40 Trips to Tipp
Story & Photos by Matt Bayman
Tipp City is a place that many people come to spend an afternoon. They come to shop and dine in the historic district and to attend festivals, concerts and special events. Some cycle to Tipp City from Dayton and beyond using the Great Miami Recreational Trail, which passes through the community. They may have heard about the huge bookstore in the downtown or the amazing food and atmosphere at the Coldwater Café and came to have a closer look. Others are drawn-in by the smell of peanuts roasting at Trophy Nut near the bike path, or the vast parks and trail systems that surround the path on the east end of town.
Hundreds of acres of green space hug the Great Miami River in Tipp City, providing not only miles of hiking and bridle trails, but also rural canoe trips, fishing, wildlife viewing and lots of outdoor recreation.
Still others are attracted to Tipp City for its historical charm. The old mill and canal lock on the east end of town attracts onlookers, as do the historic buildings and homes that line the downtown from First Street all the way to Hyatt Street. Many date from the mid- to late-1800s and contain period architecture and landscaping. It’s not uncommon to see old horse hitching posts in front of some of the historic buildings.
In its early days, Tipp City was a swinging canal town. Rowdy canal boat crews could find lodging and all sorts of entertainment while in town.
Today, shoppers at The Hotel Gallery, which served as an actual hotel in the canal era, can browse through former guest rooms to find pottery, clothing, antiques, artwork and locally made gifts and treasures.
In the summer, The Hotel Gallery hosts a series of free outdoor concerts on the first Friday of each month. A variety of music is offered, from folk and rock to jazz and big band. This is also when the Downtown Tipp City Partnership hosts its Tippecanoe Market Days, which features farmers, growers, food trucks, crafters and more.
Tipp City is probably best known for hosting the Mum Festival. It takes place on the last weekend of September and begins with a fun car show in the downtown on Friday night and a hometown parade on Saturday morning before moving to City Park where arts and crafts, food and entertainment abound. This year's festival will take place Sept. 23-25.
Another major event is the annual Yuletide Winter's Gathering, a merchant holiday open house with horse-drawn carriage rides, food trucks and so much more, taking place Nov. 10-12 in 2023.
Becoming just as popular is the Tipp City Arts Council’s Canal Music Fest. It has traditionally featured a tribute band, which is a musical act that looks, sounds and acts like the real thing. This year’s festival will take place on June 10 at City Park and the band will be a tribute to Bon Jovi, with Stranger opening. The concert is free and there are concessions, including food and beer trucks.
Festivals and Events Taking Place in 2023:
Music BINGO on Feb. 18
St. Paddy's Day Beer Crawl on March 3
DTCP & Can't Stop Running St. Paddy's Day Run 5k on March 17
Tipp Monroe Community Service Purse Auction on March 18
Easter Egg Hunt in the downtown (free photos with the Easter Bunny) on April 1
Arts Council Fine Art Exhibit/Sale: An Art Affair on April 22
Merchant's Mom Shop Hop on May 6
Community Wide Garage Sale on May 6
Tipp Community Band Concert on May 7
Tippecanoe Market Days from 5-9 p.m. + Community Night Concert on June 2
Jeep Cruise-In on June 9
Tipp City Canal Music Fest on June 10
Vintage in the Village on June 17
City Fireworks at Kyle Park on July 4
Family Game Night + Tippecanoe Market Days + Community Night Concert on July 7
Tippecanoe Community Band Concert on July 16
National Night Out on Aug. 1
Putt Putt Through the Downtown + Community Night Concert on Aug. 4
Trans Am Nationals Cruise-In on Aug. 26
Tippecanoe Market Days & Art Walk on Sept. 1
Tippapalooza on Sept. 2
Tipp City Mum Festival on Sept. 22-24
Tippecanoe Community Band Concert on Oct. 1
Harvest Beer Crawl on Oct. 6
Halloween Parade and Costume Contest on Oct. 16
Downtown Merchant's Trick or Treat on Oct. 28
Witches Day Out on Oct. 29
Thankful Thursday Dinner on Main Street on Nov. 9
A Yuletide Winters Gathering on Nov. 10-12
Tipp Arts Council's A Holiday Affair on Nov. 11
Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25
Christmas in the Village on Dec. 1-2
Tippecanoe Community Band Christmas Concert on Dec. 2
Visit with Santa on Dec. 2
Tipp Monroe Community Services Tipp City Lights Driving Tour on Dec. 2-25
City Park Holiday Tree Lighting on Dec. 2-31
When it comes down to it, it takes a lot longer than an afternoon to truly experience and enjoy all that Tipp City has to offer.
With this in mind, the following list of attractions, events and businesses is meant to help guide the reader through many visits to this colorful and entertaining town...
Sam & Ethels – A Great American Diner
Serving breakfast and lunch, Sam & Ethels is known far and wide for its large portions of delicious home-cooked food and its nostalgic atmosphere. It also makes the perfect start to a day of shopping and sightseeing in Tipp City.
The restaurant is reminiscent of an early 20th century diner, which it was and continues to be! Guests can eat their meal at the counter or find a booth. Breakfast is served all day and there are regular specials to try. The menu features some fun references to Tipp City. For example, the Canal Lock #15 meal is sausage gravy and two biscuits (some of the best around) with hashbrowns and choice of bacon, sausage or ham. The real canal lock is located a few blocks away. There’s also the Bike Trail BLT and Tippecanoe Tenderloin, among other playful names. The restaurant is located at 120 E. Main St. and can be reached at (937) 667-0113.
Boutiques & Things Unique - A Day of Shopping in Tipp City
Along with antiques and furniture, including Sugden Furniture and Mauk Cabinets By Design, downtown Tipp City is home to a number of respected and cherished clothing boutiques and specialty shops.
Living Simply Soap, 112 E. Main St. specializes in their own brands (made in Tipp City) of soaps, lotions, bath bombs, deodorants and more and attract visitors from far and wide to the town. Along with countless scents and colors that shoppers can purchase year-round, the store carries seasonal and holiday items.
unboxed boutique, 50 S. 2nd St., is passionate about making women of all shapes and sizes feel beautiful. They also host a number of fun events and activities throughout the year, often partnering with other local businesses and are part of the Miami County Visitor's & Convention Bureau's Boutique Trail.
Fox and Feather Trading Co., 125 E. Main St., is a women’s clothing store that also features home décor, locally made gifts and other items. The spacious store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Topsy Turvy Toys, 31 E. Main St., is a locally owned toy store that offers brand-name toys as well as unique, harder-to-find specialty items and educational toys. They also host a variety of special activities and programs for children.
Serendipity Paper Co., 32 E. Main St., is a locally owned specialty store that carries unique gifts, artwork, books and more.
Find everything from live plants and home décor to vinyl records and artwork at Bloomera Botanicals, 42 S. 2nd St. and, next door at Bella Gray Market, 34 S. 2nd St., find handmade and curated goods.
The Clothesline, 2 N. Second St. is a clothing resale shop run by volunteers from local churches in Tipp City. Shoppers can find a huge selection of clothing for all ages at great prices, plus proceeds from sales go to local charities. They also have frequent bag sales and offer daily discounts.
A place for pet lovers and their pets is R Pets, 110 E. Main St. This specialty store offers pet supplies, treats, toys and more and is open Monday through Saturday.
Tipp Cyclery, 122 W. Main St. is located not far from the Great Miami Recreational Trail. Here, cyclists can find new bikes (including children’s bikes) and equipment, as well as get repairs and tune-ups, and find apparel and other accessories. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and helpful.
The Golden Leaf Tea & Herb Company, (at its new location at 1470 W Main St, Unit B) carries a huge selection of loose tea and herbs, coffee beans, essential oils, local raw honey, coffee and tea accessories and more. The staff can help shoppers pick out the right tea for the right need, or for a gift.
Tippecanoe Weaver and Fibers Too, 17 N. 2nd St., carries yarns for knitting and crochet, plus threads and yarns for weaving. They also host classes in weaving, spinning, knitting and needle felting.
Along with the bookstore and other shops mentioned below, a full day of shopping can be had in downtown Tipp City.
Enjoy a Special Evening at the Coldwater Cafe
The Coldwater Café offers amazing food in an elegant atmosphere. It’s a great place to celebrate, enjoy a date night or just treat yourself to a very special meal. The restaurant is known for its gourmet quiche, filets and seafood (including amazing salmon and crab cakes), but the menu has something for everyone, from vegans and vegetarians to pasta lovers.
Patrons can dine in a European-styled dining room with a fireplace or in the Bank Vault. The restaurant was once a bank and the vault served as its safe. During warmer months, outdoor dining is offered in The Alley. This is a space between the restaurant and the Tipp City Public Library. It is decorated with beautiful flowers in the spring, summer and fall and a new mural on the library’s portion of The Alley adds to the ambiance.
The Coldwater Café is open Tuesday through Saturday. Learn more HERE. (Food pics from the restaurant's Facebook page)
Antiques, collectibles and rare items can be found at numerous shops in Tipp City. The largest antique store is Midwest Memories Antiques, located at 24 W. Main St. It’s a vintage mall that features 100 unique dealer spaces and an amazing array of merchandise and collectibles. Hours can be spent browsing through the store! It’s especially fun to shop there during the holidays.
The Patriot Antique Shoppe at 15 N. 2nd St. has a specific focus. It contains only antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries, including furniture and artwork. The interior feels like a museum, but it’s all for sale.
Antiques can also be found at The Hotel Gallery and a few other stores by chance.
The woodworking shop of Chris Bayman is located at 330 S. 1st St. in Tipp City. It is open throughout the week and many Saturdays and features a warehouse setting with antiques and reproduction furniture for sale.
Hike the Roger Presley Trail & Garden and Freeman Prairie
Built by hand over several years, and continuing to this day, the Roger Presley Trail (named after its creator) offers hikers a rare chance to trek along the banks of the Great Miami River. The trail starts near City Park next to the bike path and passes through the wooded corridor of the river. The trailhead is easily noticeable because Roger has also built a colorful garden with artwork, flowers and trees at the entrance. There’s even occasional artwork found along the trail.
Tipp City’s Freeman Prairie backs up to the Roger Presley Trail and allows hikers to experience two different environments on the same trek. They can first hike through the wooded corridor of the river and then return along the edge of the prairie. Additional trails exist at Freeman Prairie, as does a wooden platform for viewing wildlife, or just relaxing in the sun.
The Roger Presley Trail ends near the entrance to the old Tipp City gravel pit, which is across the street from the trail on State Route 571. It contains several small fishing ponds and fishing trails that lead around the water.
All three of these environments can make for a fun day of hiking and exploring.
Roger continues to trail blaze further east, providing the community with an amazing gift that will be treasured for generations to come.
A Yuletide Winter's Gathering & A Holiday Affair
A long-time tradition in Tipp City, A Yuletide Winter's Gathering is shopkeeper’s open house where downtown business decorate and stock up on new merchandise for the holiday shopping season. There are also horse and carriage rides, food trucks, visits with Santa and much more. This year's gathering will take place Nov. 10-12. On the Saturday of the event at Zion Lutheran Church is the annual A Holiday Affair. Hosted by the Tipp City Area Arts Council, this event showcases the work of local and regional artists. This year's event is Nov. 11.
Kayak from Troy to Taylorsville Dam
One of the most peaceful, natural and secluded sections of the Great Miami River is located between Troy and Taylorsville Dam, with Tipp City sitting right in the middle. Unlike Troy and Piqua, where the river passes directly through the heart of the community, in Tipp City it passes to the east of town. In fact, when someone kayaks or canoes from Troy to Taylorsville Dam, it is one of the least developed sections of the Great Miami River in our area. Along this route the river is mostly wide, shallow and safe, and people say the bass fishing is excellent. It is especially beautiful in the fall. Kayakers can use Adventures on the Great Miami for canoe rentals and trips, or utilize the canoe access point next to City Park on Parkwood Drive.
The Tipp City Community Wide Garage Sale in May
+ St. John's Church Flea Market
Shoppers can find deals within city limits as well as in Monroe Township. Subdivisions such as Deercliff and Windmere are typically packed with sales. Local churches and organizations also join in the fun. Sometimes entire congregations and families bring their sale items to one location and host one giant sale. This often happens at Tipp City United Methodist Church.
The community sale is hosted by Tipp Monroe Community Services which provides maps to the various sales. It takes place on the first Saturday of May each year.
St. John's Flea Market
A large flea market/garage sale takes place each July at St. John’s Church on Hyatt Street. The price of the items available goes down each day of the sale.
Hinders Sports Bar & a Chicken Wing Challenge
Most people are aware of the quality and popularity of the chicken wings at Hinders Sports Bar & Grille in Tipp City (pictured below). However, some fans of this popular food argue that Hinders is simply one of several places in the community that offers outstanding wings/chicken. The other contenders are Harrison’s restaurant (more on them in a moment), located downtown, and Champs Chicken, located uptown inside of the Marathon Station (don’t let this fool you, it's good). Harrison’s wings stand out for their signature sauces while Champs Chicken is known for its crispiness. Try all three establishments and see which is the best!
Hinders has other options as well, including a popular pork tenderloin and reuben sandwich, both pictured here.
A Bottomless Bookstore, Which is Also Haunted
Browse Awhile Books, 118 E. Main St., is a huge bookstore with two floors, many rooms and countless shelves filled with titles that cover every genre, subject and interest one could hope for. And, if you’re sensitive to it, you might also feel the presence of ghosts in the building. The bookstore is known to be haunted and is, in fact, a stop on Tipp City’s annual ghost tour in October. Whether looking for a gift, a collector’s item, something to read, or proof of the beyond, Browse Awhile Books has it all. They are open Tuesday through Saturday.
Two Trick or Treats in Tipp City?
While the Mum Festival parade takes place about a month before Trick or Treat, it has become known to many children (and a few adults) as Trick or Treat Part 1. This is because, along with an impressive display of floats, bands, nice cars, horses and other entries, the participants in the parade have grown fond of throwing out candy and other gifts to the crowd. Parents and children now understand to bring a bag to put the bounty in.
The real Trick or Treat in Tipp City is just as fun. The large historic homes (including a funeral home) on Main Street usually go all-out for the evening with decorations, light displays and even a few miniature haunted houses for families to walk through.
Tasty Things to Go - Bodega Wine & Specialty Market,
Sweet Adaline’s Bakery & Rad Candy
Located side-by-side in the heart of the historic district, these two locally owned businesses offer a whirlwind of flavor. Bodega’s, which is connected to Coldwater Café, has a gourmet deli with amazing entrees, sides and desserts to go (including homemade ice cream), plus a huge selection of wine, beer, snacks and beverages. Bodega is also a great place to grab a quick gift for a friend or loved one, from unique wines to specialty foods.
The market hosts wine and beer tastings.
Sweet Adaline’s Bakery opened in 2020 and specializes in cupcakes, pastries, cookies, holiday specials, layered cakes and other treats. Shoppers can buy single servings or family sized treats to go.
Opening in 2023, Rad Candy Company, 114 E. Main St., is an old-fashioned candy and novelty store that also has ice cream!
A Night on the Town with DORA
Tipp City was the first town in Miami County to establish a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA). Visitors can use to-go cups from participating liquor-serving establishments in the downtown and walk from place to place with their beverage in hand. Some of the places they can walk to include local shops and restaurants (Harrison’s, Coldwater Cafe and Tipp City Pizza have separate bar areas), as well as Tony’s Bada Bing and Chaffee’s Brew House. Bodega also offers DORA cups and beverages.
Chaffee’s Brewhouse, which opened in 2020, specializes in craft beer, cocktails, wine and mocktails as well as charcuterie boards. It also has an outdoor seating area and hosts tastings and other events throughout the year, including trivia and live music. It is located within the Chaffee’s Opera House building at 15 S. Second St.
Tony’s Bada Bing has an outdoor patio with occasional live music in the summer and fall and various entertainment throughout the year.
Tipp City Pizza opened in 2023 at 14 E. Main St. Along with a variety of specialty pizzas and beer, the restaurant contains two floors of miniature bowling.
Another location is the Tipp City Fraternal Order of Eagles. Although a private club, the Eagles hosts many public events throughout the year, including pizza parties and dinners, live music, trivia, fundraisers, seasonal activities and more.
So Many Choices at Harrison’s Restaurant
The menu at Harrison’s restaurant in the historic district is the kind that it takes a lifetime to try, and that you want to complete! Known for steaks, chops, huge salads, seafood, cabbage rolls, burgers, pasta and chicken wings, among many other signature items, the restaurant is located at 106 E. Main St. It is located in an historic building and the interior of the restaurant reflects this. Patrons can look around the main dining room to see historic photographs from Tipp City’s past, or grab a drink from the historic bar area, which has served this purpose for many decades. Harrison’s is also a great place to host large gatherings and meetings. An upstairs dining area and bar cater to these needs. The Battle Ax Plug vintage advertisement on the side of the historic building is one of Tipp City’s most iconic and familiar images. (NOTE: They have plenty of great sides, I just like their fries!)
The Trophy Nut Co. Factory Store
Trophy Nut Co. operates an 85,000-square-foot management, production and distribution facility and a 30,000-square-foot warehouse at 320 N. Second St. This is also the home of the company’s factory store, which is open to the public.
Trophy Nut is involved in all phases of nut processing and specializes in Tube Nuts (snacks) and branded and private label accounts that are distributed throughout the United States and beyond.
Open five days a week January through October and six days a week during the holidays (November and December), shoppers at the factory store can find a gigantic selection of snacks and candies. Along with Trophy Nut’s own brands, the store contains other snacks available in bulk and individual portions. This includes a new section of all natural and organic products and kosher items.
Vintage in the Village in June
Downtown Tipp City comes alive with shopping for vintage, antique, handmade, garden and artisan treasures, plus food trucks from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 17 in 2023.
Community Nights Concerts & Tippecanoe Market Days
Held on the first Friday of each month June through September, Community Nights is an old-fashioned, community concert that takes place outdoors at the intersection of Second and Main streets outside of The Hotel Gallery. Guests can bring a seat and enjoy a variety of different music and then remain downtown for dinner, entertainment and shopping. The event typically features an opening act and then the main show and is a long-standing tradition in the community. Arrive a little earlier to stroll around the Tippecanoe Market Days event, held during each concert. The downtown offers a farmer's market with growers, bakers and artists, plus food trucks and other entertainment.
Tippapalooza - A Local Music Festival
Tippapalooza was started in 2012 to promote local bands and to benefit local charities, which it continues to do. It has taken place each year at a park outside of town. However, for 2023, the family friendly, outdoor concert will move to downtown Tipp City. Watch for details and a full lineup at tippapalooza.com. (Photos from the event's Facebook page)
Attend Downtown Tipp City Partnership Events
The Downtown Tipp City Partnership hosts a series of events in the downtown each year. Along with the already mentioned Tippecanoe Market Days, the organization hosts a St. Paddy’s Day Beer Crawl, Easter Egg Hunt, Putt Putt Through the Downtown, the Harvest Beer Crawl, Downtown Merchant’s Trick or Treat and more.
Always Blooming Flowers & Carriage House Florist
There are two florists located in the historic district and both offer everything needed for any special occasions. Always Blooming Flowers, 108 E. Main St., offers custom arrangements, grab-and-go items and lots of different gift items. This includes a revolving display of seasonal items and flowers. Carriage House Florist is located behind The Hotel Gallery at 4 N. 2nd St. and offers unique floral designs, as well as home décor. The business is located in an historic carriage house building, which are quite common throughout Tipp City’s historic district.
Fall Foliage is Beautiful in Tipp City
Tipp City has no shortage of colorful scenery, especially in the fall. A lesser-known area to see some of this color is along the eastern side of Kyle Park, where a bridle trail and prairies back up to the Great Miami River. The Buckeye Trail, which passes through Tipp City along the river in Kyle Park, contains brilliant displays of color in the fall. The area is so secluded that many people are unaware it exists, but it’s worth a look. The prairies at Kyle Park display a rainbow of colors, not to mention the quiet sounds of crickets, the wind blowing and trains whistling in the distance.
Also in Kyle Park is a white wooden fence that separates the park from nearby agricultural fields and that is located along the Great Miami Recreational Trail. In the fall, the colorful trees and white fence contrast beautifully.
City Park and its giant, colorful trees are also something to see, and the downtown isn't bad either.
Four Parks on the Bike Path
One of the first places cyclists reach in Miami County when using the Great Miami Recreational Trail from the south is Kyle Park in Tipp City. It is the largest of four parks that the trail passes through while in the city. It also has its own loop trail and access to the Great Miami River and beautiful prairies.
Mostly used for sports, Kyle Park offers bridle trails, batting cages and a driving range (see below), several large shelters and access to an old canal feeder pond that’s popular for fishing and spotting blue herons and other wildlife.
The bike path then reaches Main Street (St. Rt. 571) and the location of Canal Lock Park. Many cyclists use Canal Lock Park as a starting and ending point to their trips, largely because of the nice parking lot and central location. The park features an old Miami and Erie Canal lock and historical marker and is located next to a 19th century mill. Behind the mill is a replica canal boat.
After Canal Lock Park, the bike path passes through City Park, including the Tippecanoe Family Aquatic Center (where concessions are available to bike trail users in the summer), before reaching the fourth and final park—the Tipp City Nature Center. The Nature Center has a disc golf course, a place to sit and look at the Great Miami River, and walking trails that pass two ponds and along a wooded section of the Great Miami River.
The bike path then continues on a rural, often wooded course between Tipp City and Troy. The old canal bed next to the trail is often filled with wildlife, including turtles, frogs and birds. Just before reaching Troy, another canal lock can be visited on the trail.
Pin High Golf & Batting Cages
A hidden gem for sports fans in Tipp City is Pin High Golf & Batting Cages. Located within spacious Kyle Park at 500 S. 1st St., this outdoor facility offers a golf driving range and batting cages. It is cash only. Along with coin-operated machines for balls, the facility offers 20 percent discounts to those who purchase a “key,” which can be used in the machines. The range is open every day that the wind-chill is above 45 degrees. Although not always attended, when staffed, practice equipment is available. For more information, call (937) 344-5985.
A Quick Guide to the Mum Festival
Along with the abundant candy passed out at the Mum Festival parade on Saturday morning, there are a few other highlights to be aware of at this annual event. The first is the Friday night Mum Festival Car Show. While the bulk of the festival takes place at City Park, the car show is held in the downtown. Much of Main Street and several side streets are closed off for the cruise-in and there is a DJ, food trucks and special activities at local shops, restaurants and pubs. It’s always a fun time.
From 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, guests to City Park can find dozens of arts and crafts booths, food booths and trucks and live entertainment on the main stage. There’s also a kid’s area with giant inflatables.
While there is much to choose from when it comes to food, one of the longest running traditions at the Mum Festival is the local fire department’s fried waffles. They are very popular and people wait in long lines to get them.
This year’s Mum Festival will take place on Sept. 23-25. Other highlights will include a Merchant Market, a diaper derby, the 5K Run for the Mums and the Little Mr. and Miss Mum event. Plan your visit HERE.