Nature Calls, Sidney Awaits

Looking to escape to a slower pace? Take a break from the day-to-day and head to Sidney, just 36 miles north of Dayton. Here, in the seat of Shelby County, you’ll find over 400 acres of parkland to explore, along with unique shopping and dining destinations that evoke all the charm of small-town Ohio.

Outdoor Oasis 

Outdoor enthusiasts, rejoice! There’s plenty to discover in the 220 acres of woodlands, waterways, and lakes in Tawawa Civic Park. This natural oasis offers something for adventurers of all ages. The wooded park is a popular outdoor location for family get-togethers, picnics, and cookouts, offering more than 20 shelters and play areas throughout, along with plentiful opportunities for solo activities like fishing and hiking encouraging visitors to unplug and unwind.

Trekking along the park’s seven miles of trails, you’ll encounter Big Rock, a 12-foot-tall glacial boulder left from the Ice Age. The one-mile-long Benjamin Trail follows a millrace. It extends the length of the park. It used to supply water to Sidney’s first water and electric plant located nearby on Brooklyn Avenue. Next, seek out the 1971 Ross Covered Bridge in the middle of the park for postcard-worthy photo opportunities. For those who like to venture off the beaten bath, longer nature trails are located toward the back of the park.

Hit the Links

In addition to its parks, Sidney is also home to a variety of golf clubs, perfect for an afternoon on the green or a weekend getaway. Shelby Oaks Golf Club provides a fun and challenging experience for golfers of all skill levels across its 27 holes. Rob Fridley, who has been the director of operations at Shelby Oaks Golf Club for forty years, notes that the course is home to one of Dayton’s Top 50 Golf Holes, Number 9 South.

Situated on the Sidney Moose Lodge grounds, the Moose Golf Course is open to the public. Originally the Shelby County Country Club, this 9-hole, the 35-par course features tight fairways and smaller greens, much in the tradition of early golf course design.

Established in 1965, Arrowhead Golf Club is just 15 minutes from Sidney and offers an eighteen-hole course layout, practice facility, and full pro shop. In addition, Arrowhead boasts an on-site restaurant, The Bunker, a favorite with visitors and locals alike.

Trail Ways 

Hop over to Sidney’s Canal Feeder Bike-Hike Trail for more outdoor fun. This 3.4-mile paved trail follows the former Sidney Feeder Canal and later runs parallel to the scenic Great Miami River, a popular spot for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. Did you know that the Great Miami is #1 in Ohio for smallmouth bass, and the river itself has been designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Water Trail — a distinction that has been given to only 32 other locations in the United States.

The Veteran’s Memorial Walkway is a multi-use ADA-accessible path that provides 4.5 miles of paved trails for walking and cycling. Memorial trees line the walkway commemorating organizations, friends, and family.

Shop Local 

Once you’ve had your fill of nature, venture to downtown Sidney for an authentic taste of small-town living. As you stroll the sidewalks, you’ll find several unique shopping destinations bordering the traditional town square. The Ivy Garland is a gift shop specializing in gift and decorator items for all occasions. Next, head around the corner to Vin & Joy, a fashion boutique offering a variety of fun gifts, on-trend accessories, and the latest in women’s apparel. Moonflower Effect features organic essential oils, custom blends, diffusers, ethically sourced clothing, and more. While you’re there, why not also book an hour-long dry salt therapy session in their new salt room for ultimate relaxation? Greenhaus Coffee offers a unique Coffee Shop | Plant Shop concept in the heart of downtown. The retail side offers indoor plants, home décor items, and locally crafted gifts. In addition, guests will enjoy their café offering a fantastic selection of Purebred Coffees, made-to-order seltzers, natural fruit sodas, teas, toasts, pastries, salads, and more.

If you’re up for a detour, check out Gallery 2:TEN and Re:Vive Home Décor & More, just minutes from downtown, and discover works from more than 40 different artists and craftspeople. Shop original pottery, jewelry, metal sculptures, and hot-blown glass creations along with a wide array of vintage, reclaimed, and artfully repurposed furniture.

Small-Town Bites 

Feeling hungry? Downtown Sidney offers several appealing reasons to stick around for a bite to eat. Partake in a refreshing chilled beverage on one of many outdoor dining patios overlooking the idyllic town square with the majestic Shelby County Courthouse positioned at its center. During its construction in 1883, the limestone, sandstone, and marble were brought in by canal boat. The courthouse’s looming 170-foot center tower features four clocks. The town square is the site of many special local events, such as cruise-ins and the farmers market held from early June through early October.

The Spot, an iconic diner, was first established in 1907 as a lunch wagon operated by Spot Miller. Today, it’s an art deco-style diner loved by locals for its fresh-ground hamburgers, crispy onion rings, thick malts, and homemade pies. It’s a great place to stop by for a dessert, meal, or snack. Dine-in or order carryout and picnic like a pro in the shade of the old-growth oak trees on the Shelby County Courthouse lawn.

Family-owned Italian pizza shop Amelio’s Pizzeria is serving up years of family heritage and Italian culture. Husband and wife Rob and Toni Thorne named the restaurant after Toni’s great-grandfather, Giuseppe Amelio Cecere, who came to America from Italy in 1920 and opened a pizza shop in his garage.

Yet another dinner option is The Bridge Restaurant, serving upscale eats like steak and seafood prepared fresh in-house daily, or Tavolo, offering modern Italian fare. Before calling it a night, be sure to check out what’s on tap at Murphy’s Craftbar + Kitchen. This trendy bistro boasts 48 taps featuring a wide selection of Ohio brews and craft cocktails.

As their motto goes: Sidney Ohio. A spirit we share.

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