Clifton, Ohio is just 15 minutes away from campus, but offers some fun ways to escape the Witt bubble. I decided to check out the sleepy town for my first local trip, and it did not disappoint.
The small town was built up around Clifton Mill, a grist mill built to grind wheat into flour, in the early 1800s. Soon after, five other mills were built along the Little Miami River, but Clifton Mill is the only one still standing and functioning today. The mill comes complete with a cute gift shop and restaurant, where they serve food made with flour from the mill.
When I went in, they were trying to sell the rest of their Christmas decorations, so the shop looked like a holiday edition of Country Living magazine, complete with shelves full of flour and pancake mixes made on site. It reminded me of a cute café that I visited in Nashville, complete with cute country décor and a familiar small town feel.
Although I didn’t get to try anything from the restaurant on this visit, I plan to go back to try some locally-produced signature pancakes or omelets. I love breakfast food and I love local diners, so this is the perfect mix.
Behind the restaurant building, you can walk and see the mill and the original water wheel used to power it. There is also a reconstructed covered bridge onsite. With warmer weather, this would be the perfect site for a picnic, or just taking in the beautiful sights.
I walked around a bit and took in some of the beautiful views, but I think it would be something else in the spring.
If you like hiking and the great outdoors, a block away from the Clifton Mill is the entrance to Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve. A neighbor to John Bryan State Park, Clifton Gorge features beautiful ridges and waterfalls. Although it was nice to walk around in the winter without any bugs, I can only imagine what the trails would look like surrounded by the fresh green of spring.
I was immediately captivated by the sound of rushing water, which can be heard upon pulling up the parking lot. After reading about the area on a welcome board, I headed down the trail to see what the wooden look-out area I saw was. Apparently the water I heard was rapids and the look-out spot offered a beautiful view of the water and the gorge.
As someone hiking solo, I didn’t go too far down the trails, but much like with Clifton Mill, I’m planning to return to the area with friends in better weather.
Clifton would make a fun day trip to get off campus for a few hours and see some of the incredible natural sites around Springfield. To get there, just hop on Limestone Street and head towards downtown. Eventually, Limestone will turn into OH-72, which leads straight into Clifton after about 15 minutes. A large brown sign advertising Clifton Mill will point you to the right, and the Mill will be right after the turn.