5 Midwest winter getaways near Dayton that will make you WANT cabin fever

Published: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

5 Midwest winter getaways near Dayton that will make you WANT cabin fever

The Midwest, particularly the region around Southwest Ohio, has some major advantages over other regions this time of year. 

It’s hard to completely loathe winter when you’re curled up under a mound of blankets, feet away from a crackling fireplace, sipping a cup of hot chocolate that just reached its ideal temperature. That kind of warm and cozy feeling is only earned after enduring months of a Midwestern winter.

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So free up a few days on your calendar, because there are plenty of perfect getaways within a few hours of Dayton that are guaranteed to warm your spirits.


Located in the heart of Maumee Bay State Park, Maumee Bay Resort might be one of the best ways to experience Ohio’s lake life during the frozen months. 80 acres of preserved wetlands, right on the shores of Lake Erie, transform into frosty hiking fields during winter. Cross-country ski equipment is available to rent for a day of exploring on the three-mile Mouse Trail where winter birds can be seen by the dozens. 

The cozy resort is within minutes of the beach, where you’ll be able admire the frozen tundra of the Great Lakes, then head back to defrost by the fire.

(Maumee Bay State Park)

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Want to go? 

WHAT: Maumee Bay Resort

WHERE: Maumee Bay State Park, 1750 State Park Rd., #2, Oregon, Ohio

INFO: Facebook


(Murphin Ridge Inn)

This getaway is truly a getaway. Situated on 142 acres of some of Amish Country’s most breathtaking vistas, the Murphin Ridge Inn was recognized as one of the U.S.’s Top 10 Bed and Breakfasts in 2016.

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The lodge, furnished with “museum quality shaker reproductions” according to Ohio Magazine, isn’t a cheap stay. However, special off-season prices that last through the end of March make winter a perfect time to visit. Rave reviews from almost every guest on their website make it easy to see why this destination is a getaway lover’s dream come true.

(Murphin Ridge Inn)

Want to go? 

WHAT: Murphin Ridge Inn

WHERE: 750 Murphin Ridge Road, West Union, Ohio

INFO: murphinridgeinn.com


At Shawnee Lodge, any stressors that have been weighing you down are bound to get lost somewhere in Shawnee State Forest’s 63,000 acres of rolling hills— also known as “Ohio’s Little Smokies.” You can choose between staying at the resort lodge, where you’ll be able to soak in a steaming hot tub after an afternoon of picturesque winter hiking, or snuggle in with your loved ones at one of the 25 cottages available— fireplaces most definitely included. 

(Kenneth Petersen)

Want to go? 

WHAT: Shawnee Lodge

WHERE: 4404B State Route 125. West Portsmouth, Ohio

INFO: shawneeparklodge.com


If you are really trying to put your feet up and make lavish memories you’ll want to revisit over and over again, then the French Lick Resort needs to be on your agenda. The nationally recognized resort complex, which boasts two AAA Four Diamond hotels, two spas and a Vegas-style casino, is only three hours and some change from Dayton.

(French Lick Resort Facebook)

Not only is the resort ultra luxurious, its history will make your relaxing weekend getaway all the more alluring. Although destroyed in an 1897 fire, the complex was originally known as the French Lick’s Springs Hotel. Guests would come from near and far to benefit from the advertised healing properties of the town’s sulrfur springs— three of which were on the hotel’s properties.

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If you still need more convincing, dogs are very, very welcome to partake in all the resort has to offer.

(French Lick Resort Facebook)

Want to go? 

WHAT: French Lick Resort

WHERE: 8670 W. State 56, French Lick, Indiana 

INFO: frenchlick.com


Dubbed as “Winter in the Kentucky Mountains,” Cliffview Resort is about as cozy as winter gets. The eastern Kentucky hilltop resort is just three hours away from the Gem City and situated right next to Red River Gorge and Daniel Boone National Forest. If gorgeous views are what you’re after while you get away from it all, look no further.



Want to go? 

WHAT: Cliffview Resort

WHERE: 455 Cliff View Rd., Kentucky

INFO: cliffviewresort.com

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DELICIOUS NEWS: This Dayton cupcake shop is getting big props from Ohio government

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 12:05 PM

Twisted Cupcakery was named the maker of the best cupcake in Ohio by Delish.com.
Source: Twisted Cupcakery
Twisted Cupcakery was named the maker of the best cupcake in Ohio by Delish.com.(Source: Twisted Cupcakery)

A Dayton bakery has received big props from the state of Ohio. 

Twist Cupcakery, located at 25 S. St. Clair St. in downtown Dayton, has been selected by Secretary of State Jon Husted as one of February’s featured businesses for the Ohio Business Profile Program.

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“Twist Cupcakery is a unique sweets and confections bakery that specializes in cupcakes, cakes and other treats. They use the finest ingredients and focus on the little details to ensure their customers are satisfied,” the  secretary of state’s website says of the business. 

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A representative from Husted’s office will visit Twist Cupcakery and present a certificate highlighting this accomplishment.

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Twisted Cupcakery was named the maker of the best cupcake in Ohio by Delish.com.(Source: Twisted Cupcakery)

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Husted declared February as “Minority-Owned Business” month as part of the Ohio Business Profile Program. The month highlights Ohio’s minority-owned businesses. 

Established in 2015, Twist won third place in the “Best Bakery” category in Dayton.com’s recently-announced 2017 Best of Dayton contest. 

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Kate River, Twist’s owner, said she was honored by the 


“I hope to be a role model to other little brown girls that you can live out your dreams with hard work and persistence,” she told this news organization. “Twist has been a dream come true and we are so thankful for the community who has supported and encouraged us along the way."

Twisted Cupcakery was named the maker of the best cupcake in Ohio by Delish.com.(Source: Twisted Cupcakery)

The Downtown Browns are made up of Lisa Scott of Beaute Box Lashes Dayton; Jasmine Brown of De’Lish Cafe, Kate Rivers of Twist Cupcakery and Juanita Darden-Jones of Third Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar.

Twist Cupcakery was one of the grant recipients from Montgomery County’s MicroEnterprise program. The funding helped buy an industrial mixer. The owner was doing it by hand. STAFF(Staff Writer)

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Dayton's oldest sisters are 550 years old -- here’s where to find them

Published: Thursday, October 06, 2016 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 10:32 AM

White oaks known as the Three Sisters were here before Columbus voyaged to the New World. Video by

There are three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. Fairytales are full of threes: “The Three Little Pigs,” “The Three Bears,” “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” Mythology has the Three Fates, major and minor chords each contain three notes; likewise, blind mice come in threes. 

>> How to hike Montgomery County’s largest old-growth forest

In Dayton, the oldest and most famous threesome are the Three Sisters.

These “girls” are more than 550 years old. What are they? A stand of ancient white oaks predating Columbus’ voyage to the New World. 

The first tree you will encounter in the Three Sisters grove at Sugar Creek MetroPark is the largest, and dubbed the "Big Sister."(Connie Post)

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How to hike through the county's largest old-growth forest

Published: Monday, June 20, 2016 @ 11:41 AM
Updated: Monday, June 20, 2016 @ 11:41 AM

White oaks known as the Three Sisters were here before Columbus voyaged to the New World. Video by

It’s surprisingly simple to be surrounded by the magnificence of some of the area’s oldest trees.

Germantown MetroPark contains the largest tract of old-growth forest in all of Montgomery County.

From the parking lot, go to the Twin Valley Welcome Center. There are trail maps and other pamphlets containing information about the park. Walk toward the white Adirondack rocking chairs on the deck, then follow the boardwalk to the yellow trail, which is a 1.9-mile loop.


The hike will give you an idea of what this area looked like before European settlers cleared 90 percent of Ohio’s pristine forests. In contrast to most of today’s forest – which exist because of reforestation efforts – this area in Germantown MetroPark contains trees that were never removed for farming.


You will see some enormous trees that provide a shady canopy for a rich variety of flora. Animals, including squirrels and chipmunks, live here. The forest is also full of the songs and calls of many birds that inhabit this area.


During my recent visit, I saw many Ebony JewelWing damselflies, which are similar to dragonflies. The main difference between dragonflies and damselflies is that dragonflies rest with their wings extended, while damselflies fold them over their bodies. They’re extremely fast as they flitter about the forest.


This loop trail is easy to hike, but there are areas with large roots and rocks are on the path. I recommend hiking boots, sneakers or athletic sandals. Also, you’ll probably encounter gnats and mosquitos, so insect repellant is a good idea. Carry the map with you and be aware of the markers. A number of trails break off from the yellow trail.

Want to go?WHAT: Germantown MetroPark
WHERE: 7101 Conservancy Road, Germantown
HOURS: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. April 1-Oct. 31; 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Nov. 1-March 31; closed Christmas and New Year’s Day
INFO: www.metroparkis.org or 937-275-7275

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LOCAL RESTAURANT CLOSING: Try this deliciously saucy burger before it’s too late 

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

One Eyed Jacks in Fairborn is closing. Video by Amelia Robinson

After a decade of slinging burgers and booking bands, a well-known Dayton area restaurant is closing up shop for good.

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One Eyed Jacks, located at 2638 Colonel Glenn Highway in Fairborn near Wright State University, will permanently close on Saturday, Feb. 24, co-owner Bill Mangan said. 

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The decision was made not to renew the lease after a satisfactory agreement could not be reach with the building’s owner, he said. 

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One Eyed Jack's will close permanently February 24. Photo: Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

“We did really well there for a long time, but it’s been waning there for the last two years,” Mangan said. 

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The last night will include local entertainment from a yet-to-be announced group of local musicians. 

One Eyed Jack’s last show will be the “Jacks I Love Hip Hop Farewell Show” from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 23. 

Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox will headline the free show. V.I.P admission is $15. Ages 18 and up only. For more information, visit brownpapertickets.com

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Mangan said he was happy to provide a venue where local musicians of various genres could meet and perform. 

“Until you get a chance to perform in a live venue, you don’t know what you are capable of doing,” he said. “We were a launch pad for a lot of bands.”

Think if you've had one burger you've had them all? Take a look at at these and up your burger eating game. (Video by Tabatha Wharton)

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Mangan, also the owner of Cherry House Cafe, a deli at  1241 Meadow Bridge Dr. in Beavercreek, said he was thankful for the customers that supported One Eyed Jacks.

“We look forward to serving them at Cherry House if they come up this way,” he said. 

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One Eyed Jacks became known for its chicken wings and the burgers patties made daily by “Big” Ben Mangan, Bill Mangan’s son.

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At the urging of Dayton sandwich lover Nick Warrington, a Wright State alum and the university’s assistant director of  alumni, I gave One Eyed Jacks Bloomin’ Onion Burger a try. 

Nick raved about the restaurant’s tatonka sauce in a Facebook message:

“As a sandwich guru, I hope you have tried their sandwiches with their ‘famous tatonka sauce,’” he said in a message.

One Eyed Jack's will close permanently February 24. The restaurant's Bloomn' Onion burger and fries are pictured. Photo: Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

As Bill Mangan later explained, the sauce -- which is also served on the restaurant’s Veggie Zaffer black bean burger -- was inspired partly by Buffalo-style hot sauce. 

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He kept the spicy secrets to the creation to himself. 

My burger came out fresh and topped with layers of onion rings, tomato, lettuce, provolone cheese, onion and One Eyed Jacks creamy tatonka sauce with its slight kick.

The thick cheeseburger was well-seasoned with juices that melted into the sesame seed bun it came between. 

My lunch came with a mound of crispy, munchable seasoned fries for $9.95.

Each of One Eyed Jacks nine special burgers are eight ounces and cost $8.95 with house made Saratoga potato chips and a pickle spear. 

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Until it closes on Feb. 24, 2018, the restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday to Friday and noon to 2:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

One Eyed Jack's will close permanently February 24. The restaurant's Bloomn' Onion burger and fries are pictured. Photo: Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)


One Eyed Jack's will close permanently February 24. Photo: Amelia Robinson(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

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