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The Faces, Animals and Symbols Protruding from the 19th Century Fort Piqua Hotel

Grab some binoculars or a camera, or both, and head to the Fort Piqua Plaza in downtown Piqua to get a close look at the faces, animals and symbols protruding from the historic 19th century building. These are just some of the things you can see! Conveniently located on the bottom floor is the Scottish Thistle restaurant, Rosebud's Real Food and, with its own beauty and splendor inside, the Piqua Library!

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Discovering Nature's Grocery Store (and Pharmacy) in Western Ohio

What would happen if you only had nature to rely on for food and medicine and you lived in western Ohio? What did Native Americans and early settlers rely on?

This article explores all of the amazing plants and foods growing right in our own backyards. It also sheds light on the benefits these local plants could have for the economy and the environment.  

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Which Towns in the Northern Miami Valley Came First? And How'd They Get Their Names?

After becoming a state in 1803, settlers began to flood into western Ohio. In their wake, they built and named towns that stand to this day. This article takes a look at when and how these towns came to be, as well as how they received their names. 

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A Long Time Ago...at Fossil Beach in Tipp City

Located near City Park in Tipp City, Fossil Beach is an unofficial landmark where adventure-seekers can find ancient fossils that date back 450 million years before life moved on to land. In this article, learn about the geological history of Ohio. This includes that fact that if all of the fossils in southwest Ohio were removed from the ground, Cincinnati would be located below sea level!

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15 Trails, 350+ Miles, 1 Great Adventure - Cycling Miami Valley Bikeways

During the past several years, my son and I have cycled each mile of the Miami Valley Bikeways system, which is “The Nation’s Largest Paved Trail Network.” It consists of 15 different interconnected trails in the Miami Valley and covers roughly 350 miles. More is being added all the time and soon, Cincinnati and Cleveland, by way of Columbus and the Miami Valley, will be connected by one massive paved trail network.

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The Humble Beginnings of the Stillwater River

A Father & Son Search for the Source of the Stillwater River 

The Stillwater River – a Designated State Scenic River that creates so much beauty in western Ohio – starts as a small trickle coming from a pipe beneath an old bridge in rural Darke County. Before last fall, I didn’t know this, but as a way to teach my son about local geology, we decided to look for the "beginning" of the river. This is what we discovered...

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Mounds of Evidence: What Was Life Like in the Miami Valley Before Us?

There is little doubt that many homes and buildings in Miami County, and parts of Darke County, are located where ancient Native American burial mounds, earthworks and villages once sat. Or, that when we bicycle or walk the Great Miami Recreational Trail or the Tecumseh Trail we are using paths that have been trekked for thousands of years by generations of people. The fact is, long before Europeans arrived in western Ohio, life had flourished here for millennia. In this article, learn from a local expert about what it was once like here.   

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Following the Great Miami River From Start to Finish

If you take a drive north of Indian Lake State Park and locate Township Road 85 in Hardin County, you can pull your vehicle to the side of the road, look across a field to a wooded area on a small hill in the distance and watch as the North Fork of the Great Miami River trickles down the hill on its way to the Ohio River. This article is a pictorial journey from the river's source to its end.

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Exploring Ohio's Serpent Mound Impact Crater & Other Fun Mysteries

  About 300 million years ago, Ohio was hit by an asteroid or comet that punched a hole in the ground 5-to-9 miles wide and that is still visible today. Fast-forward many millions of years, and a group of Native Americans we call the Moundbuiders built one of their most important earthworks—Serpent Mound—directly on top of a portion of the crater, giving the impact crater its name. Did they know what they were doing? Maybe more than we ever realized!

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Mystery Solved? New Research Sheds Light on 1937 Anna Earthquake Damage

Since 1875, more than 40 earthquakes have been cataloged in the Anna Seismic Zone in western Ohio. This includes the largest earthquake in Ohio’s recorded history, which took place on March 9, 1937 near the village of Anna in Shelby County. This article explores new evidence that indicates why Anna was so damaged.

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A Taste of Scotland in Historic Downtown Piqua at the Scottish Thistle

Located 110 High St. in downtown Piqua, the Scottish Thistle serves fresh-made Scottish fare with a flare, including Bangers & Mash, Fish-n-Chips, Shepherd’s Pie (and Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie), Cornish Hen, Scotch Eggs, and Tenderloin Medallions, plus sandwiches, steaks, seafood and more. The restaurant is located in the historic Fort Piqua plaza.

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The Meadowcroft Rockshelter

The Oldest Inhabited Place in North America?

At 19,000 years, and possibly 22,000, the Meadowcroft Rockshelter in western Pennsylvania is the oldest inhabited place thus far discovered in North America. Findings at this archeological site and tourist attraction located less than 4 hours from Miami County are changing history with every new find. This article explores the shelter and the rewriting of history currently taking place.

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Longest Hiking Trail System in Miami County Connects 3 Parks, Crosses Longest Suspension Bridge in Ohio

As long as you don't mind crossing a shallow section of the Stillwater River, it is possible to hike continuously for 8.2 miles at three interconnected Miami County Parks. The trail system also crosses the new (and considered one of if not the longest of its kind in Ohio) suspension bridge and more!

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Miami Valley Celebrates 100 Years of Flood Protection

And the Recreational Opportunities That Have Come With It

5 dams in the Miami Valley keep more than one million people and billions of dollars in property safe from flooding and provide recreational opportunities that include everything from canoeing and sledding to birdwatching and backcountry hiking and camping.

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Covington, Ohio Has Begun a Massive Transformation
New Stores, Restaurants and Community Spirit Lead the Way

Downtown Covington, Ohio is going through an amazing transformation that includes new restaurants, shops, historical attractions and more. By Shelly Calvert

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Indian Creek Distillery Offers Tours and Tastings Every Saturday + More

The best way to experience the history and flavors of Indian Creek Distillery is to book a Distillery Tour, available on Saturdays year-round at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The Distillery Tour ($18 per person over 21) focuses on the family’s distilling history, the heritage distilling process and includes a Guided Tasting Flight. Or, you can stop by Tuesday through Saturday between noon and 5 p.m. for a tasting!

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17 West - A Crowning Achievement of Flavor in New Bremen

17 West, an upscale restaurant in New Bremen, was opened to cater to employees and business guests at Crown  Equipment Corp., which is headquartered in the picturesque downtown in rural Auglaize County. Luckily, the public is also able to enjoy the flavors and atmosphere at the restaurant, including its signature menu, a quaint outdoor patio, a large and diverse wine menu, craft beers and more

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SPOTLIGHT: Greenville Falls State Scenic River Area

There is no bad time of year to visit Greenville Falls State Scenic River Area in Miami County. The 92-acre park has some of the most unique features in the region, including a natural limestone arch and gorge, the remains of an old electric mill and wooden dam, and, of course, the cascading waterfall, which drops 20-feet along Greenville Creek as it makes its way to the Stillwater River

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Homecooked at the Toni & John's Route 571 Diner in Arcanum 

Toni & John’s Route 571 Diner offers home-cooked meals in a quaint, farm-themed dining room in a country setting. The affordable menu includes sandwiches, clubs, pizza, subs, salads, steaks, fish and seafood and breakfast served all day. Plus, fun sides and desserts. They offer drive-thru service, dine-in, carryout and have a full service patio.

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15 Local Places to Visit When It Snows Or Gets Really Cold!

After a good snow, or when water freezes into ice, here are 15 local places to visit (and photograph) in the winter. The list includes Charleston Falls in Tipp City (pictured at left), Greenville Falls and its unique icicle formations, Eldean and Ross covered bridges in Miami and Shelby counties and many other treasured places.   

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Take a Walk on the Wild Side 
A Summer Wildflower Tour

While spring is certainly one of the best times of the year to view wildflowers in western Ohio, summer and early fall shouldn’t be overlooked, especially at our local prairies and parks.    

   While forest floors and grassy areas are the first places to see wildflowers in the spring, it is not until later in the season and into summer that local prairies begin to bloom. When they do, the displays are often large and vibrant, and shouldn’t be missed.    

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Exploring the Ice Formations at Brukner Nature Center

The Stillwater River at Brukner Nature Center always seems to have the best and most unusual ice formations. Following the Stillwater Loop Trail to the river, visitors will see formations, often created by melting and freezing water that runs over leaves, plants and tree branches along the river, can look like balls of water, giraffes and elephants marching in parade, frozen noses, hanging bats, and beans or peppers on a stalk, among other interesting shapes.    

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Adventures on the Rivers of Miami County - Caves, Bridges & More

This is a series of videos and a few photographs that show some of the interesting places that can be seen when kayaking or canoeing the Great Miami River, the Stillwater River and Greenville Creek.

Highlights includes the caves north of Piqua, a number of beautiful bridges, including Eldean Covered Bridge and many other scenic and special places.

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The Three Tippecanoes

In Search of a Name and the Fun Things to See & Do Along the Way

   There have been three towns named Tippecanoe, one in northern Indiana and two in Ohio. This includes the town where I grew up, Tipp City, Ohio. In this article, I travel to each of the towns whose names are/were Tippecanoe, and also find lots of fun things to do with my daughter along the way, including visiting an amusement park on a lake and downtown Chicago.

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International Artist Brings Larger Than Life Trolls to the Miami Valley

“The Troll That Hatched an Egg” Exhibition on Display at Aullwood Audubon

The Miami Valley has been given a special chance to view internationally renowned artist Thomas Dambo’s ‘larger-than-life’ work with “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” at

Aullwood Audubon in Dayton. (Photo at left: Aullwood Audubon/Ken Fasimpaur)

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Nature & Animal Videos in Miami County

Explore parks and unique places in Miami County, plus see some of the animals and creatures that call our community home, including deer, snakes, leeches and more.

Check back often for more nature and animal-themed videos.

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Ducky’s New Orleans Snowballs & Ice Cream - A Family Hangout

Along with being family oriented, Ducky’s New Orleans Snowballs & Ice Cream in Troy prides itself on its large portions (people have actually complained about the sizes being too large) and its customer service, which includes a friendly, smiling staff that always takes time to say “hello” to every customer that walks in the door. 

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A Different Look at Local Parks, Attractions and Features

Time Lapse and Slow Motion Videos
A selection of time lapse and slow motion videos that explore local attractions, such as Ludlow Falls, Johnston Farm & Indian Agency, Greenville Falls State Scenic River and many other places.

Check back often for more videos that show Miami County and western Ohio in a different light. 

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The Mushrooms of Miami County

Find Hundreds of Mushroom Species at 3 Local Parks
According to the National Library of Medicine, there are an estimated 5.1 million species of fungi on Earth and they may outnumber plants 6 to 1. Yet, only a fraction of this number has been identified, including in Ohio.

 It is estimated that around 2,000 species of mushrooms grow in Ohio, but it could be much higher. This article explores 3 local parks--Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary, Maple Ridge Reserve and Brukner Nature Center--where you can find hundreds of different mushroom species.

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Meet Ohio's First Female Miller & Discover Historic Bear's Mill 

Tucked into a scenic wooded area along Greenville Creek in rural Darke County, the historic Bear’s Mill four-story wooden structure, with its beautiful hand-hewn timber framework, blends into the natural environment     From 1849, when Bear’s Mill was conceived, to our modern times the skill of milling grains has transitioned from necessity to novelty, and some would argue, back to necessity again.

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Apple Picking, Rides to the Pumpkin Patch and Homemade Pies 

Stevens Bakery is a family owned and operated bakery and orchard located off of Route 55 in Champaign County. They offer apples, pumpkins and apple cider seasonally and homemade pies year-round.

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Ohio's Presidents and Their Memorials, Monuments and Museums 

Ohio is known as “the Mother of U.S. Presidents,” having been the birthplace of seven of the 45 men who have held the office. Only Virginia, with eight U.S. presidents born in the state, outnumbers Ohio. 

This article looks at the lives and legacies of each Ohio president and provides a guide to visiting some of the great tourist attractions associated with them.

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The Lost Genius of the Hopewell

Around 2,000 years ago, Ohio was the religious center of the eastern United States and the Hopewell Indians who lived here. Tens of thousands of Native Americans from throughout the United States traveled to Ohio, almost as if it were a Mecca of the New World. The Hopewell built huge earthworks that aligned with the moon, sun and stars and lived in peace for nearly 500 years. This article explores the Hopewell and their earthworks, many of which are set to become UNESCO World Heritage sites in the near future. 

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Unraveling the Serpent 

One of the great mysteries of prehistory is why so many cultures from different parts of the world spent so much time and effort building giant megaliths, monuments and earthworks to track the perceived movements of the sun, moon and stars.

Serpent Mound, in Peebles, Ohio, is one such place. There are many mysteries surrounding Serpent Mound, including who built it, when and who gave the builders the idea in the first place. This article explores all three questions.  

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The Dark Skies: Adventures in Astronomy

There are few places remaining in the eastern United States where you can see the night sky in its full glory. However, luckily for residents of the northern Miami Valley, many of these places, known as Dark Sky Zones or parks, are located nearby. This includes locations in West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Pennsylvania. 

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Cycling 100 Miles on the Great Miami Recreational Trail

Starting in Tipp City, this 100-mile round-trip bicycle journey uses the Great Miami Recreational Trail to travel to its current furthest point south in Middletown. This is a two-day adventure that passes through cityscapes, parks, small towns, historical areas and natural landscapes, along with many other great stops along the way.    

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A List of 10 Secluded Hiking Trails
And Then 10 More!

Discover 20 secluded, and often lesser-known, places to hike in the northern Miami Valley.

Locations include a cemetery with amazing statues, a new trail that promises to keep expanding in Tipp City, three places that claim to be the "river's edge," boardwalk trails with amazing wildflowers in the spring and many other unique places.

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Day Trip on the Great Miami Recreational Trail

When cycling the Great Miami Recreational Trail from Tipp City to Piqua, a distance of about 23 miles when starting at Ross Road and ending at Swift Run Lake, there appears to be five distinct sections to the trail, not to mention dozens of things to see and do along the way. This article explores these five different sections and all of the interesting attractions to enjoy along the way.

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The Short Shelf Life of the Shaggy Mane Mushroom

While edible and abundant in western Ohio and throughout North America, shaggy mane mushrooms (Coprinus comatus, or “shaggy ink caps”) have one of the shortest windows of opportunity when it comes to cooking and eating them. Due to a rare process known as autodigestion, once picked, or after they spore, the caps of shaggy manes become inky within four to six hours. 

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Indian Creek Distillery - A Destination for History & Flavor

When Indian Creek increases its line of small batch distilled liquors, the new labels are always inspired by a period of history and the re-telling of a family story.

In 2019, new products—and having to deal with new liquor laws—had owners Joe and Missy Duer feeling nostalgic, so they called it their “coming home year.” This article looks back at that memorable year and the distillery.   

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Skunk Cabbage: A Stinky Name for a Helpful Plant

One of the first signs that spring is near in Ohio is the arrival of skunk cabbage in late January and February, often when there is still snow on the ground. The maroon flowering plant can be found in marshy and swampy areas, as well as near streams and woodlands. It keeps its maroon color well into spring, and it flowers before its leaves appear. Learn about the other interesting characteristics and uses of Skunk Cabbage in this article.

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Big City Exhibits at a Small Town Museum: The Bradford Railroad Museum

Bradford, Ohio is one of those little towns that takes a blip to drive through, but once was a bustling place with an important role in history. Located dead-center between Piqua and Greenville, Bradford was a thriving destination for rail travelers and dignitaries, as well as a hot spot for railway workers and train personnel. The current residents of this small rural town have preserved their rich history by creating a surprisingly modern museum.

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Unveiling the River's Edge Wildlife Preserve

The River’s Edge Wildlife Preserve, owned and maintained by Brukner Nature Center is a very special place. It’s filled with natural springs, several waterfalls, and a surprising birds-eye view of the Stillwater River. While not a large park, a loop hiking trail leads visitors through this diverse natural landscape. The park is known for its puffball mushrooms in the fall. There are also unique wildflowers along the river at the park.

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Solar Powered and Self-Sufficient at WoodsWalk Farm Bed & Breakfast  

Mary Haldeman and her husband Mark live on a 60-acre self-sufficient, solar powered farm located just north of Piqua, and they grow everything from asparagus, cabbage and apples to cumquats, lemons and figs. They have no utility bills, use geothermal heating, and any wood burned in their fireplace comes from fallen trees and limbs on the property. And you are invited to experience it all!

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The Miami Valley's Ghost Town-Tadmor

At one time, the Village of Tadmor (near Ross Road in Tipp City) was expected to become one of the greatest cities in the region. It contained each of the major transportation methods of the 19th century -- the Miami and Erie Canal, National Road, the Great Miami River and the Michigan-Ohio Railroad. Each of these passed directly through the village and made it ripe for development.

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