Fall is upon us, which means America’s college towns are springing to life. Few college towns are livelier than Athens, home to Ohio University. While OU perennially ranks among the top party schools in the country, there is much more to Athens than beer pong and keggers. Below are just a few of the many activities that you can enjoy in this laidback academic enclave.
Tucked into the Appalachian foothills, Athens is as mountainous as it gets here in the Buckeye State, and there is no better time to experience its wooded beauty than autumn. For your fall foliage and covered bridge fix, head into nearby Wayne National Forest—the only national forest in Ohio. The forests’ 300+ miles of trails are open until December 15th.
ENJOY UNIQUE COFFEE SHOPS
Independent coffee shops occupy a sacred space in campus life, and Donkey Coffee is Athens’ basilica. Donkey Coffee is a cozy, welcoming spot for organic, fresh, and fair trade coffee as well as pastries. More than just a quick caffeine fix, Donkey Coffee is also a performance space that hosts musicians, poetry readings, and live comedy. If you are looking to tap into the local creative scene, this is the place to do it.
If you live in the Tristate and you’re into craft beer, you know Jackie O’s. In Athens, you can drink this goodness from the source. This massive microbrewery has a taproom for those looking to sip some suds and a brewpub for those seeking a little comfort food with their pints. And, as you might expect, Jackie O’s doesn’t serve your typical pub grub. The brewpub serves creative takes on classic bar food, such as Rueben egg rolls and beer battered cheese curds.
ENJOY DELICIOUS MEXICAN FOOD
Casa Nueva is a worker-owned cooperative restaurant and bar that has been serving fresh, sustainable, locally-sourced, and crave-worthy Mexican food to Athens residents (Athenians?) since 1985. Casa Nueva is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it serves creative libations into the wee hours of the morning. And since nothing helps a craft margarita go down like a good live show, Casa Nueva is also a performance venue, hosting musical acts most nights.
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There you have it, folks. Now you just need to find a free weekend and head to Athens.