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A Weekend in Butler County, Ohio

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Today I am talking about how to spend A Weekend in Butler County, Ohio. I have six fun and exciting adventures you can go on that will show you just a little slice of the beauty that Butler County has to offer from the Donut Trail to kayaking to a cooking class. 

Mike and I recently had a fun weekend away in Butler County, Ohio which is about 4 hours away from where we live in the Cleveland/Akron area. It is always nice to have a quick weekend away without the kids to reconnect and have a little fun.

Butler County, Ohio really surprised me and had a lot to offer. When we were first planning our trip there were lots of options to pick from including skydiving, which is very popular in that area. Since we have three kids, we felt that we wanted to be less risky and skip skydiving this time around. When we were kayaking though and saw 4 different groups go skydiving. It sure did look fun!

We started our trip with a Middle Eastern cooking class at The Learning Kitchen in West Chester, Ohio. I knew when I saw that we were cooking Middle Eastern food that this was the class for me. As many of you know my mom’s family is from Lebanon so I have a special place in my heart for the cooking of that region.

I was also really excited to learn variations on the recipes I grew up loving. I don’t know if you realize this but in the Middle East there are so many variations on recipes depending on the region you are from. It just so happens that the woman teaching our class is from Jordan. I couldn’t wait to see how the recipes were made in that region.

The Learning Kitchen

The class started with a recipe for my favorite salad, fattoush. If you haven’t made fattoush before you have to put it on your list to make! It is especially delicious in the summer when produce is at its peak.

The version we made was slightly different from what I make in that it used cilantro and pomegranate molasses. I loved those variations and plan to make that again.

Fattoush

Next we cooked up a pecan-harissa crusted lamb chops with okra and carrots. It was hands down one of the best lamb dishes I have ever had. I will definitely be making it again and possibly sharing a variation here, so stay tuned.

The Learning Kitchen was such a wonderful place to learn and gain new cooking skills. The woman teaching was so knowledgable and authentic. If you are looking for a fun, interactive way to start a trip to Butler County, Ohio you have to check them out. You won’t be disappointed and neither will your stomach.

The next day Mike and I ventured out to the Donut Trail  and tried our three of the ten bakeries that you can experience while in Butler County, Mimi’s Donuts & Bakery, Kelly’s Bakery & Jupiter Coffee & Donuts. If you are a donut lover, you have to add this to your list.

We basically ate our weight in donuts and enjoyed every minute of it.

The different types of donuts that we got to try was pretty fantastic from classic to more unique flavors, like this oreo donut.

We then headed to Jimco’s Riverside Pizza & Kayaking in Middletown, Ohio to do some kayaking. Mike and I love kayaking and spending time outdoors.

This was the perfect way to burn off all of those donuts we consumed. We kayaked down the Great Miami River. It was fairly calm with a few rapids-so nothing scary but still a little challenging. If you hungry after kayaking we heard they have some of the best pizza around.

Later that day we visited the largest, most amazing International food market I have ever seen called Jungle Jim’s International Market to do a store tour. It is not just a place to buy groceries, this place is a destination and a true experience.

With more than 200,000 square feet of shopping space in each of their store, there are over 180,000 products to pick from including some very interesting items you won’t find many places.

When we walked in I couldn’t believe my eyes. Not only do they sell food, they also have the largest wine and beer selection I have ever seen. You can do store tours, food demonstrations and attend events almost any day of the week.

I especially loved the hot sauce aisle and the exotic fruits and vegetables.

Their seafood happens to be some of the freshest around that area, which makes this seafood lover happy. If you are in Butler County this is so worth a trip.

Bring an empty belly for the samples on the weekend and be prepared to find some really unique foods worth trying. If you are looking for a special ingredient that you can’t seem to find anywhere else, I guarantee you would find it here.

After our fun experience at Jungle Jim’s we headed Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park in Hamilton, Ohio. If you like art and nature, you will love this place.

It is a combination of both of those things and lets you experience their beautiful sculptures and art work among their beautiful grounds. We rented an “art cart” which is basically a golf cart that you drive around their property to look at the art.

Pyramid Hill is a 300+ acre sculpture park with 60+ monumental outdoor sculptures displayed in a landscape of rolling hills, meadows, lakes, and hiking trails.

The park also features an Ancient Sculpture Museum that displays Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Syrian and Egyptian sculptures dating to 1550 B.C.

The Museum Gallery hosts exhibitions by local, regional and national artists. Pyramid Hill is also the only museum you can experience in an Art Cart! Attracting more than 30,000 visitors annually, Pyramid Hill serves as the largest cultural tourist attraction in Butler County.

Our last adventure was to visit Indian Springs Berry Farm to pick organic blackberries and talk with Jason about his farming operation.

As a child we did a lot of berry picking in Michigan. I love finding places to pick berries with my kids. If you are in the Butler County area visiting or live there you have to check out Indian Springs Berry Farm.

First of all the blackberries are organic and some of the best I have ever tasted. The care and love that goes into growing those beautiful berries is inspiring to learn about from Jason. The farm is actually the place that Jason, the owner, grew up. His mom still lives there and the berry farm is in her backyard.

They planted the crop two years ago and this year is the first full crop that people can pick. This is not only a fun activity for adults its a great one for kids.

My kids love to go berry picking! There is nothing like teaching your kids where their food comes from.

If you are looking for a new spot to explore in Ohio, Butler County is for you! There are so many things to do and see for both kids and adults.

Disclosure: Visit Butler County hosted me and my family during our trip to Butler County. I have not been compensated to write this post. As always, all thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make A Cedar Spoon possible. 

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Alicia Gibson

Sunday 3rd of September 2017

Thank you so much for visiting and sharing your experience! Also of note, downtown Hamilton has many shops to explore. One of the city's noted jewels is a beautiful amphitheater called Riversedge which draws talent from all over the country. Concerts are free, parking is free, hometown culinary favorites are available, and there's free WiFi. There are also sculptures and a fun waterpark to enjoy!

Again, thank you for sharing your visit. Come back again soon!

Julia

Monday 4th of September 2017

That sounds lovely! We only had a couple of days there but next time we are in the area we will definitely check that out.

Rob

Sunday 3rd of September 2017

If you can make it down to Butler County again, and I hope you do, I encourage you to visit the Oxford area. It's such a charming, active town with a lot of nice shops and cafes. Plus, Hueston Woods SP is nearby, where you can take a leisurely canoe ride on a pretty lake, and see some bald eagles catching fish! Not only that, if you like rustic old historic log cabins, there are a number of them in the area.

Julia

Monday 4th of September 2017

I have heard that Oxford is beautiful! My friend went to college there and talks about it all of the time. I think we might just need to make a trip down with my family and explore. Thanks for the suggestions!

Kayle (The Cooking Actress)

Tuesday 15th of August 2017

so fun! I've never been to Butler County before and now it looks like maybe I need to!

Julia

Wednesday 16th of August 2017

It is a fun place! You should definitely give it a try.