Visual treats abound in Butler County.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Donuts are on the menu in Butler County, Ohio, home to the nation’s first Donut Trail.
That gives you an easy dozen reasons to visit, since 12 mom-and-pop sweet shops comprise that sweet trail.
What surprised us most about Butler County, however, were all the visual treats throughout the county and especially in Hamilton, the county seat.
From murals to sculptures, historic architecture to modern designs—not to mention the natural beauty of the Great Miami River—simply looking around Hamilton offered treats for the eyes. Among our favorite discoveries…
Several murals are painted on the sides of buildings, though our favorite features a guy eating donuts because, of course, donuts.
The city boasts many statues. My all-time favorite is “The American Cape” by Kristen Visbal. A tribute to Alexander Hamilton, for whom the City of Hamilton is named—in case you’ve forgotten and haven’t seen the musical, Hamilton is the dude on the $10 bill who was Secretary of the Treasure in President George Washington’s cabinet—this is a truly fantastic, impressive work of art. It’s currently sitting on High Street, which is the main drag through town, between the lanes of traffic. It’s a weird spot: while on the one hand it’s great that so many people get to see this statue every day, it’s a shame they’re whizzing by in their cars at the time. This statue deserves to sit in a park where people can safely admire its stunning details, including the folds in the wind-blown cape.
Another statue depicts a boy playing a harmonica while his dog eagerly follows behind. At certain angles, though, you might easily assume it’s a statue of a kid eating a donut…which is understandable.
The “Legacy of Literature” statue by Rosalind Cook is dedicated to all children in their search for enjoyment and knowledge through reading. Statue kids are the best kind since they never make a sound. Seriously, though, everybody should read literature and legitimate news sources.
The “Soldiers, Sailors, and Pioneers Monument” built in 1899 is near the center of Fort Hamilton, which was built in 1791. It features two windows that recognize the contributions of Butler County women during the Civil War.
“A Pioneer Family” presents the Stewart family, who arrived in Butler County in 1802; their descendants continue to call the place home to this day.
Inside Out Studio provides a supportive studio environment for artists with developmental disabilities and recently opened a retail store to showcase and sell their works. Buy what grabs your eye and the heartwarming part is free.
Even simple benches in Hamilton get an artsy treatment.
Elsewhere in Butler County…
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum is home to more than 60 sculptures. Tour them by walking or driving the 300 acres of trees, meadows and rolling hillsides that house the works of art. You can drive your own vehicle, but it’s more fun to hop in a golf cart—Pyramid Hill claims to be “the only museum in the world where you can drive an art cart to see the exhibits!” On site there’s also an Ancient Sculpture Museum that houses Greek, Roman, Syrian, Egyptian and Etruscan pieces dating to 1550 B.C., plus also hosts exhibitions by local, regional and national artists.
Shop for regional products at Celebrate Local Ohio, in Liberty Center. An eye-popping assortment of art, food, housewares, T-shirts, beer and more stocks the shelves of this browse- and buy-worthy place.
Where To Stay…
Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton
1 Riverfront Plaza
Hamilton OH 45011
Friendly service, convenient location a short walk from the city’s main street, an on-site restaurant, and all the amenities to expect from the brand. Odds of Encountering Children: Moderate; I saw none during my recent three-night weekend stay.
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.