My husband and I were invited to experience a weekend in Fairfield County, and it turned out to be an incredible weekend just a short 25 minutes from Columbus. We spent most of our time eating and drinking with a bit of shopping thrown in to work off all that food. So many adorable shops are popping up all over Fairfield County. Miss Molly’s Mercantile, Chic Loco Designs, and The Secret Gift Shop were some of my favorites whereas Kevin fell in love with Yesteryear’s Antiques, Upscale Decor and More and Law + Benson’s Olde Country Store. We also snuck in an incredible visit to the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio. A fantastic exhibit called Lilly’s World is currently in place but just experiencing the mansion was part of the charm. We can’t wait to go back and check out the Ohio Presidents exhibit later this year. Finally, we turned this into an overnight trip and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Lancaster. We were surprised by our in-room Valentines package, and it warmed our hearts to walk in and see all the little details. A perfect add-on to a great stay and next time we need to pack bathing suits because they had an indoor pool which makes this ideal for a winter getaway with the kids.
7. Donut World
Donut World is a family owned donut shop that has been in business for over 30 years. Donut perfection not only for the traditional morning donuts but with a 24/7 window, you can get your donut fix any hour of the day. And actually, the drive-thru is the way to go because there is just a tiny sliver of a waiting area to view and purchase donuts (the rest of the space is for the making of the donuts). You’re better off taking Marty’s advice on what’s best and going with an assortment. Donut World is more of a classic donut shop for the person who doesn’t need a crazy looking/tasting combo to make them happy. There are dozens of flavors and varieties of donuts: fruit-filled, long johns, apple fritters, cinnamon rolls, twists and more. 601 N Broad Street Lancaster, OH 43130 (740) 653-4888 Donut World
6. Rockside Winery & Vineyards
Rockside Winery is a cozy spot with an estate that I imagine looks beautiful during the grape growing season. In addition to Rockside, this family establishment also owns Wyandotte Winery the first and oldest urban winery in Central Ohio. We were able to spend time Sunday afternoon with Ryan learning all about their wine, the story behind the labels, the vineyards, and tasting their famous wine cakes made by his mom Valerie. I HIGHLY recommend the cake trio sampler while wine tasting and I’d be willing to bet that little slice of heaven will convince you that you need to take one home with you. We can’t wait to return in the summer so we can enjoy our wine while strolling the vineyard overlooking the rolling countryside of Fairfield County. With the covered patio, numerous events and the smell of lavender drifting from the fields, you’ll realize you found yourself a little piece of heaven. 2363 Lancaster Newark NE, Lancaster, OH 43130 (740) 687-4414 Rockside Winery and Vineyards
5. Candy Cottage
One of the stops on the Ohio Buckeye Candy Trail makes its way into Fairfield County. With Buckeyes that are indulged in around the world (including The United States Congress), it’s no wonder Candy Cottage is included in the trail. Fresh roasted nuts and handmade chocolates are made in small batches to preserve freshness and quality. More than just sweets to purchase, this store also serves as a place for classes, gift baskets, items for weddings and baby showers and a HUGE amount of candy supplies for your candy making needs. Honestly though, with homemade candy made here, why waste time trying to beat perfection. The first thing we heard after we walked in the door was someone clamoring over all the turtles they had. She bought every one that was on the shelf. With an endorsement like that, I knew we were in the right place. We left with a box of every cream they carried – raspberry, strawberry, maple and more. Give me a good cream, and I’m a happy girl. I left room in the box for Kevin to pick a few favorites, so he added some Buckeyes, various chocolate covered nuts and salted caramels. Head this way to snag some chocolates for your Valentine. 2271 W. Fair Ave Lancaster, OH 43130 (740) 653-6842 Candy Cottage
4. Crazy 4 Popcorn
Crazy 4 Popcorn is a family own and operated company by Lewis + Jennifer (and their daughter Heather). Local celebrities in Lancaster known as the “popcorn people” a name that proves how passionate they are about their product. They serve gourmet fresh and flavorful popcorn in over 30 flavors from original butter to bubble gum to pizza flavored and pretty much every flavor you can envision. We couldn’t help but leave with four bags – butter, birthday cake, caramel + vanilla mix (you can create your own mix) and the crazy mix for the kids: banana, cherry, grape, orange and green apple. Are you looking for a customized color or flavor for a special event? They can help you plan a popcorn perfect event. They are serious about their samples, so when you arrive in the shop, they are ready to give you all the popcorn your heart’s desire. They want to ensure that you genuinely love the bag you take home so don’t be afraid to ask for 2 or 10 samples. 618 Forest Rose Ave Lancaster, OH 43130 (740) 785-5750 Crazy 4 Popcorn
3. JB’s Downtown Grill
We got the chance to enjoy a Sunday brunch at JB’s Downtown Grill. Famous for a brunch that is currently only available on Sunday and features fresh and delicious creations by Chef Jamie. Jamie and Beth (hence JB’s) were the sweetest couple and took time out of their busy morning to talk with us about their love of food, the town of Lancaster and all things neighborly. All meals are made from scratch with a comfort food feeling. Even the bacon is made in house daily, they cure pork belly to make their bacon and then their neighbor (and friend) Bob’s Backyard BBQ smoke it for them. We walked away from brunch with a feeling of just how much the town of Lancaster supports one another. During our chat, we found out they are known for their burgers, so we have big plans to go back as Kevin is always on the hunt for the best burger and if the bacon was any indication, I already know we are going to be blown away. I also want to point out that you should look no further for your Valentines Date Night plans. JB’s has an extraordinary (reservation only) candlelit coursed dinner planned. Three entree options including a vegetarian option plus an appetizer, salad bites and desserts for a price you won’t believe. Give Beth or Jamie a shout to make your reservation today. 111 N Columbus Street Lancaster, OH 43130 (740) 422-8422 JB’s Downtown Grill
2. Cherry Street Pub
Cherry Street Pub is known for a lot of things. But if you don’t know how much they love their bar, the letter on the first page of the menu is a good indication. A very famous bar that was built in the 1900s and boy is it a looker. We sat right across from the bar and were blown away not only by the detail but the size and how well its held up. And not just the bar – the building itself is 100 years old but has been updated with modern TVs and new furnishing. It has charm like no other. In addition to the beauty of the place, the food was delicious. Options like flatbreads, pierogies, burgers, salads and more, we struggled to limit ourselves to one entree each. Going with some favorites (and my sweet tooth), I couldn’t pass up the Pecan Crusted Chicken Waffles. We also downed their very own (cannot be found anywhere else) Cherry Street Cream Ale produced by Buckeye Lake Brewery. This beer is exclusive to this location and cannot even be purchased at Buckeye Lake Brewery. And let me tell you, beer so good it’s worth the trip here! 202 N Cherry Street Lancaster, OH 43130 (740) 654-7828 Cherry Street Pub
1. El Pedregal
El Pedregal is a hidden Mexican restaurant located just a mere 20 minutes from Columbus but is a real hidden gem. Family owned and operated serving authentic Mexican dishes that will knock your socks off. They truly want to focus on a dining experience with top-notch service. A menu large enough to find something for everyone and prices that no one can complain about. Plus, this is the type of Mexican that you want to wash down with a delicious margarita or a cold beer. With prices so good, you’ll swear you’re in Mexico so head here to really indulge in a large variety of dishes and lots of good drinks. 44 E Columbus Street Lithopolis OH 43136 (614) 829-2394 El Pedregal Mexican Restaurant
Bonus Foodie Points
- Miss Molly’s Mercantile: While this is a handmade marketplace featuring local crafts, you want to come here for the Cinnamon Buns. They are TO DIE FOR. No seriously, I am going to drive back to buy another pack. You are missing out if you haven’t experienced these and I have yet to find a cinnamon bun I like as much as Betsy’s.
- The Confectionary: Cupcake flavors galore but my heart was given to the Lemon and Blueberry one. She also has lots of fun breads, pies and cookies.
- Holiday Inn Express and Suites: Any hotel that serves Cinnabon Monkey Bread with their complimentary breakfast is a hotel that I need to stay.
- Double Edge Brewing Company: Brown Sugar Rimmed Yule Fuel. Brown Sugar Rim on my beer. Enough Said! So good I actually told the owner that I wanted to add a brown sugar rim to every beer I drink going forward. But even without that, we really loved all the beers we had.
We learned this weekend that Fairfield County is the perfect getaway for the whole family! Only 25 miles from Columbus, there is plenty to keep parents, and kids entertained all weekend long with big adventures and small-town charm. In addition to a great beer and wine scene, there are 12 museums and 17 covered bridges which is the most in Ohio (we were able to stop by a couple). The Fairfield County Visitors and Convention Bureau is an expert resource for the latest and greatest events in Fairfield County and is continuously innovating new and fun programs such as the Route 33 Brew Trail, which features six craft breweries with different taprooms along Route 33. We started our tour this weekend at Double Edge Brewing Company.
Have a favorite spot in Fairfield County that I wasn’t able to visit? Comment below so I can check out your favorite.
This post was sponsored by Visit Fairfield County but this in no way affects my review of each establishment. I’m always upfront, honest and blunt about my experience and if you think otherwise, we probably haven’t met.