Torchlight Pass Downtown Middletown

Middletown, OH- Arts, Hops, and Skydiving

In Arts and Culture, Biking, Breweries, Canoe and Kayak, Community, Cycling, Downtown, Entrepreneurs, Events, Family, Festivals, Food, Historic Preservation, history, Industrial Era, Inns, Lifestyle, Local Amenities, Recreation, River Town, Sky Diving, Small Business, Small Town, Small Town Culture, Tradition, Travel, Unique Experienceby My Town TodayLeave a Comment

My Town Destination: Middletown, OH 

Trip Type: Weekend Trip

Date of Visit: 8/9/19 – 8/11/19

Town Ambassador/Contact: Mary Huttlinger  Phone: 513-320-8477 email:mary@visitmiddletownohio.com 

What is it about a small town that makes it so unique and interesting? Is it being mesmerized by a small town’s past? The allure of beautiful downtown buildings, or a geographic location? Or maybe it’s renovations of blending the old and the new. Whatever the reason, Middletown, Ohio has it all!

Middletown’s History- Founded by Entrepreneurs

Downtown Middletown Central Ave

Middletown has been around since the 1833 and became an official city in 1886, largely in part to Armco– a steel company that has now moved out of the town. Armco was a huge operation – they even had their own bank and police. Additional business opportunities followed suite, including the businesses of Paul J. Sorg like the Sorg Paper Company. You can see Middletown’s history by touring its beautiful historic locations, some even survived several catastrophes, including the flood of 1913. Click here for video of Middletown’s history.

Because of the grand businesses of the past, Middletown now has incredible resources to share with the community, such as The Sorg Mansion and The Sorg Opera House. Both built by Paul J. Sorg who was a serial entrepreneur, making his fortune in tobacco and manufacturing. The Sorg Mansion is a 13,000 square foot Romanesque style home complete with carriage house, built in 1887. In addition, The Sorg Mansion has been named one of the top ten preservation opportunities in the state of Ohio. Click here to see video.

Middletown’s Future Entrepreneurs Investing and Preserving

Touring Middletown you get a certain feeling while visiting the local establishments- it’s the entrepreneurial spirit. What a beautiful experience to see so many individuals living out their dreams, and making a way for themselves in Middletown.

Haute Fusion Owner John Ferrando

Middletown is becoming a bustling arts community. Being only 30 miles outside of Cincinnati, creatives who are seeking a slower pace of life are settling in Middletown. Places such as Pendelton Art Center, and mural sites right in the heart of downtown are taking hold here. My Town had the opportunity to visit Haute Fusion Glass Studio and Gallery, a fused glass creative experience run by John Ferrando. John is a shining example of taking a great idea, and turning it into a small town business. John left his day job a few years ago, and took a chance on Middletown. Now in his successful studio, he is taking on bigger roles, like heading up the committee for the Middletown Arts Festival. Check out a quick intro from John here.

Hop through Middletown

Rivertown Brewery and Barrel House

The Brewery community has become very important in Middletown, and not just because people want to drink beer. It turns out that the water quality in Middletown is perfect for Brewing! Check out the video here.

My Town had the opportunity to visit three of Middletown’s favorite breweries- River Town Brewing Co., FigLeaf Brewing Co., and Rolling Mill Brewing Co. Each individually unique and boasting their own brew style personality. At FigLeaf you can experience a flight by writing out your own tasting menu, and Rivertown has great food, much of which is made on an indoor smoker! And Rolling Mill (located downtown), is the only gluten free brewery in the state of Ohio!

Hops in the Hangar

Middletown’s love of brews, has spawned successful events like Hops in Hangar. An event that has over 30 breweries and awesome aeronautics participating at Middletown’s regional airport. This small town event now gathers over 1,000 people to hang out and try the Cincinnati region’s best beers. Click here for a great detailed review by the Gnarly Gnome.

Hops in the Hangar 2019

Small Town Culture and Values are alive and well in Middletown, OH 

The Jug Owners Donnie and Sarah Osborne

What would small towns be without tradition and small town values held dear by the residents? In Middletown there are two businesses that stand out in preserving these values- The Jug and Gracie’s.

The Jug is not just a Middletown food establishment, it is a tradition that has literally been passed down for generations. While talking with the current owner Donnie Osborne, the one word that stood out repeatedly was tradition. The Jug has been in operation for 87 years, during this time it has acquired a following that is now into the third generation of Jug lovers. When posting about the Jug, the stories and memories that were told online were overwhelming, from beloved family memories to Presidential parades! Check out the comments here. One thing was clear – Donnie and his wife Sarah are preserving something special in Middletown, and its burgers, onion rings, and specialty root beer will live on.

Gracies Downtown Middletown

Similarly, Gracies is preserving family tradition in downtown Middletown, but in a different atmosphere. Owned by Ami Vitori, the tradition of Gracies starts in the 1930’s with Ami’s grandparents Nick and Grace. Ami’s grandparents ran a local grocery store, Vitori’s Market, in Middletown for 61 years. Seeing how the family took care of the customers as neighbors and friends stuck with Ami, and in 2017 she moved back to Middletown to open Gracies, and “help Middletown write its next chapter” (Ami Vitori). Ami runs her business on the motto that “a small town can change the world,” and when you have individuals like Ami and the owners of the Jug investing in the future of their town, My Town would have to agree.

My Town’s Delicious and Delectable of Middletown 

There are wonderful choices in Middletown when it comes to great food, from fine dining to food trucks, here are a few My Town Picks:

The Swire Inn– Made from scratch comfort food, pub style, in a beautiful historic building, make sure to try the pot roast!

Mockingbird’s Cafe

Mockingbird’s Cafe-Downtown location, adorable cafe with a variety of favorites ranging from eggs and bacon, to tacos!

Triple Moon Coffee Company– Town Staple, local hang out, downtown location, great coffee.

Java Johnny’s Egganini

Java Johnny’s – Great place for wonderful coffee and a quick bite. Great Paninis!

And of course The Jug, and Gracies are also on the list.

The Unique, Interesting, Yours, of Middletown

What is it about a town that makes it special? A local attraction, a family-owned business that has been there forever? A piece of history you can’t find anywhere else, or a bookstore with just the right vibe? Here are a few of the Unique, Interesting, Yours of Middletown.

The Sorg Opera House

The Sorg Opera House– Built by Paul J. Sorg in 1891, and now being lovingly restored and serving the community with great performances. In the past, The Sorg played host to names as big as Bob Hope and The John Phillips Sousa Band! You will adore the charm and grandeur of this historic landmark. Call ahead and make reservations at The Swire Inn, or Gracies ahead of a show for a great evening out. Or make it a weekend and add a stay at Indigo Pass. All walk-able, just park your car and enjoy your evening downtown!

Great Miami Riverway– The Great Miami Riverway is 99 miles of river, paved trails, and connected communities in southwest Ohio. In Middletown you can connect right off Central Avenue, and the river is only a hop, skip and a jump from downtown. My Town rented a bike from Spoken on Central Avenue, and had an amazing ride along the Great Miami River.

Spoken Bike Rental for Great Miami Riverway Ride

Start Skydiving– Did you know that Middletown is the number one drop zone in the world for skydiving? Just a little hidden nugget for adventure- and Start Skydiving can get you started safely and affordably for all the adrenaline you can handle!

BeavVerre Riordan Stained Glass Studios

BeavVerre Riordan Stained Glass Studios-Custom beveled, etched, stained, and art glass windows for commercial or residential settings. Also does new designs and museum quality Tiffany and Frank Lloyd Wright reproductions.

Torchlight Pass and Gracies Outdoor Seating

Torchlight Pass- Beautiful Pavilion on the corner of Central Avenue and Verity Parkway. Home to Gracies, and the boutique hotel Indigo Pass. Indigo Pass is home to high end style in a small town setting. You get comfort and affordability in a great location, and is walking distance from many of the great shops and eateries in town.

MTT Antique and Market Finds

Great Antique Shops and Farmers Markets are familiar sights in small towns. This includes Thrift Shops, Local Eats, and the like! Here are some great MTT Antique and Market Finds from Middletown.

Peggy’s Produce and Country Store

Peggy’s Produce and Country Store

Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop

Grandpa Joe’s Candy Store

MTT Referral

My Town Today has started a referral section of each article. It’s based on visiting a town, and finding out what town the majority of its citizens would recommend My Town to visit next.

The referral for this entry is: Lebanon, OH. Stay tuned for My Town to pop up there soon.

Middletown Photo Gallery Click Here:

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