Novelty residents are the only people who call it that. When I tell people about where I grew up in Geauga county, they’re usually surprised, “There’s a place called Novelty?” An “east-sider short commute, west-sider long commute,” 20-minute drive to Middlefield saw the rolling hills turn to farmland. Growing up, it was a common destination, so when I moved out on my own, I was eager to create my own traditions surrounding the trip.
For Executive Arrangements’ 40th anniversary, I wanted to share my typical day in Middlefield. I try to make this a quarterly visit, and I often go on my own. This little escape from my regular routine helps me reset my mind, leaving me refreshed and full of new stories about my adventures.
Local tip: Do this trip on a Friday during the day if you can. Weekends are crowded!
Here’s my itinerary, which takes up about half my day:
Stop 1: Habitat for Humanity Restore
12180 Kinsman Rd. Newbury, OH 44065
I inherited most of my grandparents’ gorgeous wooden furniture. I love the vintage look (and the fond memories I get when I walk into my house). My first stop to supplement those items when I moved was Restore. The great thing about this shop (and any of the Habitat for Humanity stores) is that their inventory includes excess materials they got for the new houses they built in addition to donated items. They always have sales going on, too, which is a major plus.
Stop 2: Emmalee’s Second Time Around
12300 Kinsman Rd Newbury, Ohio 44065
When I wanted to juxtapose my furniture with new-to-me pieces, I visited Emma. The unique, retouched pieces add so much character to my house. I have a corner chair that’s custom-made from bedposts, a trunk I use as a table, and my most recent piece: a purple clawfoot chest. I painted my house in gray tones, which allowed me to match brighter pieces to them and not overwhelm visitors.
Stop 3: Sunrise Farm
13115 Kinsman Rd, Burton, OH 44021
I’ve written extensively about Sunrise Farm because it’s such a charming place. The view of the farm itself is worth the stop, but they also have a cute store with fresh produce, apple fritters, and all the tchotchkes you could ever want. It’s not big box store sample levels, but there are usually dips and snacks to try around the store as well.
Stop 4: Rothenbuhler Cheese Chalet
15815 Nauvoo Rd, Middlefield, OH 44062
I want to visit any store with “chalet” in its name. There are always a few cheese samples to try (and no wrong choices). They have fresh breads, cheeses, smokies, and more. My favorite cheese is the butter havarti and – speaking of butter – their fresh-churned butter is to die for.
Stop 5: Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen
14743 North State Street, Middlefield, OH 44062
Mary Yoder’s was a late addition to my quarterly trip. They usually have a rack of sale bakery items that you can munch on in addition to fresh-baked breads and their popular pies. It’s also a restaurant if you want to grab a bowl of soup to warm you up this winter. For those of you seeking out holiday gifts, there are plenty of stocking stuffers.
Stop 6: End of the Commons General Store
8719 OH-534, Mesopotamia, OH 44439
Watch out for buggies as you pull in to the General Store. This is my favorite stop because it brings back memories with my grandparents. It’s easy to feel like a kid again as soon as you pull the horseshoe door handle and dive into the penny candy section. They’ve expanded over the last few years with tons of new items, and the variety makes it ideal for young families on a day out. Grab a fry pie…it’s worth it! They also have bulk sesame sticks, pretzels, trail mixes, and other snacks to choose from. I spend the most time here, and I’m exhausted by the time I head home.
Local tip: The spices at the End of the Commons General Store are reasonably priced, which can be hard to find for chefs and home cooking enthusiasts!
The scenery on the drive is spectacular, and there are even more potential stops on the way (like Heritage Marketplace, Middlefield Original Cheese Co-op, and Coffee Corners) if you want to make it a full day — or a few days’ — journey. Geauga county and Trumbull county are homey places, so while you might not find cookie cutter hotels, you will find inns and bed and breakfasts for your stay.
What’s your favorite off-the-beaten path trip in Northeast Ohio?
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