Nov 7, 2009
An Afternoon in Yellow Springs
Yellow Springs, Ohio: A little bit of San Francisco dropped into Middle America. I believe this building used to be a train station. Inside are public restrooms which contain about a dozen original paintings by regional artists. That's Yellow Springs for ya. . .
Babs and I have always had an affinity for the bohemian. From our earliest days of dating we found in each other a kindred spirit--one drawn to the artsy, funky, vaguely hippie aesthetic. One of the things we loved about Saipan was the kind of people it seemed to attract--those that were interested in the wider world, those that sought the less-traveled roads. We were never going to be the sort of people that considered living next to a mall with a Starbucks and Applebee's around the corner the pinnacle of good living. No disrespect to those that do find the suburban American lifestyle satisfactory, of course. It's just not us.
So we worried about moving to the epitome of middle America--Ohio. Babs worried--especially after visiting places like San Francisco this summer-- that we couldn't possibly find an artist colony or organic coffee shop here in this part of America characterized by either farmland or big box stores. I, however, was convinced that even here, there had to be some kind of bohemian outpost. And it turned out, I was right. Just 40 minutes from home is Yellow Springs, Ohio, a small town with a good number of local artists, a collection of eclectic restaurants and cafes, a "green friendly" store, and funky mom & pop shops. Nearby Antioch University with it's population of young adults and older academics adds to Yellow Springs open-minded ethos. I'd heard about Yellow Springs through the local NPR affiliate that broadcasts from the town, and also from a friend on Interference who lives in Columbus and who does work with a recording and visual artist. She recommended the town as a place we should check out. Babs had read about the town as well, and it sounded interesting.
And so it was, that two weeks ago,on a sunshiney Sunday afternoon, our family piled in the car and headed out to see Yellow Springs for ourselves.
It was like coming home. We wandered the quaint streets--stopped in at the green store where the clerk gave Elijah a free grape-flavored organic sucker; browsed the used bookstore where they let you have one free children's book valued at $5 or less on the weekend. We checked out the local market, picked up a cup of steaming spiced cider at one of the cafes (caramel cider for me, and "Autumn Bliss", the chai cider for Babs), and snacked on freshly made french fries from a roadside stand. Yellow Springs was small-town without being parochial, open-minded without being pretentious. It was wonderful, and Babs immediately declared she'd like to live there.
Well, I don't know that we'll actually move to Yellow Springs--after all the drive to Columbus from there is still pretty substantial--but I do know we'll be visiting again. When we get tired of the Wal-Marts and subdivisions, the Olive Gardens and freeways, we know we can always head over to Yellow Springs, where the pace is slower, the art is omnipresent, the vibe is funky, and the food is free-range, fair-trade, organic, and/or locally grown.
For more information about Yellow Springs, Ohio click on their chamber of commerce link bookmarked in the post above or on this link for Explore Yellow Springs. It really does look like a great place to live!
Our boy with Daddy and Mommy in downtown Yellow Springs. He's in a pretty good mood after having consumed the organic, cane-sugar lollipop they gave him at the green store.
They even have an store featuring Asian decor. We didn't go inside this time, but I found the exterior to be quite interesting in it's own right.
Walking down the main drag through town.
A nearby park brilliant in fall foliage.