Every corner of Ohio is full of exciting and unexpected finds. Want to see classic Mustangs? Ride a canal boat? See chocolates being made? Feast on a breakfast charcuterie board? Drink beer in an old church? We found that and more when Visit Miami County hosted us this summer.
We filled an adventurous Friday with fun activities all across the county, starting with…
1. The Gale Halderman Mustang Museum (Tipp City)
One of the more unexpected finds in Miami County is the Gale Halderman Barn Museum. The museum sits on the long-time property of the Halderman family in Tipp City; Gale Halderman worked for Ford and was amongst the original designers of the Mustang in the early 60s.
Over the years the family converted old barns and greenhouses into a museum dedicated to the Mustang. Halderman passed away in 2020, but his daughter Karen has taken up the torch.
The museum is open by appointment only. It’s filled with a collection of new and vintage Mustangs, plus drawings, photos, memorabilia, and so much more – not to mention the huge display of cameras. Every square inch is packed with materials dedicated to the beloved muscle car.
They even feature a collection of Model T and Model A Fords!
Today the museum hosts tours and loads of events, including big regional car shows. For anyone who loves cars, especially the Mustang, this is a must-visit!
Location: 6476 US-40, Tipp City, OH 45371 (open by pre-scheduled tours only)
2. Breakfast charcuterie boards at redBERRY (Troy)
After our Mustang museum tour we had worked up an appetite, so we headed north from Tipp City to Troy for brunch at redBERRY. reBERRY is a newer spot serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch from the corner of a large strip mall. The open space is comfortable and inviting.
One of centerpieces of their brunch is the crowd-pleasing pancake board. Think of it like a breakfast charcuterie board. It features fried eggs, bacon, sausage links, mini pancakes, fruit and nuts, plus syrup, butter, jam, and peanut butter.
If you’re still hungry after the pancake board, you can’t go wrong with the biscuits and gravy or the brisket and eggs served over wonderfully seasoned potatoes.
Location: 914 N. Market St., Troy, OH 45373
3. Fresh fruits and veggies at Fulton Farms (Troy)
Our third stop was a quick visit to Fulton Farms in Troy.
The farm market features fresh produce, breads and pies, canned goods, and so much more. We were also reminded that you’re never too old to play on a train.
Location: 2393 OH-202, Troy, OH 45373
4. A tour of Winans’ chocolate factory (Piqua)
With 19 shops spread out around western and central Ohio, Winans Chocolates + Coffees has been supplying the good stuff since 1961. The company is now operated by the third generation of the family, and it continues to grow with new retail spaces and an upgraded coffee roasting facility.
Their flagship retail store and factory residences in downtown Piqua, where we got a tour to see coffee roasting and chocolate-making in action.
First we watched the team make a fresh batch of peanut brittle, pouring it out onto the table and pulling it apart. Winans still uses a lot of their original equipment, which is amazing to see. The tables are heated to keep the brittle from cooling too quickly while they separate it.
Then watched peanut butter chocolates being made!
It’s the chocolate-lover’s dream, to watch them roll down, get coated in the chocolate waterfall, stamped with the appropriate marker, chilled, and boxed.
Then we stepped over to the roasting facility – which has since moved across the street – to that warm, toasty smell of green beans getting into delicious coffee. We observed the roaster through the entire process, from carting over the raw beans to roasting and cooling them.
And of course, you have to stop by the retail shop for chocolates, coffees… and maybe a combination of both, like a frozen mocha.
Location: 310 Spring St., Piqua, OH 45356
5. Riding a canal boat at Johnston Farm (Piqua)
From Winans we trekked up to the Johnston Farm and Indian Agency, a historic site outside Piqua featuring the Johnston family homestead, a museum, and a canal boat running along a portion of the former Miami and Erie Canal.
Our first stop was a ride on the General Harrison, a replica canal boat that takes you along a restored one-mile stretch of the canal. The gentle ride, pulled along by a team of mules, includes views of the surrounding scenery and the Johnston house, as well as an in-depth history lesson about the homestead, canals, and more. The rides are scheduled at select times, so check the website.
After that you can explore the museum, which highlights the many Native Americans who called the area home and frontier life for settlers in the early 1800s.
Several structures remain on the property, from the house to the barn to the cider house. I was fascinated by the spring house, built on an actual spring and used for cold storage.
Then you can tour the Johnston house itself. The three-story federal-style structure was completed in 1815, and recently renovated to reflect its original style and decor. Johnston himself served, amongst other things, as the Indian Agent for the Northwest Territories.
Location: 9845 N. Hardin Rd. Piqua, OH 45356
6. Camp overnight in floating tents (Troy)
Staying overnight in Miami County? You can book one of the most unique stays right in very heart of Troy: floating tents on the Miami River! Float Troy offers anchored accommodations in the river off Treasure Island Park. Bookings for 2023 are coming soon!
Location: 409 N. Elm St., Troy, OH 45373
7. Beer and pizza in an old church at Moeller Brew Barn (Troy)
We finished our day with dinner at Moeller Brew Barn in Troy, situated in a renovated church across the street from the county courthouse. Moeller Brew Barn started in Maria Stein, Ohio, and has grown to include the Troy location, a new one in downtown Dayton opened this summer, a forthcoming production facility in Piqua, and another planned restaurant in Plain City.
The Troy location sits in the former First Lutheran Church. The original foundation dates back to 1870, but the current church building was built in 1912 and housed the congregation through 1998.
Moeller brews a wide variety of beers and seltzers, and serves a full menu of bar snacks, pizzas, burgers, salads, sandwiches.
They’ve managed to preserve the space while adding modern touches, from a huge back patio, downstairs event space, even a good-sized brewery. You can still enjoy the stained glass windows, and near the front entrance hangs a collection of wedding photos donated by families who were married in First Lutheran Church over its 80+ years.
Location: 214 W. Main St., Troy, OH 45373
8. Wall-to-wall candies at Grandpa Joe’s (Troy)
But we need a sweet treat after dinner, right? We snuck across the street to Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop, a small chain with locations across the country, including five spread out around Ohio.
They rightfully say that you’ll be overwhelmed at the shop. Every wall, every square inch of floor space is filled with candies, sodas, and gifts. You’ll find all your domestic favorites, international candies (I found my Cadbury Flake!), and everything in-between. Grandpa Joe’s is famous for the $5 candy wall, where you pack a small container with as many mixed candies as you can for only $5.
It made for a fun and colorful finish to the day exploring Miami County!
Location: 1 E. Main St., Troy, OH 45373
We loved our trip around Miami County. As with any good visit, we were eager to return to explore even more food, drink, historic sites, outdoor activities, museums. Reach out to Visit Miami County for more resources and to get help planning your own trip there!
Web: homegrowngreat.com and @visitmiamico on Instagram