Thursday, January 12, 2012

Town + City Survey: Dayton

Hi, friends!  Before we look at our first Midwestern city, I'd like to acknowledge that I totally spaced out while writing the last couple posts, and forgot to ask y'all for input on Boulder and Nashville.  Please excuse my lapse in manners, and do share if you have any experience to report! 

old timey photo of skaters on frozen Great Miami River in Dayton

Now, onward with the City Tour!  To The Midwest!  To Dayton, Ohio—a.k.a. Gem City in the Buckeye State.  You see, I have a bee in my bonnet, and it's been buzzin' up a storm about experiencing the four seasons (and I don't mean a Vivaldi violin concerto).  Even if it's for only one cycle, I am keen on living in an area that has four distinct seasons.  I want fall foliage, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes, which we do have in California, of course.  But somehow, it all seems inauthentic when it's 87º outside.  I used to be so defensive when my friends from Illinois and New England would scoff at our "Autumn", but traveling through Europe during October and November last year showed me that, indeed, we Californians do not know Autumn.  And, just once, I'd like a Snow Day, please. :]

So, what does Gem City have to offer besides winter, spring, summer, and fall?

  • RiverScape Park.  Looks like a fun spot where the community can hang out year round.  Spectacular water shows in the warm months, and an ice skating rink in the cold months.  Plus, broomball.
  • 2nd Street Market.  Over 40 vendors selling locally grown + handmade goodies.  Find maple syrup, maple cookies, jams, soaps, breads, wines, etc. in an old B&O Railroad building (who knew B&O was real?  You know, not just an imaginary railway to acquire in Monopoly?).  Stopping by the Market could be a weekly ritual.
  • A World A'fair.  It seems I am obsessed with festivals.  And with good reason!  Where, when and how else can I marvel at Kenyan acrobats while snacking on Indian samosas and Greek spanikopita before my dinner that consists of Japanese sushi and German beer?  Which will, of course, be followed by Slavic creme puffs and Guatemalan coffee for dessert, while the French can-can dancers show us their petticoated bits.  My only quibble?  Why aren't adults allowed to answer the trivia questions and get their passports stamped at each booth?  No fair!
  • The Dayton International Peace Museum.  One of a kind museum with an indisputably important message. 
  • Garden Station, an urban community garden and sculpture park.  Art installations, murals, workshops—a space for an ever-changing community project.
  • And should I ever live in Dayton, I am going to make an annual weekend getaway to Celina (a smallish town near Grand Lake), to "run" in the Donut Dash.  Observe: “The Donut Dash is a unique event, where your ability to eat donuts is just as important as your ability run fast . . . While racing you will visit two "donut stops" along the 3.1 mile course and eat donuts.  For each donut the runner eats during race they have 2 minutes deducted from their finish time."  Donuts while running?  And the more I eat, the more I will be rewarded with a sweet finish time?  Yes and yes

And you?  Any thoughts on Dayton?

ice skating image source

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