Middletown, Ohio may not be on your radar of places to visit, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover several gems to add to your list there.
1. Paddle the Great Miami River
Kayak the scenic Great Miami River with Jimco’s Riverside Pizza and Kayaking. The paddles last a few hours and there is a good chance that you will see some wildlife along the way, including a bald eagle who resides nearby. The river was really high during our visit and we were fortunate to have the owner, Jim, guide us and point out wildlife and points of interest along the way. Jimco’s is open for kayak rental daylight till dark, weather and water levels permitting, 7 days a week. The location is steps away from the river and the pizza is really good! For an extra incentive, if you rent a kayak at Jimco’s on a Thursday, you get free pizza! You can’t beat that deal!
2. Take the Leap of Faith
Located less than 2 miles from Jimco’s Riverside Pizza and Kayaking, Start Skydiving is THE destination for thrill seekers! You can cross skydiving off your list with a tandem jump or pursue training to become certified to jump solo. START Skydiving trains more skydivers than any other drop zone in the United States at their JUMP Institute.
I was SUPER close to taking my first tandem jump during my visit. I even signed the waivers and bought the video package, …but after 3 hours of waiting for the clouds to break, the weather didn’t cooperate during my visit so that adventure will have to be crossed off my list another time.
While we were waiting on the weather, I met Jacob, who is a frequent jumper who offered to show us how a parachute is packed which was really interesting. I’ve heard several people share that the sport becomes addicting after your first jump.
One of my friends tried her first tandem at Start Skydiving a few weeks ago and LOVED it! She said that she felt totally safe, couldn’t say enough great things about the staff, and that she would definitely do it again.
3. Murals and Art
I’m a sucker for street art and I was surprised to stumble upon several great murals and artist displays in downtown Middletown.
Art lovers will also want to stop inside Pendleton Art Center. The mission of Pendleton Art Center is to encourage and nurture artistic creativity, by providing a supportive and inspiring environment for artists, and by offering art exhibitions, events, and educational programs that raise public awareness and appreciation for the arts. As you walk the halls throughout the building, you can get a sense of each artist’s creative style displayed outside of their individual studio space.
The studios are open for First Friday each month from 5 to 9 p.m. and the following day for Second look Saturday 11am -3pm. Some studios are open daily; some are open by appointment with the artist. There is also a cafe inside open Tuesday through Saturday 9-3 and First Fridays 5-9. Make sure that you check out the events calendar that also shares opportunities to take special classes from artists.
4. Discover Downtown Shops
There are several locally owned business committed to the revitalization of downtown Middletown. The Middletown shop owners I encountered were kindred spirits with the visionaries that I met in Hamilton, who see the potential for what could be and are invested in their city’s success.
Crafting responsible leather goods, Flores Leather Works displays their multifaceted artisan skills, 100 % handcrafted, made with quality leather. They pride themselves in creating quality products that are built to last a lifetime. What started with leather gun holsters has grown into so much more. This family owned store is worth checking out for a unique gift and happens to be the source of one of my all time favorite bracelets that I regularly wear (pictured in the top left corner). I liked it so much that I bought one for myself and another as a gift.
A few other noteworthy shops from our visit were Society, a store that takes pride in offering something for everyone at all prices points. Society also happens to carry really unique jewelry made from instruments from a local artist in Northern Kentucky (her guitar string earrings were my favorite). Another shop to check out is Spoken Bicycles that doubles as a full service bike shop and craft beer bar.
5 Enjoy Great BBQ surrounded by Vintage Americana
We’re enjoyed wonderful BBQ for lunch, thanks to the recommendation of the owners of Flores Leather Works. Combs BBQ is known for their BBQ ribs, brisket, and pulled pork sandwiches served in an environment filled with classic Americana and vintage neon signs. The ribs were a big hit with my son but his eyes didn’t match his belly. Come hungry or you can enjoy your leftovers the following day.
Do you know of other places that I should add to my list in Middletown?
Share them in the comments below.
Thanks to Butler County Visitors Bureau for hosting my visit.
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