Located roughly 30 miles east of Columbus, it’s within a couple hours’ drive from many parts of the state, but something about Granville makes a person feel like they're much farther away than that.
Like in New England, for example. (And rightly so: The original Granvillians were settlers from a Massachusetts town of the same name.)
One of the great things about Granville is that it has something to offer year-round, whether or not the college kids are in town.
In the winter months, after farmers markets across the state have shut down until spring or summer, Granville’s indoor Winter Farmers Market is in full swing every Saturday, with local vendors offering produce, meats, baked goods and crafts for anyone motivated enough to tolerate the winter weather and stop by.
For our family, it was a welcome excuse to get out of the house on a Saturday morning and do something different—plus we left with a great loaf of banana bread.
(It should be noted that the village also has a bustling farmers market downtown during the summer and fall months—not limited to winter!)
Along Broadway, Granville’s “main drag,” Denison students can be seen hanging out at the coffee shops, restaurants and galleries along with the townsfolk. A number of locally owned shops promise treasures ranging from hip baby clothes (Tickleberry Moon) to unique jewelry (Green Velvet) to books (Readers' Garden Bookstore).
Dining options are vast for such a relatively short stretch of road: There’s Mexican at Day y Noche; Italian comfort food at Bella; and a smorgasboard of pub fare and beyond at joints like Brews Cafe (which also has a regular lineup of live music) and Broadway Pub (not to mention to-die-for custard at Whit’s Frozen Custard).
We enjoyed a bite at the Broadway Pub: I opted for a veggie wrap with garlic hummus and stole a few fries from my husband; he chose a manly "Texas slaw" burger [shown below], and our three-year-old appeared to be a fan of the half of the cheeseburger she didn’t drop on the floor, as well as the applesauce.
There’s also more to Granville than just the main street: just south of town on River Road, a number of other eateries and shops are awaiting visitors’ perusal, including Snapshots Lounge, The Going Green Store and River Road Coffeehouse, which pours my most favorite cup o' joe in the county.
Also awaiting exploration are the historic Granville Inn and Buxton Inn, located right across from one another on Broadway. Beautiful inside and out, these two historic structures are worth a peek even if you have no plans to book a night there.
If you’re in the mood for some exercise, be sure to venture up the hill (literally) to stroll the campus of Denison University (notable alumni: Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner).
Don’t forget to check the college’s events calendar before you plan your visit. Free musical events frequently are held in the university’s impressive Swasey Chapel or Burke Recital Hall—most notably the upcoming Bluegrass Festival, which draws bluegrass talent from across the country and beyond.
Sure, it’s in the middle of Ohio in the dead of winter. But somehow, Granville manages to keep things enjoyable. Don’t miss out!