I may be biased because I grew up in Grove City, but I can still see the forest for the trees. And this southwestern suburb has a lot to offer, for everyone.
Did you catch my tree pun ⬆? Grove, forest, trees? Nevermind. So, growing up in Grove City, we were well aware of its reputation as “GroveTucky,” and while that wasn’t true (and what’s so wrong with Kentucky, anyway?) there wasn’t a lot to do. Really, most of the growth has happened in the last 15 years or so.
Back in my day, if we wanted to go shopping, we had to hop on 270 and head to Westland Mall…or Media Play (RIP). Now, in addition to the big box retailers and chain restaurants, Grove City has built a solid foundation of local shops, restaurants, and fun activities. Let’s check ’em out.
3090 Southwest Blvd.
Everything here is made from scratch. Everything. Even the bread. The eponymous 3 brothers are originally from Mexico and attribute their kitchen skills to their mother. And for real, she must’ve known what she was doing because everything is delicious. The location is inside a strip mall and non-assuming, and locals will remember it as the old Pony Express Pizza joint. You can’t go wrong with most any choice, but the Tex Mex Scramble (pictured) is a fiesta of the mouth.
5172 Jackson Pike
Just opened in 2016, Scioto Grove has 620 acres to explore and boasts a FREE backpacking trail sponsored by REI. If you spend your day in Grove City soon, know that the park also has a dedicated sledding hill, which sure beats sneaking around the hill at St. Mary Magdalene like we did when I was a kid. There’s a playground area for kids, and it’s unique in that it’s mostly rope and climbing apparatus in nature-inspired hues. No garish red and yellow plastic to take away from all the natural beauty. There are miles of trails, and leashed pets are welcome.
You may be thinking that it’s weird I’d include the library here. What if you don’t have a participating library card, right? The updated Grove City Library is more than just about books. You can stop in and utilize the free (free!) yarn and crochet needles, grab a DIY book and get cozy in the corner. Located in the heart of downtown, the views of the historic town center, coupled with ample free parking, make this a must stop destination. Most weekends offer an abundance of (more free) programming, for both adults and children alike.
A hidden gem to those not local to GC (I’m wondering if the kids call it G Biddy anymore), this is the coolest place to shop. Multiple vendors spread over two floors, it’s a one-stop shop. Mostly vintage and repurposed decor items, some vendors carry clothing and accessories as well. They have an active Facebook presence so it’s easy to scope things out ahead of time, before stopping in. But, isn’t the thrill of the hunt the most exciting part?
Located in the heart of the town center, Lilly’s is a classic diner with comfort food and, most importantly, pie. Open for breakfast and lunch, it’s a great place to refuel as you make your way through the town center. This is a place with a “regular crowd,” so don’t be surprised if there’s not a lot of space at the counter. But don’t let that deter you, everyone has that Grovetuckian hospitality.
While of course, you can order a special custom cake here, they also have a small dining room and an abundance of ready-made treats for sale. It’s also worth checking their event calendar, as I’ve been able to take my kids in to decorate a cupcake or two, and in the winter, visit with Santa. Even if you aren’t hankering (I feel like that makes me sound like a stereotype) for something sweet, go in and look at some of their cake recreations. You won’t believe what they’ve made, especially the cheeseburger cake.
Wait until March to schedule your day out, and you’ll be able to catch Cabaret at the LTOB! Their 2018/19 season runs through May, but there are other events held throughout the year. I can remember being so in awe of this place as a child, and thinking that the actors and actresses were community theatre celebrities. The historic building still holds that magic for me today. And after shelling out to see Hamilton at the Ohio Theatre, I sure do like the ticket prices here, too.
You may be thinking, “But I don’t even have a fireplace?!” Fret not. Though they will build you a custom mantle, you don’t actually need to have interest in that to enjoy this shop. Lots of cute home decor, and it reminds me very much of Chip & Joanna Gaines style. Minus the shiplap. Reasonable prices on upcycled decor and vintage pieces alike. And of course, fireplaces.
You didn’t think you’d make it through one of my day trip recommendations without stopping for a drink, did you? Grove City Brewing (and the adjacent Plum Run Winery) is my favorite part of the new, hip, town center vibe. When I say I’ve tried all the beers, I don’t necessarily mean that it was all it once. But I have tried them all and I’ve been consistently impressed. There’s a large dining room, and a full menu to boot. In the warmer months, they offer a large patio, which is great for people watching. Also, live music most weekends. Order the Beulah Park homage brew, Beulah Blonde, and thank me later.
If you day trip in the warmer months, check out Trapper John’s Canoe Livery and Circle S Farm for berry picking. For more ideas of things to do, check out the visitor’s bureau HERE.
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