In a nod to the city’s revitalization efforts — and some stops along the popular Donut Trail — Hamilton has been named to Country Living magazine’s “25 Under-the-Radar Midwestern Towns for Girlfriend Getaways.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES: With new business openings, Hamilton ‘reclaiming downtown’
“Hamilton is going through a renaissance and as new businesses and amenities come in, it makes the city a very attractive option for people who are looking for a quick getaway,” said Tracy Kocher, spokeswoman for the Butler County Visitors Bureau.
The magazine, with Facebook “likes” numbering more than 4 million, touts some of the city’s eclectic dining and retail options, including Sara’s House, a “farmhouse shopping hub full of repurposed furniture and accessories” at 254 High St., and Jolly’s Drive-In, “an old-fashioned drive-in with hot dogs, root beer floats, and all the classics” at 210 N. Erie Hwy.
Access to “serene kayaking and canoeing” down the Great Miami River and the historic charm of The Rossville Inn at 117 S. “B” St. and its billiard room and parlor are also mentioned by the magazine as draws worth a trip to the Butler County seat.
But it’s the famous Donut Trail that gets top billing and is described as “an enchanted pathway with 227 years of donut-making”
“Any city that has its own Donut Trail is reason enough for us to pack our bags,” the magazine says.
The Donut Trail actually encompasses 10 stops throughout Butler County, but four of the stops are Hamilton area storefronts.
LEARN MORE: Donut Trail details here
People expressing surprise online about Hamilton attaining such recognition is actually a good thing, according to Liz Hayden, the city’s small business development specialist.
“I think it’s really good for us to get that attention because … there’s been a lot of positive change in Hamilton in the last few years and we have a lot planned for the next few years, but a lot of people don’t know that yet,” Hayden said. “Getting this kind of recognition allows us to have people take a second look at Hamilton and then hopefully come check out the changes that are going on.”
Hamilton ranks 20th on the magazine’s list along with three other Ohio locations: Hocking Hills, Sandusky and West Portsmouth.
Country Living’s list of destinations is for those “looking for a quieter, quainter getaway,” the magazine says.
Hayden said the city’s downtown growth has seen 30 new small businesses, including retail stores and restaurants, open along Main and High streets since 2013 with even more slated to open this year.
Hayden said other city attractions include painting pottery at The Studio; getting pampered at Amantra Nail Salon & Day Spa; grabbing something to eat or drink at High Street Cafe, The Almond Sisters bakery, True West Coffee or Municipal Brew Works; or shopping at home decor and apparel businesses like Secretly Shabby, Made to Love, Serendipity, Art Off Symmes and Front Room on 7th.
Kocher said she tells people if they haven’t visited Hamilton in the past five years, “the Hamilton of five years ago is not what you see today.”
“I think this visibility through the Top 25 list is an indication of that,” she said. “There’s a lot of other cities on that list that a lot of people might be familiar with but they might not be familiar with Hamilton and because County Living has a very wide distribution, that piece is exposing Hamilton to a whole new crowd of potential visitors, potential residents, potential businesses that might come in and continue to revitalize the area.”