Historic Troy offers a pleasant getaway

The city of Troy is making news this month with the Mumford & Sons Gentlemen of the Road Tour slated for Aug. 30-31. The popular English folk rock band is expected to attract a crowd of more than 30,000.

But although there’s certainly lots of action in Troy this summer, it’s also a terrific place to get away from it all and spend a quiet day with family or friends. If you haven’t visited for a while, you’ll find lots that’s new.

For starters, there’s the popular “Sculptures on the Square,” the 20 life-size cast bronze figures scattered throughout the center of town. Artist Seward Johnson has become famous for his “Celebrating the Familiar” series depicting everyday folks engaged in everyday activities.

You’ve probably bumped into some of these figures elsewhere — they’re now in prominent places throughout the country and around the world — but it’s hard to think of a spot they’d feel more at home than in an historic small town like Troy. The kids will love this exhibit and you’ll do a double-take when you suddenly realize that the man and woman standing next to you aren’t alive. You’ll have to touch some of the fabrics to believe they aren’t real.

The placement of the figures is terrific — in “Gotcha,” for example, a gardener is pruning an actual bush on the square. That particular sculpture is co-sponsored by Aka Pereyma, the well-known local Ukrainian folk artist known for her pysanky decorated eggs. Pereyma also created the colorful contemporary mural overlooking Prouty Plaza that was the inspiration for the new Sculptures on the Square logo. Pick up one of the “Sculptures on the Square” brochures for a map of the Johnson sculptures as well as a list of other outdoor sculptures in Troy and Miami County.

Museums Highlight History

The folks in Troy are understandably proud of their past — the frontier town was laid out in the early 1800s. One of the city’s treasures is the Overfield Tavern Museum at 201 E. Water St., once the center of Troy’s social and civic life.

The two-story log building built in 1808 has survived and was most recently renovated and re-opened to the public in 1996. Its eight rooms are filled with authentic 19th century furnishings and you’ll learn how it once served as a home, a tavern, and the spot where the court convened. Like the other museums in town, it has limited hours but dedicated volunteers — like curator Terry Purke who took us through. (Terry’s family has lived in Miami County since 1859). Even on the days and times that the museum isn’t officially open, someone is always happy to make special arrangements to meet you and give you a tour. And it’s all free. Official hours are 1-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday from April through October. Call (937) 335-4019 or check out ww.overfieldtavernmuseum.com

Terry and his wife, Karen, also offer a program entitled “Have History Will Travel.” They’ll dress up in costumes from the past and create an historic program for your group. Call (937) 216-0949.

Right across the street is the Museum of Troy History at 124 E. Water St. Located in a restored pre-Civil War home, the house tells the story of Troy from 1850 to the present. Adults will find it wonderfully nostalgic, youngsters will learn about items from the past and how they were used. There’s a kitchen from the 1930s, a parlor furnished from 1890. One of the rooms showcases items from businesses associated with Troy like the Sunshade Company, Hobart Cabinet, Tip-Top Potato Chips, Buggy Works. It’s open from 2-4 on Saturday and Sunday from April through October and can also be visited by appointment. Call (937) 216-6925 or visit www.museumoftroyhistory.org

The Miami Valley Veterans Museum is located on the second floor of the Masonic Temple, 107 W. Main St. Here the history of Troy is told through veterans like Steve Skinner, who served in Vietnam. The journey begins with the French and Indian and the Revolutionary Wars. On view are uniforms from the War of 1812 and the Civil War, memorabilia from World War I, ration books and dog tags from World War II. The museum is open from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for children under 17, free for veterans. Call (937) 451-1455 or see www.theyshallnotbeforgotten.org

The Troy-Hayner Cultural Center is one of Troy’s most popular attractions, known for the wide variety of art exhibits that are regularly scheduled in the beautiful old home at 301 W. Main St. At the moment, it’s featuring “Uncommon Grace: The Artistry of Bill Danzig, Rusty Harden & Doug McLarty.”

In addition to art exhibits, the building hosts free performing arts events year-round, outdoor concerts in the summer, classes and workshops. What you may not know is that one of the rooms in the mansion — the former dining room — houses The Hayner Distillery Collection, memorabilia related to the landmark business in Troy’s history.

Admission is free. Call (937) 339-0457 or visit www.troyhaynercenter. org for additional information and hours.

Time for shopping

The hot-off-the- press “Downtown Troy Shopping Guide” contains a brief description of stores in town and their addresses. Parking in the square (no meters) is free, limited to two hours and enforced. There is public metered parking in parking lots just off the square — there you can park up to 10 hours at 10 cents an hour. There are no parking restrictions or metered fees after 6 p.m. on weekdays and no restrictions or metered fees on Saturdays and Sundays.

One of the advantages of shopping in a small town, of course, is that many of the stores are family-owned and operated. You’ll find clerks happy to take the time to chat and many are anxious to share personal stories about a town they love.

We can’t begin to list all of the shops in Troy, but here’s a sampling:

Don’t miss The Olive Oasis, a family-owned business that features a beautiful (and tasty) display of 18 extra virgin olive oils and 30 balsamic vinegars (7 E. Main St.) You’ll learn a lot about oils and vinegars from proprietor Lucas Schlumpf — many of his offerings come from other parts of the country and the world. You’re encouraged to dip bread and taste; each product is described.

Bottle No. 121, 121 Public Square, features wines on one floor, 197 styles of craft beers on another. Winan’s Chocolates & Coffee is always a favorite. The shop has gotten into the spirit of the upcoming concert by selling a T-shirt welcoming Mumford & Sons to town.

Bargain hunters will get lost in the Savvy Squirrel, an upscale consignment boutique at 1 E. Main St. run by Cherry Murwin. It’s beautifully organized and huge — 4,000 square feet — and now includes a men’s section on the second floor. The shop carries women’s apparel, shoes, handbags, and has plus sizes, juniors, maternity. There’s also a section of home accessories and a clearance room with additional mark-downs. You may want to get a group of friends together and sign up for one of the periodic shopping brunches.

Three Weird Sisters opened in March at 5 E. Main St. and is an eclectic mix of furniture and collectibles.

Another terrific resale shop is “Say Love,” at 101 S. Market St. This one is for the kids and — in addition to clothing — also includes equipment, toys and maternity.

Eco-friendly cloth diapers for kids are sold at samorzrejme, 123 S. Market St. The name comes from the Slovak word for “naturally, of course.” In addition to the diapers, you’ll find natural and handmade toys and Barefoot Books.

Galleries and Home Decor

A pretty new artist co-op fine art gallery called “The Art Vault Gallery” is located at 2 E. Main St. and sells a wide variety of art created by 33 different artists. You’ll find photography, paintings and drawings, silk scarves. Nearby is David Fair on the Square, a high end consignment shop that features an extensive selection of vintage and new home furnishings and accessories. It’s at 301 Public Square and designer David Fair is a Troy native who has been in the design business for 27 years.

Owner Lisa Bauer has big plans for the Mayflower Arts Center, located in the former movie theater at 11 W. Main St. On the day we visited, kids were enjoying a summer camp art experience, upstairs is an art gallery and Bauer is planning to include studio space and show films here as well.

Amish Country Furniture is a Troy tradition; the traditional country furnishings are hand-crafted by 30 different craftspeople and created to be passed down through the generations. The store, owned by Barbara Williams, is now at 15 S. Market St.

A meal, a snack

There’s also a new Downtown Troy Dining Guide that includes a map of the town and a list of restaurants. K’s Hamburger Shop has been around since 1935 and serves breakfast all day. If you want to experience an American diner at its best, it’s the place to try.(117 E. Main St.) Note that it accepts cash or checks only.

If you’d like to sit on the square and enjoy the view of the fountain, consider La Piazza, 2 N. Market St., for Italian far or The Caroline, 5 S. Market, for classic American cuisine. The Bakehouse Bread & Cookie Co, 317 Public Square, is known for its artisan breads and pastries, and also serves sandwiches and soups at lunchtime.

Another option is the newish MoJo’s Bar & Grill (109 E. Main St.), a lively and attractive spot that’s open for breakfast and brunch on Saturday and from 11 a.m. until midnight on Sunday.

You’ll find the shopping, restaurant and sculpture brochures at most downtown businesses. Troy is also known for its Saturday morning farmers market and free outdoor summer concerts. Best to check specific hours and days before coming to town, some shops are closed on Sundays and Mondays. For more information, visit www.TroyMainStreet.org

For our brief tour of Troy on the web, visit mydaytondailynews.com

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