One place I was most excited for was the Westcott House – it’s a Frank Lloyd Wright home smack dab in the middle of town. If you have ANY interest in history or architecture – you must go! His work is amazing – he was so far ahead of his time it’s amazing. I also love that next door is a solar powered home – a home ahead of its time in the backyard of one that was groundbreaking in it’s time as well.
For our stay, we were hosted at the Courtyard in downtownSpringfield. There were lots of weddings going on so we saw fancy people in and out all weekend. There’s a lovely fountain outside with benches and a walking trial nearby. There’s also a really cool mural right outside the front doors.
We came late in the afternoon so after settling in and a quick nap – we headed to Cecil and Lime for dinner. I had never been and liked the menu so I was excited to check it out. We met with the owner and that was all it took. This building used to house his family’s butcher shop. He told us the history of the business and how it morphed over the years. He’s a young guy too – so to hear him relishing in his family history was great.
We got Shrimp Cocktail for an appetizer – there’s really nothing to it – but I can hardly resist cold shrimp and zingy cocktail sauce. I also got a wedge salad with my entrée. It was huge and topped with everything you look for: tomatoes, bacon, red onion, bacon, bleu cheese, bacon, etc.
For my entrée I got the scallop & lobster risotto. I love a good risotto – this was creamy and and cheesy. There were chunks of lobster throughout and it was topped with perfectly seared scallops and a bloop of sautéed spinach. (Never sure what to call that – so I deem it a bloop.) While the scallops were seared nicely, there were a few little sandy bites in there. The risotto was really good but the dish was a little too salty (and I love salt) – so the chef might have got a bit heavy handed on this one. But all in all – I enjoyed it.
After dinner – it was still daylight for a couple of hours so we decided to check out a roadside attraction – the Hartman Rock Garden. I must say – this might have been our favorite thing all weekend.
Mr. Hartman was laid off in the depression and going through a rough time and started building this rock garden in his spare time. There are photos of him and his children in the 30s with his creations. The amazing thing is that he built this all by hand – with over 250,000 rocks. I mean – that castle is probably 7 feet tall and has a moat!
The shrine with all the religious statues is really something to see – it’s a photographers dream. It’s all tucked in this backyard that is open to the public during daylight hours. There are caretakers there as well during certain hours. It’s really impressive to see – but it’s also really nice to see that it’s so well taken care of and that it hasn’t been damaged.
The other piece I love about the Hartman Rock Garden is the nod to history throughout. He has recreated historical places all throughout this yard. There’s a replica of Noah’s Ark, the White House, the Liberty Bell – it’s really something. There are also messages in shiny pearl-like rocks throughout the side walk. You can tell this held a lot of meaning to him and his family. The history of it is very special but I don’t want to give it all away – you need a reason to go. 😉
The next morning we stopped by Schuler’s Bakery – a staple in Springfield – to see what they had. They had some really pretty and unique cookies so we picked up a few of those and a donut. They were ok – but not really something I’d stop back for.
A stop in Springfield wouldn’t be complete without a quick drive thru Wittenberg University. My sister went to school there and it’s a beautiful campus. I spent a lot of time and money at Witt. A LOT. It is beautiful though – I always said it’s like out of a movie – rolling hills, big old buildings, etc.
Another must-stop from the days of Witt is Mike & Rosy’sDeli. It’s only a few blocks from campus and a mainstay for the college world. They have deli sandwiches, soups and a few specialty grocery items. I got a reuben and a cup of their cream of mushroom soup. Even though it was hot outside – the soup was really great – it was creamy with big chunks of mushrooms. The sandwich was hot with crispy on the outside bread and full of delicious toppings.
Finally – it was our tour time for the Westcott House. Again – I don’t want to give away all the details here – because you need a reason to go on the tour. But this place is amazing. All the detail that Frank Lloyd Wright put into the architecture of his homes is just stunning. The first thing everyone notices are the clean lines – and that’s definitely one of the main design elements – but there are so many intricacies that you just have to do the tour. (It’s 2 hours and $15/person)
Seriously – I love this living room!!! I know it’s seems plain – but just the lines and the way everything is so well thought out. FLW typically designed most of the furniture for his homes as well – so you’ll see a lot of quirky built ins. Through the years this home was chopped up into apartments and in the latter stages of a multi-million dollar renovation to bring it back to it’s original state.
This is one of the light fixtures on the table in the dining room. You can see the art deco time period screaming in this one – you’ll see repeated patterns throughout the home. They’ve had to make some replicas of items because so much was destroyed. Luckily they have a few original photos and some of the original plans of the home to base everything from.
The backyard – which is actually up a story – is stunning! There’s a beautiful garden but again this walkway to the “garage” is just stunning to me. The other thing to think about when you look at this home – it was completed in 1908 when the main mode of transportation was horses. So the streets were cobblestone or brick and cars were not plentiful on the roads. So thinking about the modernity of this home and then realizing it was built when folks were riding in buggies to get around is pretty crazy!!
Oh the daisies! I just love daisies. The tour was pretty full the day we were there so it’s best to make reservations ahead of time. They have a nice little gift shop as well and the tour starts with a brief movie about the history of the renovations. Again – I just cannot recommend it enough – it’s a perfect activity for a Sunday. Brunch – learn a little – and then…
Ice cream!!!! A trip to the Springfield area isn’t complete without a trip to Young’s Dairy. And if you’ve got kids – you better plan for at least a couple of hours for this stop. There’s an area to pet the animals, there is putt putt, there are kids activities galore – and a huge ice cream parlor and restaurant! I grabbed some cookies & cream ice cream and beat the heat for a few minutes anyway! They also have mini-festivals throughout the year – so be sure to check your calendar of events for those.
I’ll also be giving away a $25 gift card to Young’s and a couple of passes to the Springfield Museum of Art – so be sure to follow me on Facebook! It’s been a jam-packed giveaway barrage over there!
If you’re looking for a nice day trip or weekend away – be sure to check out Springfield. The other item to note – Yellow Springs (another favorite destination) is only about 15 minutes away!!!