the memorial. To my surprise, there was one other group of people there; a couple. They were leaving as my son and I arrived. According to signage at the park, the rock art was created more than 700 years ago, but the exact date is not certain. It was a humbling experience to see the drawings. There were what looked like bear's feet walking away from this flat outcrop of rocks. There was a stick man, fish and then objects that are beyond comprehension, such as two people joined together as one, with lines and arms and legs slithering out in each direction. I wish my son understood what he was looking at. Maybe he did because he asked,
Enjoying a boat ride at Pike Lake. 
"What's that fish doing, Daddy?" I didn't have an answer for him.
When we got back in the car, I looked at my Ohio Gazetteer and decided we would venture over to
Seven Caves. Little did I know, but Seven Caves has been returned to its natural state and is a bat sanctuary. I was greeted by some kind of caretaker there and he told me that, although the trails near the caves are free and open to the public, they are only open on Saturday and Sunday??? Here I am, a 39-year-old man with his five-year-old son. The trail is there, it's beautiful out, and we'd traveled nearly 100 miles out of our way to get here, but, since it was Friday, we were not allowed to go on the trails. I was nonetheless annoyed at this person, but I guess he got his "power-fix" for the month. Anyway, don't bother going to Seven Caves. It's not there.
What is around still is
Pike Lake, located in Pike County on the upward swing through Pike County and Pike State Forest.
Pike Lake, in fact, is located smack-dab in the middle of Pike Forest. In the summer, people come to the very small lake to swim and rent boats. When my son and I arrived, there was a family of three fishing, but, other than that, we were alone. We decided to rent a paddle boat and go out on the water. It was only $5 for both of us and, even though I did all of the work, it was so peaceful to be on that lake with my son. The trees surrounding the lake were not yet in full fall color, but they were very breathtaking.
As time approached to get home, we enjoyed stops in my favorite little town in
Ohio, Bainbridge, which, this coming weekend is hosting the Fall Festival of Leaves. Bainbridge is located at the cross-section of two scenic byways and, along with fair food, rides and a town-wide yard sale, visitors to the region can take self-guided tours of these scenic roads. I highly suggest this festival and the side trips. If you have time, make a full three- or four-day trip out of it and visit Hocking Hills. There are cabins, campgrounds and hotels to stay at and the adventure is yours to create.
There is no guidebook for the trip my son and I took, but that's the beauty of the area, and no matter how "lost" you get, you'll find yourself in a part of Ohio that reminds you why this is such an amazing, unique state!  
Hot Air Balloon Fest to Return to Miami County Fairgrounds Oct. 3-5
TROY - The fall season in Miami County is a great time to be outside to enjoy the crisp air and to discover the many events taking place during this wonderful time of year.
With this in mind, the Miami County Agricultural Society and the Troy Foundation will be hosting the 2nd Annual Miami County Harvest Moon and Balloon Fest on October 3-5 at the Miami County Fairgrounds. Among many attractions, the festival will
feature more than 12 colorful hot air balloons, as well as activities commemorating everything autumn.
So much is being planned to make this an event to remember.
Free kids activities will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday October 3 and will include: a rock climbing wall, zip lines, a mini- golf course and free kiddie rides. Adding to this line-up on Saturday and Sunday, the YMCA Robinson Branch will have kids running, jumping and tumbling on an obstacle course. Then on Saturday, October 4, kids will love the horse-drawn wagon rides out to a makeshift pumpkin patch where they can select their very own free pumpkin to decorate. (One pumpkin per child in attendance only while supplies last.) They may also sign up and participate in the Kiddie Tractor Pulls. And from noon to 4 p.m., the festival is bringing COSI to the Balloon Fest. COSI's all-new Science Spot traveling science exhibition will offer a great opportunity to play, explore and learn about science. COSI's Science Spot consists of colorful hands-on kiosks with activities suitable for adults and children. 
On Sunday, WACO Air Museum representatives will be out to help kids build their very own kite - then watch them soar!  And at 1 p.m. Sunday, families may visit with animals and representatives from one of the top zoos in the country - the Columbus Zoo. This program will give visitors and their kids the opportunity to learn about the animals that travel with Jack Hanna. Discover where they’re from, what they eat and possibly touch the birds, reptiles and a variety of mammals.
There's also plenty for adults and families to enjoy. A mini- golf course will entertain the entire family, or simply tempt your taste buds and visit the many food vendors that will be available; offering delicious options including: great ribeye sandwiches, elephant ears, caramel popcorn and much more.
If you enjoy classic cars, visit with the Miami Valley Kruzers and the Piqua Antique Car Club all day on Saturday and look for your favorite timeless automobile.
An evening Balloon Glow will be one of many highlights at this year's
Harvest Moon & Balloon Festival in Troy.
There will be plenty of musical entertainment to enjoy throughout the entire weekend as well. On Friday night at 7 p.m., guests can sing along with their favorite oldies with the American Kings. The big show will take place Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and will feature The Floorwalkers. This group is reigning supreme for the third year in a row as the best local band around the Columbus area. With six members cranking out an energetic live show, and a stop at this year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, the Floorwalkers have maintained a label-free, independent mindset, making them a favorite not only in Columbus, but throughout the Midwest.  While enjoying the entertainment, be sure to visit the ever-popular Beer Garden, which will be open throughout the weekend.
Back by popular demand, the festival will present three area wineries for adult visitors to enjoy a variety of wine tastings. For those who are 21 and older, the Winery at Versailles, the Old Mason Winery and Valley Vineyards invite everyone to sample their wonderful wines.
Other featured entertainment during the entire weekend will be 12 breathtaking hot air balloons that will be launching from the fairgrounds infield and will glow Friday and Saturday evening. Tethered balloon rides will be available for $10 per person Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30-7:30 p.m. All launches and tethered rides are subject to good weather conditions with little wind and no rain.
Mike Jess, President of the Miami County Agricultural Society said he is looking positively toward this event.
“In spite of the rain conditions we experienced last year, we still had folks coming out to enjoy all we offered. We received nothing but extremely positive comments from our visitors who encouraged us to continue this outstanding festival.  So we’re planning for bigger and better!” he said.
Volunteers are needed to assist with each hot air balloon crew. Interested individuals should call Diana Thompson, Event Chair at (937) 339-1044 for details and times.
The admission price to the festival is $5 per person. Children 12 and under will be admitted free. RV camping is available by contacting the fairground office at (937) 335-7492. All visitors to the Harvest Moon & Balloon Fest should use the middle fairground entrance gate located off of County Road 25A. The gate will be marked with brightly colored purple flags and banners.
This event is made possible, in part, by a generous grant from The Troy Foundation, celebrating 90 years of Home. Grown. Giving.