We were treated by the Butler County Visitors Bureau to a weekend getaway (JUST THE TWO OF US) in Butler County Ohio. Who would have thought that a weekend getaway only 90 minutes outside of Columbus would have so much awesome stuff. And let me say once more, this was a kid-free weekend so we were really living it up! Here’s part 1 (or 2 if you count the Donut Trail post) of our weekend adventure.
After dropping the 3 babes off at their respective places, we got on the road Thursday night and headed to the Courtyard Marriott in Hamilton, Ohio. Blue skies abound, we knew we were in for a great weekend and one we so badly needed.
After we checked into our room, we were touched to find swag bags waiting for us from the visitors bureau. We also received a sweet note from the staff of the Courtyard, a veggie and cheese tray and donuts from their favorite bakery (Ross Bakery) to welcome us. We took a quick peek around to find some gorgeous views and an awesome craft brew place directly across the street.
Since our agenda didn’t start until the next day, and being sans kids, we headed across the street from the hotel to check out Municipal Brew Works. It’s literally a stones throw from the Courtyard.
We each grabbed a craft beer flight and sat on the amazing patio to unwind. I was a big fan of the approachable blonde but since Kevin likes something a little heartier, he prefered the Station 2.
Rotating food trucks are a constant and I had to chuckle because when we were there, it was Kismet that there was also a donut food truck there. I’m telling you, donuts follow me every where.
We were pretty lame that first night and headed back to the hotel early as we had an early start on the donut trail Friday morning. I dedicated an entire post to the Donut Trail so take a peek for more details about that amazing adventure.
Friday morning we were able to spend some time exploring Jungle Jim’s International Market. I’ve truly never seen anything like this. As they say, it’s more than a grocery store, it’s a destination. And it seriously is. The market is over 200k of square feet shopping with over 180k products to purchase. But it’s so much more than just a grocery store. They have tours and demonstrations plus fun activities for everyone in the family. I was completely blown away.
Our tour guide, Jared, not only showed us the ropes of exploring this monster of a store but also told us the history of Jungle Jim. Jungle actually started his foodie paradise with a roadside produce stand in 1971 and just a short 4 years later, he opens his first 4200 square foot market.
From the biggest cheese…
to the littlest…
and all the crazy stuff in between.
From events likes the Buckeye Beer Bash to the BBQ & Grilling Festival, there is pretty much something to do at Jungle Jim’s weekly.
Since Jungle Jim’s began as a produce stand, the produce section is really the heart of their store. They work with local farmers as much as possible so you purchase the freshest and highest quality fruits and vegetables around. When you walk through this section, you get the sense you are at a local Farmers Market and it was designed specifically to make you feel that way.
There is everything at Jungle Jim’s from the freshest corn above to the corniest of corn below.
You all know my heart belongs to this section but I was even happier as we walked up. My heart literally soared to see the fun Coney Island bumper cars. Since I was born and raised just outside of NYC, Coney Island brings back lots of memories for me. The candy section has everything from old-fashion favorites to the newest novelties. In addition, they have the largest collection of Pez Dispensers in the area and a HUGE Jelly Belly collection (more than 70 flavors available).
Where else can you take your photo in a porta potty? And in a grocery store no less.
Fish is delivered to the seafood department 5 days a week and they will even assist with preparation and cooking tips.
International is the name of the game at Jungle Jim’s. They have over 50k products from over 70 countries. Eat foods from Korea, Taiwan, Central and South America and more. Spices from India, European desserts, to Middle Eastern Cuisine plus candy from all over the world (including bug candy).
Beer, Wine and Liquor galore at Jungle Jim’s. They have over 15k labels of wine and a tasting bar that includes both beer and wine varieties should you struggle with what to pick. Best time to head over is on a Friday night for Pint Night from 5-9p. Unique microbrews are available, so come drink while you shop.
We could have easily spent a few hours at Jungle Jim’s. And actually, they recommend that you allow yourself 2-4 hours for your first visit so you can have time to see almost everything. Honestly though, I would recommend scheduling a tour so you can not only learn the lay of the land and learn the history of Jungle Jim’s but you can enjoy food samples from around the world on your tour. Click here to schedule your food safari.
Following our Jungle Jim’s Adventure, we headed over to Topgolf to well… golf duh!
I was super excited about this adventure because I’ve heard so many great things about Topgolf. And after I posted about this adventure I received many messages from women whose husbands wanted to take them but they didn’t want to go because they were afraid they would be bored. But I’m here to change that opinion because Topgolf is a blast.
Unlike traditional golf, Topgolf is all about various games you can play. Imagine a giant dartboard with targets in the group that you hit balls into. The closer you get to the center and the farther you hit the ball, the more points you received. BUT there’s different types of games you can play.
With 9 different games options, there is something for everyone to enjoy. At the West Chester location there are three levels with over 100 different bays. Plus they have over 200 tv’s, rooftop terrace with a fire pit, pool tables, X-Box and even private event spaces for parties.
Topgolf is a party, and at parties we love to have lots to drinks and eat. With a full service restaurant and bar, there are tons of options to choose from. I couldn’t resist the summer Frose which included an ice-cube made of fresh fruit and Prosecco. Since we need souvenirs for the kids, we also got a golf bag which is served in their signature take-home mug.
Dinner wasn’t far off so we just got a few apps to munch on, some warm pretzel bites and craft beer queso. There were so many good options that we could have easily eaten dinner there.
The coolest thing we learned while we were there was that a Topgolf will be opening a location in Columbus in 2018 (rumor has it the location is Easton BUT this is not been confirmed)!!!
Lots more adventures to come. Next post will include the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, kayaking and pizza at Jimco’s, Karma in the Kitchen, dinner at Dai Trang and more. Stayed Tuned!
Courtyard by Marriot
1 Riverfront Plaza
Hamilton, OH 45011