Road Trip: West Liberty, OH

One of my girls gave me this Day Trips book at my bachelorette party. And I feel horrible because I can't remember who! I think it was Rachel...maybe Sarah. Oh Lord - girls remind me! haha

They know that Larry and I go on these drives nearly every weekend and thought it would give us some targets!

WARNING: This is a long entry - so many pictures - but it's mostly pictures - it's like you were on the road with us! 

The book is broken out into areas around Cincinnati. It talks about the general area then breaks down shopping, sleeping, dining and event options for that area. It's really great!

I was so geeked to find WEST LIBERTY, OHIO! As some of  you may know - originally I'm from West Liberty, Iowa. Last year I made it to West Liberty, Kentucky. So it seemed appropriate that I get to West Liberty, Ohio as well!

This stuff is a must-have for the road trips - I've only found it at Speedway. It's G Pure Energy water - I like the lime flavor. It's like Sprite with a kick. Yum!

On our way to WL - we used the GPS and put the "avoid highways" in so we'd take all backroads - our favorite way! On the way we were on Tylersville Rd and saw the former Johnny Carino's is now called Geisha. Polly Campbell has a bit about the opening on her site.

Of course along the way I spotted something awesome - a shop called The Donut Man. But we weren't in a donut mood and I forgot where it was. Can anybody help me out?

As I mentioned, I'm also taken aback by pretty building. Pretty sure this is in Springfield, OH. Love the cross on top.

And if you like classic cars - head up to Mershons in Springfield, OH as well - they have a great lot full of them!

Then the old farmhouses - seriously - next time you're driving somewhere - stop and enjoy the scenery!

We stopped through Urbana, OH on the way because of some houses by a famous architect. Very pretty!  There are a few of them all on Scioto Street.

I love yellow houses - no idea why - but I want my next house to be yellow...

Found this in Urbana too - come on - that's funny.

The book also mentioned Freshwater Farms of Ohio and I was hell bent on going! It's past Urbana and they have ponds and lots of fish and you can look around. I have a feeling it's more "happening" in the summer - but what the hey!

It's gotta be a good place - there was a kitty waiting to greet me! 

Outside they have lawn ornament type of stuff - you can't tell so much but the chairs on the right are shaped like fish!

If you have a decorative pond - there are lots of fish and decorations here for that...

And big ass shrimp...gak! Thank God they don't look like this when I eat them!

They smoke their own trout too - we got a sample - pretty tasty. Different than smoked salmon - more cooked. We ended up buying some but then I haven't eaten it because I'm not sure what to eat it with! I guess crackers & cream cheese?

They had a farm dog too but she wasn't really up for being petted! 

The lady in the shop told us we could go to the last building and just look around. They had some aquariums set up with fish, frogs and turtles.

Then we found sturgeon we could pet!!!! I'm a sucker for any animal I can pet - even if it's a fish!

LOOK AT THAT FACE! He was adorable - he literally followed me back and forth and kept sticking his head way up out of the water to get my attention. I obliged and petted and chatted away with him. Larry thought I was nuts and said "No, we cannot bring him home!"

Outside they have fish for big ponds as well - nice fun stop on the way to WL!

But here we were - finally at our destination. I don't even like my hometown that much - I rarely go back - although I am having my 20th Reunion this year and will be back for that. But for some reason - I still have love for the WL! Here we go Comets - here we go!

There was a general store mentioned in the book - but that's closed. The Liberty Gathering Place was still open however so we decided that would be our lunch stop. ( is a fantastic site - great if you know where you're heading and want some good places!)

They serve Buffalo! I've recently heard more and more about Buffalo meat - I wasn't in the mood and tried to get Larry to go for it but he said no. I think I'll pick up some at Meijer soon - I want to go to the Big Shaggy Buffalo Ranch! I know they have tours and such - this will definitely be happening on a future road trip. Anybody tried Buffalo - good?

I got coleslaw to start - it was fine. We quickly realized it is the "gathering place" - nothing too special - it's a diner in a small town - but much better than a McDonalds!

Larry got the club with onion rings - those rings were tasty! 

I was giddy to find a pork tenderloin on the menu - and it was served the way it should be! The tenderloin should be at least double the size of the bun! It was pretty good - definitely hand-breaded! Good stuff!

Liberty Gathering Place on Urbanspoon

After lunch, we decided to cruise around WL and found the fire department. Yes I get excited just seeing that - feels like I'm home again.

We saw a for sale sign - I think it was only like 100K - pretty awesome for a cool house like that! 

The book also mentioned the Piatt Castles - so we took a drive to find them as well. They were closed for the season but still pretty cool to see in the middle of farm land! In the 1800's a judge moved his family out to the country from Cincinnati. Later his sons built the two castles Mac-A-Cheek and Mac-O-Chee, the latter is pictured above.

While driving we also saw this little guy scurrying in the field - thinking it was a fox. Again Larry said "No, you can't bring it home."

And now - my favorite photo of the trip. Please click on the photo. Yes - this wonderful property is FOR SALE! It could all be yours!

All I can say here is WOW - someday I want to own something like that! 

I love old movie theatres too - the signs are fantastic! 

And last one, we saw this big round house - I would love to look inside. If anybody knows how to find that out - let me know!

There you have it - a road trip to West Liberty, OH! It's a 2-hour drive if you went straight there but we never do. This was a whole day adventure for us and those are the best kind. I'm just bummed I missed the giant (and I mean GIANT) cow on the lawn of a dairy farm. I gotta be quicker with the camera!


  1. I've had buffalo and thought it was interesting, but kind of dry, I suppose because it is low in fat. It was in burger form and I had it at Clifton Mill restaurant near Yellow Springs. You should check that place out as part of a YS roadtrip if you haven't already.

  2. We're definitely going to do a Yellow Springs road trip but saving that for spring when we can walk around more. And hope for a Dave Chappelle sighting!

  3. The Donut Man is in Xenia. Awesome donuts.

  4. Xenia - that's right! I forgot to write down all the cities we passed through.

    Definitely want to revisit that!

  5. I just got back from a trip to West Liberty - I live in Columbus, and my friends and I head out to WL from time to time. I almost hate to mention this, since apparently you didn't stumble across it, but right on the edge of town there's a fantastic candy store called Marie's Candies. They make all their own chocolate candies on site, and they're located in a historic old train depot. They're online, and they ship everywhere, at And the pork tenderloin is what I always get at the Gathering Place too, it's pretty good! The buff burger isn't all that great - try one at a Ted's Montana Grill, if you get a chance!

  6. Amy - thanks so much for all the tips! Can't wait to check out the candy place and Ted's!

  7. I'm not sure how I found your blog but grew up in the West Liberty, Iowa area and graduated from WLHS. Now I live in Urbana, OH so I get to look at all of those big old houses nearly every day. I've been poking through your blog and I've been enjoying it.

  8. Holly - I graduated from WLHS too! Class of 91! (OMG - 20 years this summer).

    Don't you miss Maid Rites?

    We should have on West Liberty IA meetup in Ohio! :-)

    I miss the fair parade too - it went right by my house and was always right around my birthday.

    Go Comets! (and Belles)

  9. I'm from West Liberty, OH and have lived here all my life. As Amy said you HAVE TO have some Marie's Candies!!! If you're able to do so and would like to make a bit longer trip of it, we have a huge festival Labor Day weekend - Saturday, Sunday and Monday. However, if you want to visit Marie's (or pretty much anything else in West Liberty) you shouldn't come to town on a Sunday. Our town of about 2000-2500 people is home to 10-15 churches (at my last count) so most of our town closes down for Sunday.

    Of course I also have to put in a plug for my own business that you should try-which is currently operating out of my house, but hoping to find a storefront soon. Stop by my website or my facebook

    I hope you find time to come back to our little town. There is so much to enjoy here :)

  10. I moved to WL OH about 1 1/2 years ago. I know the owner of the Liberty General Store, he is retired but still owns the building, there is an antique store on the bottom floor, there is also a ballroom on the top floor :), but also, if you come back besides Maries candies, come to the Ohio Caverns, they are open every day but Christmas. The tour under ground is amazing and you can also arrange for a hot balloon ride a head of time, if weather and season is good. (I've been to both the cavern and had a balloon ride). This summer I'm going to check out the castles. Hope you come back!

  11. I believe there's a Maid Rite in Greenville Ohio(birthplace of Annie Oaklie)