Just before Christmas I had the opportunity to visit Lancaster, Ohio in Fairfield County. It’s just around a 2-hour drive from Cincinnati and makes a great day trip or weekend getaway in Ohio.
Lancaster, Ohio feels like the perfect midwestern town. When you arrive it feels like you’ve stepped into Stars Hollow. (aka the town of Gilmore Girls!) It’s charming and feels untouched by the urban sprawl of nearby major cities, but it’s not lacking in modern amenities that we’re used to like ridesharing and craft breweries. You’ll find the perfect combination of big adventure and small-town charm in Lancaster and throughout Fairfield County.
Here’s how to spend a day in Lancaster, Ohio:
Explore Downtown Lancaster By Foot
These are just a few of the shops to visit in Lancaster:
- A Season in Time (great clothing and home decor so you can #ShopLocal!)
- Paperback Exchange (there are two kitties that “run” the place!)
- Tracie Lynn’s Collections
- Rustic Gals Boutique
- Old Shoe Factory Antique Mall (this place is huge!)
- Miss Molly’s Mercantile (so many items perfect for gifting to be found here!)
- Decorative Arts Center of Ohio
Break for Coffee or Tea at Square Seven Coffeehouse
Square Seven Coffeehouse is also the location of Art & Clay on Main, a hands-on pottery studio. Square Seven is a non-profit social purpose enterprise. A social purpose enterprise is a cause-driven business whose primary reason for being is to improve social objectives and serve the common good, but unlike a traditional nonprofit organization they do not rely on charitable donations. Square Seven Coffeehouse and Art & Clay on Main are SPEs of the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The two businesses exist to train and employ people with developmental disabilities and to support a vibrant community where people lead fulfilling lives and make meaningful contributions.
What does that mean for you? Well, Square Seven Coffeehouse and Art & Clay on Main are both great businesses and Square Seven serves great coffee, but in addition your dollar is going to more than just the cost of the cup of coffee. You’re supporting a cause. So, whenever you see that a business is a social purpose enterprise, I hope you’ll support it!
We enjoyed our coffee and tea and admired the work in Art & Clay. The place was bustling on a Saturday morning with droves of people picking up their pottery. If you’re in town long enough or live nearby, I’d absolutely recommend partaking in Art & Clay’s offerings.
Visit the Ohio Glass Museum
I suggest visiting at least one museum anytime I travel to a new place and the Ohio Glass Museum was a completely new experience for me. The museum is currently running an exhibit on Red, White and Blue vintage glass. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and the best part is the glassmaking demo!
Hop On the Route 33 Brew Trail or Visit a Local Vineyard
Lancaster, Ohio really does have something for everyone, including the adults with discerning tastes. The Route 33 Brew Trail includes the Double Edge Brewing Company which is located in downtown Lancaster. It’s the first downtown brewery they’ve had in 75 years! They have plenty of sessional beers so you can easily find something to drink for any tastes. Personally, I’d love to visit some of the wineries during the warmer months because they’re so scenic.
Pick up Something Sweet at Candy Cottage
Candy Cottage is the real deal. They make fresh roasted peanuts, chocolates, mints, candies and more in small batches so they are always fresh and high quality. Candy Cottage has been a woman-owned business for several decades and in recent years they moved to their location on W. Fair Avenue to better serve the high-volume of customers they see.
The morning we visited there was a line out the door when they opened and they were busy replenishing the stock.
Also noticed on my visit, the customer service is top notch. They were helping a woman who had a cane carry her bags out to her car and striking up conversation with everyone. Like I said before, this town has Stars Hollow vibes. I splurged on buckeyes (read about the Ohio Buckeye Trail here), homemade “thin mints,” chocolate covered Oreos and gummy bears. We also sampled the salted caramel in store.
The prices were very affordable so even my big stockpile of sweets for myself and others was under $20. There were tons of seasonally inspired sweets, so this would be the place to stock up at for any holiday or special occasion, as well as just because you have a sweet tooth and deserve it.
Lunch at Four Reasons Bakery & Deli
Four Reasons is a great lunch spot in Lancaster, Ohio and I really wish I had one to visit here in Cincinnati. As a bakery they of course have lots of fresh pastries, but we stopped in to warm up with some freshly made soup. It hit the spot. Plus, the deli has a big open atmosphere but lots of tables for chatting with friends or reading a book while you eat something scrumptious. If you needed a quick bite to go, I’d absolutely recommend stopping in here.
Dine at O’Huids Gaelic Pub and Cafe
Dining at O’Huids is the best version of an Irish pub you’ll find in the states. The beer options are plentiful, the food is unique and satisfying, the staff is friendly and the atmosphere was perfectly cozy, especially on a cold winter day. I imagine this place really shines at night for a spot to catch up with friends over a few brews at any of their tables.
The one item you must get at O’Huids is the Eire Egg Rolls. I’d say everything on the menu is shareable, so order a few apps and entrees to split between a group so you can sample a variety of items from the traditional fish and chips to the massive Loch Ness Burger.
Where to Park in Downtown Lancaster, Ohio?
They have free parking on the weekends! There is a large lot on Wheeling Street between Columbus and Broad Streets that is open to the public. Park here and you can walk to all the spots downtown. Candy Cottage is not downtown, but worth the stop on your way in or out of town!
Where to Find Things to Do in Lancaster and Fairfield County?
There is no shortage of activities, festivals, special events and more in Lancaster, Ohio and Fairfield County in general. The Fairfield County Visitors and Convention Bureau is a fantastic resource for all things Fairfield County and worth perusing if my recommendations have intrigued you. You can also view my IG Highlights from my visit here.
Disclosure: Of course all opinions and suggestions are my own, however, I was hosted by the Fairfield County Visitors and Convention Bureau for this visit. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Casey La Vie possible!