For an explanation of travel plans read "important notes about my travel plans."
I designed this plan to immerse myself in all things Christmas. Undecided about who I will be traveling with, I chose options that can be included or removed to meet the interests of my travel companions allowing me to use this plan traveling with my history buff husband or as a "girl's trip" that would focus more on shopping. This plan can be adapted for a 3, 4, or 5 day long weekend or even a 7 day vacation as desired. The plan can be started on any day of the week however, several sites are closed on Sundays. Drive-thru light display(s) are less crowded on a weeknight than on a weekend. This plan is a driving tour that will require a car or other vehicle.
~Remember that plans are made for my own travels and may not be suitable for yours.
~Be mindful of days and hours of operation. Double check before you go!
~Listed times are not goals to be met, but are an estimate of where I expect to be at that time.
Day #1 8 am – On the road. From NE Ohio our drive is approx. 110 miles/2 hrs. to Cambridge, OH10 am -- Stop at
Tis the Season - Ohio’s Largest Christmas Shop
4363 OH-39, Millersburg, OH 44654
Mon – Sat 10-6
Traveler’s review: Located in Amish Country, this is the largest Christmas shop and it is spectacular! I visit annually and it is well worth the drive. You’ll need a couple of hours at least! Make a weekend of it and visit the many other gift shops and specialty stores in the area.
11 am -- Lunch at Der Dutchman
4967 Walnut St, Walnut Creek, OH 44687
Traveler’s review: My wife loves and raves about the salad bar..I love the mashed potatoes with their homemade noodles on top ..Baked chicken juicy and so tasty with a side of their baked beans yeah they are incredible... Our new favorite restaurant.
Drive additional 55 miles/1 hr (220 miles/1 hr. 50 min. total) to Cambridge, OH –
What they say: Take a trip back in time and explore historic downtown Cambridge. Until early January, the town is transformed into old world England, featuring more than 80 scenes of 180 lifelike figures representing typical scenes from Victorian society and Dickens' novels. This incredible display is an enchanting take on the holiday season.
12 pm -- Browse Cambridge shops.Check in and have dinner at
Salt Fork Park Lodge and Conference Center
Reservation confirmation #_______________________________
R-3, Cambridge, OH 43725; (800) 282-7275
Ask for private balcony, lakeview room; Lakeside "chalets" have a hot tub and fireplace.
What they say: Visitors to Salt Fork State Park can enjoy overnight accommodations at Salt Fork Lodge and Conference Center. Conveniently located close to the intersection of Interstates 70 and 77, the lodge boasts 148 guestrooms, 53 cabins and eight meeting/conference rooms with a professional sales and catering staff. Also at the lodge you will find indoor/outdoor pools, a Jacuzzi, game room, fitness center, gift shop, The Wildlife Lounge and Timbers full-service restaurant. Attractions and amenities at the park include an 18-hole championship golf course, nature center, two marinas, picnic area, seasonal hunting and fishing, boating, swimming and more. Whether you are planning a getaway for your family, a reunion with your classmates or a business conference away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Salt Fork provides the perfect atmosphere.Traveler’s review: “A massive pine-beam-and-stone lodge .... Christmas decorations, lights, fireplaces etc all added to some great pictures and warm atmosphere during a very cold snowy season.”
Traveler’s review; Lakeside Chalet Cabin .... the fireplace was lovely and we enjoyed the hot tub.
Traveler’s review: There are multiple seating areas to play board games, etc. I recommend asking for the lakeview rooms...we always see deer grazing in the grass outside our balcony. We really enjoy meeting other guests and the service at The Timbers restaurant is very good.Day #2
Spend the morning hiking at Salt Fork State Park.
Print out this map of the park.Lunch at:
Georgetown Tavern on the Hill
62920 Georgetown Rd, Cambridge, OH 43725-9771; 1 740-435-3222
After lunch, browse Cambridge shops.
Have dinner in the lodge restaurant.Night:
at Salt Fork State Park Lodge.
Leave by 8:45 am -- Drive 1 hr. 15 min/70 mi from Salt Fork Lodge to Granville.
10 am -- Stop along the way at:
White Pillars Christmas House
7405 E Pike, Norwich, OH 43767
Mon – Sat 10-5
Traveler’s review: “I needed to get some Christmas spirit and found some in this circa 1880 house.
12 pm -- Lunch at Buxton Inn
313 Broadway E, Granville, OH 43023-1307+1 740-587-0001
Traveler’s review: “A wonderful restaurant.” “This historic Buxton is a favorite for the in-the-know crowd. A pretty hotel .... an excellent restaurant and bar. This place is definitely worth your stay and is walking distance from everything else in Granville.
1:30 pm -- Visit Robbin Hunter Museum
221 East Broadway, Granville, OH 43023
Wednesday through Saturday to small group tours from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm or by appointment.Duration 1-2 hrs.
Traveler’s review: “The tour this day focused on the Christmas trees in each room and the ornaments which represented different historical periods.”
3 pm -- ~Browse Granville Shops
Check in and have dinner at
314 Broadway E, Granville, OH 43023-1308
1 (740) 217-4593
Reservation confirmation #________________________
What they say: If you’re looking for a quaint hotel in Granville, look no further than The Granville Inn. … As your “home away from home,” the hotel rooms offer a flat screen TV, air conditioning, and a seating area, and getting online is easy, with free wifi available. Guests have access to a 24 hour front desk, room service, and newspaper while staying at The Granville Hotel. As an added convenience, there is free parking available to guests. Evening activity:
WonderLights Christmas Light Drive Thru
Hours: 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Where: 2650 National Road SW, Hebron, OH 43025
OR There is a Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour on
Saturday Dec 4, 2021
Shops open at 10 A.M.; Events begin at 1 P.M. and end at 9 P.M.
What they say: There is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than in the quaint, New England-style village of Granville. This year marks the 27th Anniversary that the Village of Granville has entertained thousands of visitors and residents at the Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour. Granville’s Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour lights up the town the first Saturday of each December, capturing the essence of an old-fashioned Christmas. A festive mood is created at this holiday event as visitors discover the spirit of the season amidst the glow of twinkling Christmas lights and luminaries, the sounds of carolers and musicians, and the happy laughter of children as they sit on Santa’s knee. Stroll along the streets lined with live Christmas trees aglow with sparkling lights and hundreds of luminaries. Find special gifts at unique shops, and dine in a variety of restaurants. Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride, holiday music at area churches, or visit our museums and businesses that host special events. Timed events that have become family favorites occur at locations around town, such as children’s events at the Village Hall; Santa at the Village Offices; Christmas Train at the library; theatre and music at Denison University; and musical attractions at local businesses. Annual event.
Traveler’s review: “Staying over the Christmas break, the town and inn were beautiful.
The 3 day weekend ends here.
Optional free time or Granville Carriage Company Tour What they say: A 30 minute Narrated Historical Village Tour of Granville. The Classical White Vis a Vis Carriage seats 4 to 6 people and the Ladies who ride receive a complementary flower. In 2010 Ohio Magazine voted Granville Carriage Co. "Best of the Best" While that was an honor we strive to have every ride wonderful. I often hear "I feel I am IN the postcard".
Leave by 11:15 am -- Drive 40 min/37 mi to
12 pm -- Lunch and gift shop at Morgan House
5300 Glick Rd, Dublin, OH 43017-9401
Allow plenty of time to browse the fabulous gift shop!
2 pm -- Visit Baker’s Garden Center/ Gift Shop
9267 Dublin Rd, Powell, OH 43065
Opens 10 a.m. - 5:30 pm
Visited here a few years ago. Beautiful shop at Christmas time!
Don't feel like shopping? Try a guided tour with Columbus City Adventures.
City tour company offering guided bus and walking tours. Public and private tours available. Tours include landmarks, history, architecture, culture and stories about the city. Step on guide available.
4 p.m. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Wildlights
4850 Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065-7288
What they say: Home to more than 11,000 animals representing nearly 600 species from around the globe, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium leads and inspires by connecting people and wildlife. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Course. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also operates the Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in southeastern Ohio. The Zoo is a regional attraction with global impact; annually contributing $4 million of privately raised funds to support conservation projects worldwide. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Columbus Zoo has earned Charity
4 day weekend ends here.
Hilton Garden Inn Columbus/Polaris -- $119
8535 Lyra Dr, Columbus, OH 43240
9 am -- Drive 1 hr 30 min/85 mi to Roscoe Village in Coshocton, OH
10 am -- Stop along the way at Smore Christmas Shop
508 Main St, Dresden, OH 4382
10-5 Monday - Saturday
11 am -- Visit Roscoe Village
Special hours for holiday events
What they say: Experience life during the 1830s in this beautifully restored canal era town called Historic Roscoe Village. "Step back in time" with a living history experience complete with costumed interpreters, hands-on activities, shopping, dining, lodging and a horse-drawn canal boat ride.
Traveler’s Review: Roscoe Village is an old, Erie Canal town. Just around the corner from the village you can take a canal boat ride. In the village you can purchase a Living History ticket and visit the historical buildings with staff dressed in period costumes. There is a print shop, doctor office, etc. It is a really nice experience for all ages.
~A Christmas candlelighting event is held the first two Saturdays in December.
Lunch inside Roscoe Village
3 pm -- Drive home. To NE Ohio it is approx. 2 hrs 30 min./150 miles to home.The 5 day weekend ends here.
To make this a 7-day vacation insert this section as Days #4 and #5 and adjust plans accordingly.
Day #4Drive 1 hr 30 min/100 mi. to Air Force Museum
1100 Spaatz St, Dayton, OH 45431
Traveler’s review: It’s incredible to see all the planes and history. The staff was very friendly and helpful. They even have scooters for disabled people. Museum was very clean and bright. I believe that the highlight of the museum is the Presidential planes.
Drive 30 min/17 mi to
Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill
Nov 23-Dec 31. Grounds open 5-9 pm, lights on at 6. $10, Children 6 and under free. Open 6-8 pm on 12/23, 25 & 31. Snack Bar & Hot Cocoa. Holiday season restaurant & gift shop hours: 9a-2p Mon-Fri, 8a-2p Sunday
What they say: For 32 years Clifton Mill has celebrated the Christmas season in a very special way. Our light display, featured in Midwest Living and Ohio Magazine, is one of the country’s finest with over 4 million lights illuminating the mill, the gorge, the riverbanks, trees and bridges. There is even a 100 foot “waterfall” of twinkling lights. The flip of one switch turns all the lights on at once transforming night into a fantastical winter wonderland which includes a Miniature Village, a Santa Claus Museum , a Toy Collection and a spectacular synchronized lights and music show that features the old Covered Bridge.
Dinner along the way at
El Rancho Mexican Restaurant
143 E Dayton Yellow Springs Rd, Fairborn, OH 45324
Travelers review: Food and atmosphere is always awesome. Best restaurant in Fairborn!!
Other restaurants on our route
1223 E Dayton Yellow Springs Rd, Fairborn, OH 45324
Reservation Confirmation #______________________________
Arthur Morgan House B&B
120 West Limestone Street
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
www.arthurmorganhouse.comThis tranquil B&B in a colonial-style home is a 2-minute walk from the breezy cafes, quaint shops and eclectic galleries of downtown Yellow Springs, and 4 miles from John Bryan State Park.
Or Mills Park Hotel -- $150
321 Xenia Ave, Yellow Springs, OH 45387
Set along Route 68, this relaxed hotel in the Yellow Springs Historic District is a 7-minute walk from the Glen Helen Nature Preserve and a mile from the Orators Mound archaeological site.
Drive 50 min/45 mi to Lebanon
Choose the days activity.Browse Lebanon shops
~Peddler’s Antique Mall
20 A Columbus Ave A, Lebanon, OH 45036-1402
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Peddlers Mall is a family owned and operated "flea-tique"chain of 19 retail stores located throughout KY, IN, & OH. We specialize in vintage items, oddities, furniture, collectibles, antiques, and anything new or old. Buy, sell, and save with our unique shopping experience. Save time and shop online! Peddlers Mall offers online shopping on our website or on our app with free in store pick-up and affordable shipping options.
Timberwind Tree Farm
1566 W Pekin Rd, Lebanon, OH 45036
Traveler’s review: Super fun time with our family! Great little tree farm with free family photo, hot cocoa, and hayride. Wonderful family and volunteers. Money goes to charity is an added bonus.
The Christmas Peddler
258 S Main St, Waynesville, OH 45068
Traveler’s review: The Peddler House is such a unique store and one that I love to visit. The upstairs is beautifully separated into themed rooms and full to the brim with items for the home.
Fort Ancient State Memorial
6123 State Route 350, Oregonia, OH 45054-9708
Historic site featuring 2000-year-old walls built by hand as a calendar system by Native American peoples.
Carillon Historical Park
Carillon Boulevard, Dayton, OH 1000 Carillon Blvd, Dayton, OH 45409-2023
Until that day, I never realized how much manufacturing and industry was started here in Dayton. From NCR (cash registers), Delco (automotive), Frigidaire (refrigerators and home appliances) to aerospace, bicycles and more. The exhibits were through and detailed. Well designed and informative.
Highly rated restaurants open for lunch.
Mae Ploy’s Thai Restaurant
11 S Broadway St, Lebanon, OH 45036-1769+1 513-409-5600
Country Kitchen Restaurant
3150 State Route 350, Lebanon, OH 45036-9634+1 513-932-7680
Two Cities Pizza Company
202 W Main St, Mason, OH 45040-1882+1 513-770-0000
Travelers review: Best gluten free pizza in Ohio.
Dinner at the Golden Lamb.
Lebanon's #1 rated restaurant. Gluten free options.
The Christmas Ranch
3205 S Waynesville Rd, Morrow, OH 45152-8222
Drive thru light display - A Whimsical Place With 1 Million Dancing Christmas Lights Synchronized to Holiday MusicNight:
The Golden Lamb Inn -- $180
27 S Broadway St, Lebanon, OH 45036-1705
The Golden Lamb Inn offers a romantic environment alongside many helpful amenities designed to enhance your stay. Free wifi is offered to guests, and rooms at The Golden Lamb Bed Breakfast offer a flat screen TV and air conditioning. During your stay, take advantage of some of the amenities offered, including room service. Guests of Golden Lamb are also welcome to enjoy an on-site restaurant. For travelers arriving by car, free parking is available.
Traveler’s review: “The holidays are the perfect time to settle in for a wonderful old fashioned meal. Surrounds are perfect. Check out the 100+ old Christmas tree. The Charles Dickens Dinner is a family must. Christmas shopping in the basement store will surprise you with unusual gifts.”
Connect into day #4 above (which will now become Day #6 by driving 1 hr 30 min/95 mi from the Golden Lamb to Columbus.