Waterfalls + Wildflowers + Wine + Whiskey:
a spring {designated} driving + hiking tour

story + photos by matt bayman

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1. Charleston Falls
2. Bowmen & Landes  
3. Indian Creek Distillery
4. Downtown Troy
- Leaf & Vine
- Agave & Rye 
- MoJo’s Bar & Grille
- Troy-Hayner Cultural Center 
- Hayner Distilling 
5. Hobart Urban Nature Preserve 
6. Eldean Covered Bridge 
7. Twin Arches Reserve
8. Farrington Reserve Waterfall 
9. Garbry Big Woods Reserve 
10. Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary
11. Fletcher Covered Bridge 
12. Poor Farmer’s Campground  
13. Downtown Piqua
- Scottish Thistle 
- 3 Joe’s Pizzeria & Trattoria 
14. WoodsWalk Farm B&B
15. Greenville Falls State Scenic
River Area 
16. Painter Creek Waterfall 
17. Stillwater Prairie Eastern
Trailhead  

18. Stillwater Prairie Reserve

19. Maple Ridge Reserve

20. Goode Prairie Preserve

21. Twenty One Barrels Cidery & Winery 

22. Downtown Versailles & Hotel Versailles

23. The Winery at Versailles

24. The Wooden Spoon

25. Historic Bear’s Mill 

26. A.R. Winery 

27. Ludlow Falls

28. Brukner Nature Center

29. River’s Edge Nature Preserve & Waterfall 

30. Old Mason Winery 

31. Aces on 48 

32. Englewood MetroPark

33. Downtown Tipp City

- Buckeye Distillery

- Harrison’s Restaurant

- Coldwater Café 

- Bodega Wine and Specialty Foods 

- Chaffee’s Brewhouse 

- Roger Presley Trail & Freeman Prairie

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   The self-guided tour that unfolds on this page revolves around the theme of waterfalls, wildflowers, wine and whiskey—four things that Miami and Darke County have a surprising surplus of.

    In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find more waterfalls so close together in all of western Ohio, or more award-winning wineries and distilleries located within miles of each other. 

   Often, where there are waterfalls, there are beautiful wildflower displays nearby, not to mention miles of hiking trails. And, where whiskey and wine are served, there is often equally good food and entertainment to enjoy.  

 

   The following tour combines the best of these worlds and is meant to be taken over several days or longer starting in mid-April and lasting through mid-May. This is when western Ohio is aglow with spring foliage. 

   The peak of spring color can often rival that of fall, and this tour visits some of the best places to see it. 

 

   It visits 4 wineries, 3 distilleries, at least 6 waterfalls, 15 wildflower displays, 16 parks and preserves with miles of hiking trails, 4 amazing small towns, several roadside attractions, and some of the best restaurants and pubs in western Ohio, all during one of the most beautiful times of year. And, all without leaving the comforts of your own “home.”

 

   At the same time, the tour can be enjoyed when different sets of wildflowers bloom in the summer and fall, or when wineries harvest and produce their newest products. Either way, it’s a chance to discover just how much fun there is to have in your own backyard and how beautiful western Ohio can be.

 

   The following trip leads (designated) drivers through a giant loop of Miami and Darke counties and from one great destination to another. Side trips, and attractions related and unrelated to the theme can add to the experience, as can staying the night at a campground, bed and breakfast or hotel/spa, all of which are available on this tour!

 

   There are daytime and nighttime activities to enjoy, historical sites, buildings and bridges to explore, dozens of shops to browse through and some very great people to meet. 

   So, when the sun is shining and the flowers and trees are blooming, designate a driver, put on your hiking shoes and prepare to have a barrel of fun!  

Stop No. 1: Charleston Falls Preserve
2535 Ross Rd., Tipp City

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   Charleston Falls Preserve is the first of several places on this tour that contains both a waterfall and beautiful wildflower display. Both attractions are located close to the parking lot and can be seen by taking a less than one-mile hike.  
   To do this, at the entrance of the trail system, instead of turning left on the main trail, turn right and follow the path to a large prairie that is home to a variety of wildflowers and tall grasses. While the prairie is most vibrant in the late summer and fall, its spring display is worth seeing, as is the wildlife it attracts. 


   In the middle of this flowering, buzzing landscape is a gazebo that allows guests to sit back and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the prairie. Then, from here, it is only a short walk to the famous waterfall. 
   Known as “Little Niagara Falls” (because it’s carved out of the same rocks as Niagara Falls in New York), Charleston Falls drops an impressive 37 feet and can be viewed from above and below.


   According to geologist Albert Dickas in his book, Ohio Rocks!, Charleston Falls is about 4,000 years older than Niagara Falls, having formed about 16,000 years ago, compared to 12,000 years ago for the Niagara. In that time, Charleston Falls has retreated some 5,000 feet from its junction with the Great Miami River. That’s an average recession rate of 0.31 feet per year! 


   Another interesting geological feature at the park is what appears to be a line or barrier in the rocks behind the waterfall (see photo above bottom left, click to enlarge.) According to Dickas, this is a 444-million-year-old “contact” point that separates Ordovician age shale at the bottom of the falls from Silurian age limestone at the top.
   Along with the waterfall and prairie, the park contains nearly four miles of trails that lead past a limestone cave, wooded ravines, meandering streams, a pond, and through the Thorny Badlands and Redbud Valley.


   Redbud Valley is especially beautiful during the first few weeks of April when the redbud trees on the trail blossom a vibrant red and pink.
   If a longer hike isn’t desired, from the waterfall, simply follow the main trail back to the parking lot and continue on the tour to Indian Creek Distillery—located just 7 miles away in a picturesque part of Miami County. 

Stop No. 2: Bowman & Lande Turkeys
6490 E. Ross Rd., New Carlisle

Snack Time!
   If you need a snack, stop by Bowman & Landes Turkeys, located just east of Charleston Falls at 6490 Ross Rd. The deli at the turkey farm offers fresh sandwiches, brats, turkey, snacks, desserts, non-GMO meats and other food items to-go and is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
(Photo of sandwich provided)

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Stop No. 3: Indian Creek Distillery
7095 Staley Rd., New Carlisle

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  Indian Creek Distillery is Ohio’s oldest distillery and home to award-winning frontier whiskeys that are hand-crafted one bottle at a time in the oldest active stills in the United States. Indian Creek Distillery represents a legendary legacy of early American farm distillation: past, present and future.
   Located in the rolling hills of southern Miami County, this charming old farm has been in the Staley family for over 200 years and is the only family owned historic farm distillery in the United States using the old fashioned double copper distilling method.


   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 during the week, Tuesday through Saturday between noon and 5 p.m. to make a purchase in their Bottle Shop & Mercantile. Tastings are available during open hours and are $10 for a choice of 4 spirits and $15 to taste all 9 spirits.


   Representing the 6th generation, Joe & Missy Duer also offer a Legendary Tour: A Walk Thru History with the Staley Boys, where guests can follow the distilling process from grain to bottle and learn in-depth about the colorful history of the family and farm. Guests will tour the 1818 Grist Mill (the oldest original gristmill in Ohio), the original Mash House and Ware House, the old distillery ruins and the newly built distillery. At the end of the tour, sit down for a Guided Tasting Flight. This is a reservation-only tour and requires a minimum of 10 guests. The cost is $40 per person, which includes the tasting flight.


   To learn more or to make a tour reservation, visit Indiancreekdistillery.com or call (937) 846-1443.
   The distillery also hosts a number of special events throughout the year. They often include a fun mix of local food trucks, live music and of course-whiskey! Watch for upcoming events and special releases on their Facebook page.

   Next up, food, spirits and more whiskey history in downtown Troy.
 

Stop No. 4: Downtown Troy
Leaf & Vine |  Agave & Rye |  MoJo's Bar & Grille
Troy-Hayner Cultural Center | Hayner Distilling

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   Downtown Troy is the entertainment hub of Miami County. It has the most restaurants and pubs, a variety of festivals and special events throughout the year and amazing charm, from a fountain in the middle of the downtown traffic circle to colorful lights displayed on the towering and majestic courthouse at night. It also contains great shops and boutiques and a rich history that includes whiskey distilling. 
   A lot of time can be spent shopping, dining and sightseeing in downtown Troy, but for the purposes of this tour, there are several places that stand out.

Troy: The Leaf & Vine
108 W. Main St.

 Known as a “Mecca for whiskey lovers,” the Leaf & Vine boasts the largest selection of bourbon, whiskey and scotch in Miami County, including rare brands that are hard to come by. 
   The pub can be described as part saloon, part midtown bar and also contains a walk-in humidor, monthly cigar events (where bourbon is often paired with the featured cigar) and live music on most Saturday nights. It is a favorite hangout of locals and visitors alike. 
   The pub is open 4:30 p.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday; noon to midnight Friday; and noon to 1 a.m. Saturday. 

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Troy: Troy-Hayner Cultural Center
301 W. Main St.

   The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center is located in the former mansion of Mary Jane Hayner who was the wife of the founder of the Hayner Distilling Co. in Troy. In the late 1800s, the company became one of the largest distilleries in Ohio and the largest mail order whiskey business in the United States. The distillery specialized in bourbons and ryes and had customers all over the country. That is, until Prohibition in 1920. 
   Today, along with hosting art exhibits, live music and special events, the cultural center houses the premier collection of Hayner Distilling Co. memorabilia. It can be viewed in the Hayner Distillery Museum, which is open seven days a week. The mansion is a treasure itself, featuring period furniture and décor and an enclosed courtyard.  
   The center is free to visit and open 7-9 p.m. Monday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Learn more at troyhayner.org.

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Troy:
MoJo's Bar & Grille

109 E. Main St.

   MoJo’s Bar & Grille has a fantastic bourbon selection and a menu that utilizes many local ingredients, including a local butcher, like Cavens Meats in Conover, and vinegars and oils from Olive Oasis in Troy, among others. 
   Known for its signature drinks, the restaurant also offers bourbon flights. Customers can choose from four bourbons per flight and dine at the bar or in one of two dining areas. The menu includes homemade sandwiches, unique appetizers, burgers, flatbread pizzas, wings, fish and chips, a jumbo shrimp basket, salads, wraps and more. They are open 4-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 4-11 p.m. Friday; and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. 
   The first of several dog-lovers on this tour, the house wine at MoJo’s is Bar Dog wines. In addition to making good wine, the winery donates a portion of sales to a grant fund that supports pet rescues and shelters. MoJo’s also holds numerous charitable events for similar programs each year.  

Troy: Agave & Rye
2 N. Market St.

   A combination of one-of-a-kind tacos and signature drinks, plus a fun atmosphere and exotic décor, makes Agave & Rye a popular destination. 
   Ingredients found in the 20 different tacos on the menu include sweet and spicy bacon, carne asada steak, chopped bourbon poached shrimp, Alabama-white barbecue chicken and many more. These can be complimented with the restaurant’s signature beverages, which include: Bourbon Peach Punch, Bourbon Black Cherry & Mango-Habanero Slushees and the Hibiscus Habanero Margarita, among others. 
   If you happen to be taking this tour on a Wednesday, stop by during lunch or dinner for Whiskey Wednesdays, where discounts on specialty drinks and food are offered. 
   An outdoor patio at the restaurant overlooks the historic traffic circle and fountain and adds to the dining experience. The flower display in the downtown is always beautifully done and often includes hanging baskets and potted plants and a grand display around the fountain.    

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Troy: Hayner Distilling
619 Lincoln Ave.

 In 2020, 100 years after Prohibition, Hayner whiskey began flowing again in Troy with the opening of Hayner Distilling. 
   Using a few surviving bottles of original Hayner whiskey, the proprietors of Hayner Distilling analyzed the contents and, working with Bardstown Bourbon Company in Kentucky, created a blend that is complementary to what the original Hayner Distilling Co. produced. 
   Hayner Distilling whiskey is available at all liquor stores in the Miami Valley and numerous pubs and restaurants, including MoJo’s Bar & Grille and the Leaf & Vine. The Leaf & Vine carries both the rye and bourbon and recommends them served on the rocks.  
   Hayner Distilling is open from noon to 3 p.m. each Saturday for sales.     

Stop No. 5: Hobart Urban Nature Preserve
1400 Tyrone Rd., Troy

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   Possibly one of the most beautiful places to hike at the peak of spring color is Hobart Urban Nature Preserve.
   Here, a mix of white dogwoods and pink redbuds, plus the earthy colors of the prairie and fields that surround the hiking trails, contrast to create a magical environment. Unique sculptures, a barn quilt, a pond and other sights are the perfect backdrop for photographs. 
   During the late spring, summer and fall, the prairie blooms with a variety of wildflowers, attracting insects, birds, deer and other wildlife.
   There are more than two miles of hiking trails and four sculptures in the park. If time is short, the area around the pond (near the parking lot) is most colorful in the spring. It’s also located next to the barn quilt, which is located on private property, but visible from the park.
    After this, it’s back to the countryside for some rare sights and another waterfall. 

Stops No. 6-8: Farrington Reserve by Way of 2 Rare Structures
Eldean Covered Bridge & Twin Arch Reserve

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 En route to the next waterfall is one of Miami County’s best-known attractions—Eldean Covered Bridge—and a hidden one—the twin arch stone culvert. Both of these structures are extremely rare and located on public property. 

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   At 224-feet-long and constructed in 1860, Eldean Covered Bridge is the longest surviving example of a Long truss bridge in the United States and a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can drive across the historic bridge and also park next to it to get out for a closer look. 
   Surprisingly, there is a rainbow of different wildflowers that bloom next to the bridge in the spring, summer and fall. They are especially abundant on the northeast side of the bridge. Photographers can explore a number of unique angles to take pictures of the bridge and wildflowers.
   The bridge is located at the intersection of Eldean Road and County Road 25-A.

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 Another rare structure in Miami County is located just up the road (and river) from Eldean Covered Bridge. Built in 1837, the twin arch stone culvert at Twin Arch Reserve was built as part of the Miami and Erie Canal, which connected Lake Erie to the Ohio River. Culverts enabled a small stream to pass under the canal and kept the system from flooding. Today, the culvert in Miami County is one of only two twin arches remaining on the Miami and Erie Canal. 
   From the parking lot, a short walk north on the Great Miami Recreational Trail leads to the culvert—and a scenic view of the Great Miami River.

   The park is located at 3147 N. County Road 25-A.

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   One of the lesser-known waterfalls in Miami County, the Farrington Reserve waterfall only drops a few feet, creating a miniature gorge of limestone. While small in comparison to Charleston Falls, there is something charming about this cascading waterfall.  
   It can be seen from the road, but, for a closer look, park in the Farrington Reserve parking lot across the street and use the Great Miami Recreational Trail to reach the waterfall.
   There are not a lot of wildflowers growing near the falls, but, in the spring, huge carpets of marsh marigold grow along the Great Miami River and bike path. If time allows, take a walk in either direction on the path to see this abundant yellow flower, as well as other spring wildflowers and wildlife. 
   If not, it’s back to the peaceful countryside and a few hidden gems.

   The park is located at 1594 W. Peterson Rd.

Stops No. 9-10: Garbry Big Woods Reserve & Sanctuary
6660 N. Casstown-Sidney Rd. & 2540 E. Statler Rd., Piqua

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Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary, 2540 Statler Rd. (pictured above)
   A true hidden gem in the spring, Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary features a one-mile handicap accessible boardwalk trail that passes through one of the oldest wooded areas in Miami County. 
   As spring unfolds, an ocean of wildflowers bloom on the sides of the boardwalk and thousands of tree frogs sing and chirp in the low-lying areas of the park, announcing the arrival of warmer weather and longer days. Visitors can find mushrooms (including scarlet cups seen above right) and other wildlife around every corner, all while enjoying a peaceful and secluded environment. 
   To experience the most wildflowers, visit in the middle of April through early May. To hear the most tree frogs, start your visits in late March and early April. 

Garbry Big Woods Reserve, 6660 Casstown-Sidney Rd. (pictured below)
   Although more beautiful in the summer and fall than in spring, Garbry Big Woods Reserve is a special place to visit any time of year. 
   From the front entrance parking lot, a short loop trail passes through a wooded area and next to a trickling brook before reaching a large prairie. At the southwest corner of this prairie is the Ohio Native Tree Arboretum. Throughout the year, visitors to the arboretum can see how native trees change during the seasons, including in the spring. 
   In the fall, the reserve is one of the most brilliantly colored places in the region. Several lush patches of wildflowers also bloom at the park throughout the summer and early fall.

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Side Trip Stops 11-12: Another Covered Bridge & a Campground Getaway
Fletcher Covered Bridge & Poor Farmer's Campground

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Not far from Garbry Big Woods is the Fletcher Covered Bridge. It’s located at 59 Church St. just off of U.S. 36 in the small village of Fletcher. It was built in 1998. Also nearby is Poor Farmer’s Campground, which hosts a variety of events throughout the spring, summer and fall, including flea markets, tractor pulls, concerts, cook-outs and many other special events. The campground, located at 7211 N. Lost Creek-Shelby Rd. can act as a stopping point for the night during this tour. To book a campsite, call (937) 368-2449. (Aerial photo provided) 
   If not, it’s on to downtown Piqua!

Stop No. 13: Downtown Piqua
for some Scottish & Italian Wining and Dining

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   Just like downtown Troy, a lot of time can be spent visiting the shops, antique stores, pubs and restaurants in downtown Piqua, or taking a tour of the Winans Fine Chocolates + Coffee factory, which boasts a bourbon-flavored chocolate candy, among many others. However, again, for the purpose of this article, there are a few places that stand out.

Piqua: Scottish Thistle
110 High St.

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 Located in the historic Fort Piqua Plaza, Scottish Thistle serves authentic Scottish food and authentic Scottish whiskey, wine and beer.
  Guests can dine on Scottish Mac, Fish-n-Chips, Bangers & Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, Cornish Hen, Tenderloin Medallions and other Scottish fare, and combine them with the restaurant’s signature drinks. This includes Show Me the Monkey, made with Scottish Monkey Shoulder and Drambuie and the Old-Fashioned, made with Glenfiddich single malt scotch whiskey, among many others.
   The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. 

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Piqua: 3 Joe's Pizzeria & Trattoria
414 W. Water St.

   3 Joe’s Pizzeria and Trattoria is a third generation family owned business that has been serving popular pizza in Piqua for 50 years! A large selection of Italian (and other) wines can be paired with the restaurant’s specialty pizzas, pastas, subs, salads, and desserts.
   Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, 3 Joe’s has indoor seating next to a fireplace and an outdoor patio that is always enjoyable in the spring, summer and fall. 
   View the full menu at 3joes.com. Call ahead to be seated at (937) 615-1100.

   (Pasta photos below and to the bottom left and scottish egg picture above provided)

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Stop No. 14: WoodsWalk Farm Bed & Breakfast
9111 W. Miami-Shelby Rd., Piqua

 Located a few miles outside of Piqua on a completely self-sustaining, solar-powered farm, guests at WoodsWalk Farm Bed & Breakfast can enjoy an added bonus in April when thousands of daffodils bloom around the house and nearby woods. Overnight guests can walk on the wooded trails, learn about the farm and the many foods grown there, and sample the local cuisine on an outdoor patio that overlooks the daffodils and numerous gardens on the farm, among other relaxing activities. To inquire about a room, call Mary at (937) 541-1105 or visit 
woodswalkfarm.com.

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Stop No. 15: Greenville Falls State Scenic River Area
9140 Covington-Gettysburg Rd., Covington

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Greenville Falls State Scenic River is another place where a waterfall and wildflowers go hand-in-hand. And while there are two separate parts of this park that should be visited, the wildflowers are located on the north side of Greenville Creek and accessible from the parking lot on Covington-Gettysburg Rd. 
   From this parking lot, as hikers walk to a wooden platform that overlooks the scenic 20-foot-long cascading waterfall, a large prairie surrounds the trail. It is filled with a variety of different wildflowers that begin blooming in April and continue through September and early October. Also on this side of the park is a natural rock arch, which is easier to see in the early spring when there is less foliage. 
   Trails on the south side of the park pass through an area once occupied by one of the first electric mills in the region. Old relics from the mill, including a sluice gate, machinery and old foundations, plus interpretive signs, help hikers learn about the history of the area.     
   The parking lot for the south side of the park is located on Rangeline Road, just south of the bridge.

Stops No. 16: Painter Creek Waterfalls

 The “little sister” of Greenville Falls can be found a few miles away.
   Painter Creek Waterfall looks like a smaller version of Greenville Falls and was carved out of the same rock by the same glacial forces. The waterfall is located on private property, but, in early spring and winter, when foliage is thin, it is clearly visible from the road, as is a nearby cave located on the creek—also on private property. 

   A second, but smaller falls is located upstream, also on private property.
   To reach the waterfall from Greenville Falls, continue south on Rangeline Road for a little less than 2 miles and then turn left on Sugar Grove Road. The waterfall will be on your left in the wooded area.

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Stops No. 17-20: 3 or 4 Parks in Northwest Miami County
Stillwater Prairie Eastern Trailhead |  Stillwater Prairie Reserve Maple Ridge Reserve |  Goode Prairie Preserve

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   Between Greenville Falls and Twenty One Barrels Cidery & Winery are 430 acres of beautiful parks that feature wildflowers, the longest suspension bridge in Ohio and the longest dirt hiking trail system (over 8 miles) in Miami County. 
   The reason this section is titled “3 or 4” is because one of the parks—Goode Prairie—is not very spectacular in the spring; but it’s one of the most beautiful wildflower displays in western Ohio in the summer and early fall.  
   The other three parks—Stillwater Prairie Eastern Trailhead, Stillwater Prairie Reserve and Maple Ridge Reserve—are interesting to visit year-round. Each is located within a few miles of each other on the Stillwater River and contain long and short hiking trails that explore this beautiful part of Miami County. 
   If time is short, many of the wildflower displays at Stillwater Prairie Reserve can be seen by car, or by taking a short hike through the prairie. Likewise, the fastest way to access the suspension bridge is from the parking lot at Maple Ridge Reserve.  

  Part of Stillwater Prairie Reserve, the entrance to this park is located right next to the Stillwater River. A hiking trail follows the river into a beautiful and quiet prairie and past a wildlife pond. The prairie here is most impressive in the fall, but still worth seeing in the spring. Those who don’t mind crossing a shallow section of the river can access the two other parks from this trail.   

Park 1: Stillwater Prairie Eastern Trailhead
7790 N Rangeline Rd

   Part of Stillwater Prairie Reserve, the entrance to this park is located right next to the Stillwater River. A hiking trail follows the river into a beautiful and quiet prairie and past a wildlife pond. The prairie here is most impressive in the fall, but still worth seeing in the spring. Those who don’t mind crossing a shallow section of the river can access the two other parks from this trail.   

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Park 2: Stillwater Prairie 
9750 Ohio Rt. 185, Covington

   This large park has numerous hiking trails and abundant wildflowers. One trail follows the Stillwater River and is lined with wildflowers in the spring and summer. Another trail explores the vast prairies and wetlands in the park. Several wildlife viewing platforms provide a place to sit and watch the scenery. The suspension bridge connects this park with Maple Ridge Reserve.

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Park 3: Goode Prairie Preserve 
10354 Union Church Rd, Bradford

 If you’re taking this tour in the summer and fall, definitely include Goode Prairie Preserve as a stop. In late summer there are few places more beautiful. In the spring, there is just not much to see. Located at 10354 Union Church Rd., Bradford. 

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Park 4: Maple Ridge Reserve
10430 Ohio Route 185

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   Along with quick access to the suspension bridge, Maple Ridge is a great place to see an array of spring wildflowers and mushrooms. An extensive hiking trail system passes the Stillwater River, a hilly and wooded forest and through a large prairie. If time is short, many of the wildflowers can be seen next to the river and suspension bridge, located only a few hundred feet from the parking lot.   

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Stop No. 21: Twenty One Barrels Cidery & Winery
9717 Haratio-Harris Creek Rd., Bradford

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   Located on the border of Darke and Miami counties, this charming countryside winery focuses on small batch hard ciders and wines. 
   Guests can sit back and enjoy one of the curated tasting flights or grab a glass and stroll through the vines. Don’t forget to check out their events as they feature a variety of local musicians and food trucks throughout the year. 
   If you are looking to enjoy some award-winning wines in a relaxing, adults-only setting then this is the place for you. 
  Twenty One Barrels is open from 5-9 p.m. Friday and 1-8 p.m. Saturday or by appointment by calling (937) 467-4498. To learn more, visit 21barrels.com.

(Photos provided) 

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Stop No. 22: Downtown Versailles & Hotel Versailles
21 W. Main St., Versailles

 Hotel Versailles, once known as The Inn at Versailles before a fire damaged the building in 2019, will be hosting its Grand Opening in May and is currently taking reservations for hotel accommodations and dinner. Learn more by calling (937) 526-3020 or visiting hotelversaillesohio.com
   While in beautiful downtown Versailles, stop by the Swift Gilly Boutique, Brown’s Sweet Shop & Bakery and visit the town square to see sculptures and flowers.

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Stop No. 23: The Winery at Versailles
6572 Ohio Route 47, Versailles

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   Celebrating 20 years in business for its Ohio location this year, The Winery at Versailles strives to provide the best experience possible for each of its guests, including during wine tastings and dining experiences. They strongly encourage reservations for both.
   The menu at the winery offers homemade fresh dips, cheese and sausage baskets and freshly made pizza and is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to either 3 p.m. or 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, depending on whether a special event is taking place that evening.
   Although the winery’s products can be found in stores throughout Ohio, 14 wines are available only at the winery. Guests can purchase wine by the glass or the bottle with a recorking option available. They also offer tastings by the flight only while seated. This allows customers time to sit, relax, look over the wine list with a selection of over 30 wines (from dry to dessert) and select either 5 (1oz) pours or 10 (1oz) pours of their choice. Each guest is served by a wine guide that helps lead them through the tasting.
   The Winery at Versailles has won the Best Winery in Ohio for the past three years and the Best Event Venue for the last five years. Popular events include: Ultimate Taste, Food and Wine Pairings, Low Country Boils, Thrill of the Grill, Date Night, Wine and Chocolate, 12 Courses of Christmas Dinner, a large outdoor flea market and so much more.
   During the winter months visitors can warm up with a mulled wine and in the summer they offer wine slushies. 
   Retail and Tasting Room hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To make reservations or learn more, call (937) 526-3232 or visit
wineryatversailles.com

Stop No. 24: The Wooden Spoon
9690 US-127, Greenville 

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   Open six days a week from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., enjoy traditional breakfast and lunch. Homemade menu with homemade pie, apple dumplings, breakfast scrambles, pizza burger, tenderloins, country fried steak and much more. See the full menu HERE.

(Photo provided)

Stop No. 25: Historic Bear's Mill
6450 Arcanum Bears Mill Rd., Greenville

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  Historic Bear’s Mill is located next to Greenville Creek and is one of the few operating water-powered mills in Ohio. The mill was never used to produce alcohol, but wildflowers and blooming trees in the spring make it an ideal stop on this tour.  
   During regular hours, visitors can tour the mill and shop for locally made products and then take a short hike to see a pedestrian covered bridge, a spillway on Greenville Creek and various displays of foliage and flowers along the trail. The site is free to visit and part of Darke County Parks. 
   The Spring Open House at Bear’s Mill will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 23. 

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Stop No. 26: A.R. Winery
3564 Gordon-Landis Rd., Arcanum

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 There are so many reasons to visit A.R. Winery, described by its owners as “a destination.”    
   Located in the peaceful countryside near Arcanum, A.R. Winery is the only winery on this tour that is also a craft brewery, offering 11 different beers on tap. They also have food, including wood-fired Chicago-style pizza (the meat lover’s pizza weighs 2 ½ pounds!), sandwiches, soups and more. On Wednesdays only, stop in for a Spent Grain Pretzel, made from their own beer grains. They also make and sell their own chocolates and root beer.
   Each of the 20 different wines produced, sold and served during wine tastings and special events contains a cartoon picture of the owners’ dog on the bottle. Whatever ingredient is in the dog’s mouth is what is in the bottle. Wines include: Forbidden Apple, Lock, Stock & Berries, El Loco Lime, Cray Cray Cranberry and many others. Some wines are seasonal, others are available year-round. 
  Visitors can stop in for a tasting of wines, beers and root beer from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday; noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday; and noon to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The brick oven is open each day except for Tuesday. 
   In May, the winery will be installing a pool that will be used for dog diving, a sport that is growing in popularity throughout the United States and beyond. Visitors will be able to enjoy a glass of wine, beer or root beer while sitting in a set of bleachers and watching either the owners’ dogs jump (they have several champions) or guests who bring their dogs to practice or compete.  
   To learn more about the winery and upcoming events, visit arwinery.com or call (937) 417-0565.

(Pet photos provided by A.R. Winery)

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Stop No. 27: Ludlow Falls
Below the St. Rt. 48 bridge in Ludlow Falls

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   Arguably one of the most beautiful waterfalls in western Ohio, Ludlow Falls is not located in a park. However, the public is allowed to visit and explore a small area of the gorge. (It is illegal to get in the water.) To reach the waterfall, park in the gravel parking lot next to the bridge. The waterfall is beneath the bridge. 
   Like most waterfalls near the Stillwater River, glaciers and glacial runoff helped carve out the falls and gorge, which is one of the deepest in western Ohio. 
   While not as impressive as other wildflower displays on this tour, some do grow on the sides of the gorge. 

Stop No. 28: Brukner Nature Center
5995 Horseshoe Bend Rd., Ludlow Falls

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   Brukner Nature Center is located not far from Ludlow Falls at 5995 Horseshoe Bend Rd. and is a worthy stop on this trip. After paying a small entrance fee, visitors can hike one of the most cherished trail systems in the region, passing some of the first wildflowers of the season in late March. Wildflowers continue to bloom throughout spring, summer and fall, as do a huge variety of mushrooms and trees. The Boardwalk Trail is especially memorable in the spring. It passes through an area filled with skunk cabbage and marsh marigold and is almost always one of the first places in Miami County to spring back to life with color each year. Plan your visit at bruknernaturecenter.com

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Stop No. 29: River's Edge Nature Preserve
at Calumet Rd. and St. Rt. 48 in West Milton

   Located at the intersection of Calumet Road and Rt. 48, River’s Edge Nature Preserve is a property of Brukner Nature Center and requires a small fee to enter. 
   From the parking lot, a short hike leads into the woods where a deep ravine with rock outcrops and steep walls houses a long cascading waterfall. Fed by a natural spring and aquifer, the cascading waterfall drops six or seven times before the stream evens out and flows into the Stillwater River. 
   If you continue on this loop trail, it will take you to a hill that stands 40 or 50 feet above the river, which is a rare sight in this part of Ohio. In the spring, without foliage, it is easier to see the panoramic view of the river.

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Stop No. 30: Old Mason Winery
4199 Iddings Rd., West Milton

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 Old Mason Winery & Vineyard, a family owned and operated winery, has been in business since 2013. In that time, they have not only won many awards for their wine (including being named Best in Dayton the past two years), but also entertained thousands of guests during tastings and special events.
   The winery hosts live music every Saturday evening from 6-9 p.m. and the second Friday of each month, also from 6-9 p.m. Popular musical acts include Mike Sedmak, Rick Sylvester, Scott Houchens, Steve Worley and Amanda Livingston. 
   During shows and other special events, guests can purchase bottles of wine and enjoy a relaxing evening of entertainment, music and, on select evenings, food trucks. 
   Tastings are offered from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday (unless there is live music) and noon to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Guests can enjoy a wine tasting flight, which consists of five wines (the winery handcrafts 21 different wines), or choose to sip a glass of wine or even share a bottle. They also offer appetizers to compliment their wines, such as summer sausage, cheese blocks, cheese spreads and crackers.
   While sipping wine, guests can enjoy the brick interior tasting room while sitting by the fireplace or relaxing on a covered patio with a vineyard view.  
   “Whichever they choose we hope they will enjoy the handcrafted wine while relaxing in a friendly environment,” says owner Donna Clark.
   For more information, and an updated list of events, visit oldmason.com or call (937) 698-1122.

Stop No. 31-32: Waterfalls in West Milton & Engelwood

   Some of the most beautiful waterfalls in western Ohio are located in West Milton. Unfortunately, two of the best ones are either out of view or on private property. However, the waterfall at Aces on 48 (pictured at right) can be seen by the public. The waterfall is visible from the pub’s patio. Aces on 48 is located at 2334 S. Miami St. and open 5 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday. 
   Not much further south on Rt. 48 is Englewood MetroPark, where two more waterfalls associated with the Stillwater River can be seen while hiking the park’s extensive trail system.

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Stop No. 33: Downtown Tipp City
Buckeye Distillery |  Harrison's Restaurant |  Chaffee's Brewhouse Coldwater Cafe & Boedga Wine & Specialty Food
Roger Presley Trail & Freeman Prairie

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   The final stop on this tour is historic downtown Tipp City, home to Buckeye Distillery, Coldwater Café, Harrison’s Restaurant, Chaffee’s Brewhouse and Bodega Wine and Specialty Foods, not to mention the Roger Presley Trail and plenty of great shops and boutiques to explore.

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Tipp City: Buckeye Distillery + Harrison's Restaurant
130 W. Plums St.

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  Buckeye Distillery is located off-the-beaten path in downtown Tipp City. The distillery uses 100 percent pure juice and no artificial or extracted flavors to create a line of liqueurs—Blackberry, Cherry, Apple Pie and Raspberry, as well as two vodkas—Dragon’s and Eagles Pride vodka. They also make three wines: Blackberry, Raspberry Merlot and Raspberry Merlot Oak Aged. These products are available at the distillery and more than 150 stores in Ohio 
   The distillery is open for sales 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by calling (937) 877-1901. 
   Buckeye Distillery products are available at Harrison’s Restaurant (106 E. Main St., Tipp City), which has a diverse menu with steaks, seafood, sandwiches, burgers and more, plus a full bar and weekly specials. They are open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

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Tipp City: Chaffee's Brewhouse
15 S. 2nd St.

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   A unique feature at Chaffee’s Brewhouse is wine on tap! They currently have two red wines on tap, as well as a growing selection of whiskey and bourbons and a revolving list of craft beers to suit almost any beer drinker’s taste. Selections often include local brewers, distillers and wine makers. This includes Indian Creek Distillery. 
   A popular drink in the warmer months at Chaffee’s Brewhouse is Gypsy Gin Lemonade, made with Indian Creek Distillery’s Gypsy Gin. They also plan to carry ciders made by Twenty One Barrels. 
   Chaffee’s Brewhouse is open 4-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 2-10 p.m. Friday; and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, and sometimes later. For more information, call (937) 668-1406.

Tipp City: Coldwater Cafe & Bodega Wine & Specialty Food
19 E. Main St.

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   Often named one of the best restaurants in Ohio, downtown Tipp City is home to Coldwater Café. Patrons here can dine on gourmet entrees of seafood, steak, pasta, quiche and more, and also enjoy wine and other drinks from the bar. The restaurant, which offers outdoor seating in the warmer months, is attached to Bodega’s Wine and Specialty Foods. 
   Bodega’s has a large selection of wines and beers to go (or to use in the outdoor drinking district known as DORA) and hosts wine tastings and other special events

throughout the year. A deli with gourmet sandwiches, soups and salads, plus desserts and ice cream, is also available.    The Coldwater Café is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Bodega’s is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Tipp City: Roger Presley Trail & Freeman Prairie
Park at Canal Lock Park

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   Park at Canal Lock Park, located on East Main Street at the edge of downtown Tipp City

 

   For one last nature hike, head to the Roger Presley Trail. An easy way to access it is to park at Canal Lock Park on East Main Street next to the Tipp Roller Mill and then hiking through Freeman Prairie to reach the trailhead. The Roger Presley Trail follows the Great Miami River and is lined with white oaks, wildflowers and wildlife.
 

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