An almost-spring getaway to Greenville
–by Jennifer Ruple
PUBLICATION DATE: MARCH 2017
At this time of year, we have those days when we can smell springtime right around the corner. And then there are those days when it feels like old man winter will never check out. Fortunately for me and my husband, we picked a somewhat sunny Saturday to scope out the quaint town of Greenville, Ohio.
Approximately a two-hour drive south on I-75 and another 30 minutes west on SR 36, the town of Greenville is the county seat of Darke County and is loaded with small-town charm. From its cozy downtown with coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques to its historical gems like Bear’s Mill and The Garst Museum, Greenville is full of treasures waiting to be discovered.
As you make your way into town, plan to stop at Bear’s Mill, located at 6450 Arcanum-Bear’s Mill Rd. Named Best Historical Site for Ohio Magazine’s annual “Best of Ohio” contest, the mill is one of only a few operating water-powered mills in Ohio today. Built in 1849, Bear’s Mill rests beside Greenville Creek, which is the source of power for the mill. Through a self-guided tour of the mill’s four floors, you’ll find antique machinery, art exhibitions, and the mill’s store which sells stone-ground flours, pottery and handmade items.
Once in Greenville, head to Annie Oakley Park located just south of the center of town. The park features a plaque and a larger-than-life bronze statue dedicated to the famous sharpshooter. Oakley, born in Ohio, was dubbed Little Sure Shot for her remarkable shooting talent and later toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Although Oakley was born outside of Greenville, the city has adopted her as one of its own. There’s also a special exhibit about her at The Garst Museum, which is mentioned later in this article.
Next, take a stroll along Main Street (actually Broadway Street) where you can explore the many shops and boutiques. For lunch or dinner, take a seat at The Merchant House, also a “Best of Ohio” winner in the casual dining category. Located at 406 S. Broadway St., the eatery specializes in smoked meats such as beef brisket, sausage and chicken (pair them with Bacon Mac and Cheese and BBQ Green Beans).
Or, indulge in an authentic Detroit-style, deep-dish pizza, cooked to perfection in the restaurant’s stone oven.
After lunch, head across the street to the KitchenAid Experience retail center where you can view an original Model H KitchenAid Stand Mixer and other KitchenAid artifacts in the center’s museum on the lower level. Upstairs in the retail center, enjoy shopping the complete collection of KitchenAid countertop and culinary products. There are even refurbished appliances available at a fraction of their original price in the center’s outlet store. And, to learn tips, tricks and techniques of the trade, cooking classes are offered in the center’s kitchen. Call 888-886-8318 for information on classes and times.
And finally, don’t miss The Garst Museum, located at 205 N. Broadway St. The museum, operated by the Darke County Historical Society, is a 35,000-square foot campus that houses over 300,000 artifacts relevant to the history and culture of Darke County. There you will find The National Annie Oakley Center and exhibitions highlighting the Treaty of Greenville, Lowell Thomas and Ohio Native Americans. The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday and admission for seniors 60+ is $9 per person. Visit garstmuseum.org for times and information on special exhibits.
For those of you who feel like you’ve been cooped up way too long, keep a close watch on the weather, and hit the road to Greenville. You can always do laundry, work around the house or grocery shop on those “other” days.