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Dayton, one hour from Cincinnati, offers world-class aviation history attractions, including the massive National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and the Dayton Aviation National Historical Park. The latter features Huffman Prairie Flying Field, where mankind first mastered the skies with a heavier-than-air machine in 1905. That plane, the Wright Flyer III, is housed in the Wright Brothers Aviation Center at the very good Carillon Historical Park.
Brookville Lake in Indiana is an easy drive of about an hour from Cincinnati. It's a great place to go to get away from the noise of the city. At the state park surrounding it, there are hiking trails, canoe rentals, horseback riding, a golf course, a small but pleasant beach and a restaurant at Sagamore Resort with a nice view of the lake and Kents Harbor marina. There is a small entry fee to the state park, and there is a also a free overlook at the south side of the lake near the dam. The town of Brookville is on the south side, and a little north of Brookville is the cute small town of Liberty.
The town is filled with shops with excellent arts and crafts. There is extremely high quality furniture, pottery, textiles, etc.Make sure to go by Churchill Weavers and watch blankets being hand-loomed.
A visit to the world famous horse farms is worth the trip.Keeneland Racetrack is very elegant (many people still wear dresses and coats/ties- required to enter the Club Level). The horses run only in April and October. It is easy to find right by the airport.
Midway got its name from the fact that it is midway between Frankfort (the State Capitol) and Lexington, KY. Midway is a very cute little town with several interesting shops and some amazing restaurants! A fun drive from Cincinnati is to take Interstate -71 headed south toward Louisville.Get of the Interstate at Kentucky highway 127 (which is the second exit after the Interstate-71 / Interstate -75 split), which wanders about 35 miles south to Frankfort, KY. Be sure to watch for quilt patterns on several barns along side the highway. They are part of the Kentucky Quilt Trail. At Frankfort look for highway 421 South, which will bring you to highway 62, and from there you are about a mile from the center of Midway. You can combine this trip with a visit to one of the most popular distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The home of Woodford Reserve is about 2 miles from Midway.
Yellow Springs is about an hour from downtown Cincinnati near Dayton, Ohio. You can get there quickly by taking interstate 75 from Cincinnati to just south of Dayton then I-675 North to the Yellow Springs exit. then you are about 5 miles from YS. A more leisurely ride is to take I-71 to one of several two lane highways (42, 68, 72, etc.) that will take you through the country to Yellow Springs. It is home to Young's Jersey Dairy
(937 325-0629) http://www.youngsdairy.com/ - Spend the afternoon getting to know the animals on the farm and eating their Ice Cream! Yellow Springs also offers some great hiking in their National Parks: http://www.yellowsprings.com/parks.asp. The Winds Cafe in Yellow Springs has been listed as one of the best restaurants in Ohio (937 767 1144) http://www.windscafe.com. The food borders on gourmet, but dress is very casual. Clifton Gorge is located about 4 miles east of Yellow Springs and it is a wonderful hiking area. The terrain seems much more like it should located be in northern Minnesota or the UP than on the prairie in Southeast Ohio.
Randolph County, IN
Just 1 1/2 hours north of Cincinnati, Randolph County has Christmas tree farms, a pie factory, a gourmet chocolate company, a coffee company, winery, antique shops, and a restored train depot displaying the work of local artists.
Coin and jewelry enthusiasts travel from all over to visit Silvertowne. Winchester Speedway is popular with race fans. Robert Wise, the director of Sound of Music and West Side Story was born in Winchester. The movie, Now and Then, with Demi Moore, Rosie O'Donnell, and Melanie Griffith, was based on events that happened while the author lived there.
In warmer months, you can enjoy Randolph County's farmers' market, festivals, a corn maze, and an old-fashioned drive-in theater.
Parker House, Ripley, OH
The John P. Parker House is located an hour's drive along the scenic Ohio River highway, Route 52 at 300 Front Street, Ripley, Ohio. The Parker homestead is a historical treasure believed to be the only remaining Underground Railroad site in the state that was owned by an African American. The Parker House has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and a site of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Come spend the day exploring the history of Ripley by visiting the Parker House and the nearby Rankin House, the home of another abolitionist, Rev. John Rankin. The heroic activities of both owners are consider to be the basis for the famous book by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Have lunch at one of the local eateries in town before heading on to your next destination. Please visit the web site at www.johnparkerhouse.org. The site is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May-October. Hours are Friday and Saturday, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM; Sunday, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM. For more information or for group tours year round, call 937-392-4188.
Located about 45 minutes north of downtown Cincinnati, Lebanon offers the visitor a relaxing day of to wonder antique shops, bookstores and boutiques, enjoy the small town atmosphere and dine. Be sure to stop in the Golden Lamb Inn to take a self-guided tour of the oldest inn in Ohio (many presidents stayed here and unoccupied boutique-style guest rooms are left open to view), eat lunch and/or have a drink in the historic bar. It’s easy to get lost in their gift shop, where they offer a large collection of unique gifts and mementos. When you need a break, drop into the Village Ice Cream Parlor for an old fashioned soda or sundae. Finally, before leaving, ask a local where the beautiful Victorian homes are located and be sure to drive the neighborhood to eye the painted ladies. If you have time to spare and want to take a drive through the country, take U.S. 42 back to Cincinnati.