One Region, Many Downtowns

By Ruth Corradi Beach

Beyond its county seat, Richland County is a land rich in small communities. From rural to suburban, each town has its own personality and attractions worth a day trip.

Slow down and enjoy the beauty of the countryside by visiting the villages of Lucas, Plymouth and Shiloh, and the charming community of Olivesburg. Here you’ll find an old-school general store, museums celebrating local history and quaint bed & breakfasts.

Nestled in the rolling hills of southeast Richland County, Butler attracts outdoor enthusiasts. This town marks the start of the Richland B & O Trail, perfect for bikers and walkers. Dive deeper into nature on the Clear Fork Valley Scenic Trail as you hike through an old-growth forest, past prairies and waterfalls. Kick back at The Whiffletree Restaurant or stroll up to the counter at Five Points Drive-In for shakes, floats and more summer favorites.

Connected to the B & O Trail, Bellville’s picturesque Main Street begins at the storied Blue Bridge. Visit Elzy Milling and Trade, a two-block gift and general store attached to a mill that’s been in continuous operation since the Civil War. Enjoy dinner and wine at Wishmaker House Bed & Breakfast and Winery. Satisfy your sweet tooth with sky-high sherbet twists at the Clear Fork Dairy Belle.

Lexington, also accessible by bike, offers fun for the entire family. Book a lane at Lex Lanes bowling alley or rent a bike from Y-Not Cycling. Relax and refuel at the end of the day with a cup of coffee from Nickel & Bean.

While Ontario doesn’t have a walkable downtown, it’s a retail hub for both national chains and small businesses. With so many options to choose from, this is the ideal destination for shopping, dining and drinking. For a change of pace, walk your dog, play disc golf, see live music or just relax outdoors at Marshall Park.

Plan an evening outing in Shelby. The Vault Wine Bar, a marble-heavy former 1911 bank, houses wines in its walk-in vault and offers an elegant atmosphere. Hunt for a treasure at the famously eclectic Glen’s Surplus Sales, nicknamed The Shelby Mall. Enjoy warm weather with a round at Roselawn Miniature Golf, then cross the street for burgers and ice cream at Paul’s Drive-In.

Plan a Day Trip in Richland County

Make the most of your day trip by adding a few more of the region’s nearby hidden treasures to your itinerary. Pick your own fruit in Lexington at The Blueberry Patch. Admire the incredible biodiversity and display of wildflowers at the Shelby Black Fork Wetlands. Follow the Richland B & O Trail to see more notable sights.