What To Do At: Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Dayton, Ohio

Updated on August 1, 2022, to reflect almost a year of living in Ohio.

Ohio is a move that has been a long time coming. Ever since Dave was accepted into FA52, we knew we would eventually end up here for him to go through grad school. I was very sad to leave my family and friends in Virginia, but so far Ohio has been very good to us. It’s our favorite assignment so far, and we are hoping to extend and stay an extra year or so.

Where to live off post: Everyone you talk to will recommend Centerville or Beavercreek for the top-rated schools. Now, be aware, these areas often come with significantly higher taxes, but the tax increase is reflected in the townships. We chose to build in Centerville, in a community called Bridle Creek Ranch. It is definitely the nicest area we have ever lived in. It’s a beautiful community, the people are warm and welcoming, and there are many cool things to do within walking distance or a short drive. The only downside so far is that the county (Montgomery) is a pain in the you-know-what when it comes to building permits. They have made building a simple deck into a small nightmare. But as long as you don’t have to build anything, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Where to eat: Ohio (and northern Kentucky) is a surprising gem for awesome food. Salar (a Peruvian restaurant in Dayton) is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to. The atmosphere is very upscale and classy, service is top-notch, and every single menu item we ordered was out of this world. For wings we like Warped Wing, for tacos we like Condado Taco, for pizza we like Scratch Kitchen, for chili we like Archers Tavern. We also have Lovely’s Farm Market which is great for fried chicken and homemade pastries (plus their old-time general store with childhood favorites and produce picked fresh from their fields). We have also been spending a lot of time in Covington, Kentucky (about an hour away), and Rich’s Proper Food and Drink has some grilled oysters that might actually beat out anything we had in New Orleans. Del Gardo’s Cannoli is super authentic, and Libby’s Southern Comfort has great homestyle meals.

Local activities: When the weather is good, we love to hang out at Hidden Valley Orchard. HVO is pretty much an all-in-one activity central. An orchard where you can pick fresh fruit, a bakery, produce stand, cafe, bar, ice cream stand (with Dolewhips!), live music, lawn games, and activities for kids. It’s the perfect place to spend the evening with friends. We also got to explore the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum while we were attending the Truth Matters Conference, and they were both so very well done. We popped down to Louisville for a long weekend and had a great time staying at Hotel Distil and checking out all the different distilleries and tasting experiences. As a lover of trains, I highly recommend the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. It’s a little under two hours from Dayton and offers elegant dining train rides, interactive mystery experiences, and sunset tours. Glenmont, Ohio, offers a treehouse resort, which is obviously on my list of experiences. Ohio also has a bunch of random full-scale castles that seem pretty neat. Outside of the state, I plan on heading to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby (cheap seats are still fun seats!) and there is also an Ohio Amish country not too far from here.

Travel opportunities: Dayton is a pretty good spot in that there are many different options in every direction, within 1, 2, 3, and 4 hours. Columbus and Cincinnati are both an hour and some change. Living this far south in Ohio puts you close to the Kentucky border, and we have discovered the cutest little city called Covington, and Louisville isn’t too far from there. If you drive west, you can get to Indianapolis in just under two hours. To the east, you can reach Pittsburg in a little under four hours. Traveling north, you’ll be to either Cleveland or Ann Arbor in about three hours, and you can end up in Chicago in just under five. But really, once you visit northern Kentucky, you won’t feel the need to visit many other places.

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