Over Spring Break, I found myself in the small city of Yellow Springs, Ohio. It’s a good drive from Pittsburgh–about four hours–and is home to over 50 different small businesses that creates a welcoming atmosphere.
I drove my girlfriend, Marie, and her roommate, Robin, 20 minutes from their apartment and spent the breezy, warm day in the village. We made our way up and down every street, stopping into every shoebox-sized store that caught their eye.
The first place we stopped in was Dark Star Books, located on Xenia Avenue. Their selection ranged from Shakespeare to Sartre, comics and manga, even board games, shirts, and mugs… and that’s just scratching the surface. It’s also famous for their in-store mascot Mr. Eko, a domestic shorthair cat that “has been on a diet recently,” according to the store’s attendant.
Marie and Robin fawned over the cat in the front of the store as I snuck off to the back to peruse the aisles. Unfortunately, their science & technology section was lacking that day, comprised of three copies of Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” memoir, a handful of outdated BASIC programming manuals, and a picture book from National Geographic. Their science fiction section more than made up for it though, and Marie had to pry my hands off of a too-expensive Isaac Asimov collection.
Our next stop was The Winds Cafe & Bakery, which was decided after much grumbling about being hungry.
The Winds offered a cozy atmosphere while keeping an upscale vibe. Art created by local artists adorned the walls, and wooden dividers separated the tables for a little privacy. The three of us ordered a different dish from the limited menu: a fresh hot tea and “Organic Sandwich Version II” for Robin, iced tea and a Spanish Bocadillo for Marie, and a mocha coffee and a grilled flat-iron steak with Maitre’d Butter for myself. All of us were more than satisfied, and we took our time debating on the last place we would visit for the day.
Finally deciding on a store, we hopped across the street to House of Ravenwood, a pagan metaphysical shop that sells what seems like everything under the sun.
We weren’t able to spend long in the dimly lit shop, but I enjoyed every moment of it. I didn’t see many pieces for the Ásatrú or Kemetic pantheons or anything new to add to my shrine at home, but that doesn’t mean there was a lack of variety.
Most of the items being sold were attuned toward Wiccan paganism, as well as tarot cards and crystals. There were some statues and pieces of jewelry that caught my eye, but I decided to hold onto my wallet.
We were only able to spend a few hours in Yellow Springs, but I can’t wait to go back.