Girlfriend Getaway: History, food, one-of-a-kind shops in Oakwood

Miami Valley filled with charming, walkable towns.

If you’re looking for a fun day of shopping and dining with friends, you don’t have to go far.

The Miami Valley is filled with charming walkable towns, their streets lined with locally owned small businesses offering the kind of customer service and carefully curated items you won’t find in a big-box store.

Once a month, the Dayton Daily News will take you to one of these communities, to inspire you to hit the road, the streets and the shops in our own region.

Today, we’re going to Oakwood, a Dayton suburb known for its gorgeous homes, from quaint cottages to magnificent mansions.

Where to shop

The main shopping area in Oakwood is along Far Hills Avenue between East Drive and Peach Orchard Avenue. There you’ll find one-of-a-kind local shops as well as specialty chain stores, offering everything from couture to thrift finds. Here are a few highlights:

Blue Turtle Toys: Independent toy stores are rare today, but Blue Turtle Toys in Oakwood is celebrating its 25th year. Cathy Tapogna bought the store in 2017 from the original owners and has maintained its unique charm and renowned customer service.

At Blue Turtle, you’ll find toys and gifts not available in most chain stores, including some made in the Dayton area as well as hard-to-find brands from France, Germany, Spain, Ukraine, England and Australia. “Here I feel like we’ve handpicked things so it’s not so overwhelming,” Tapogna says. Blue Turtle still offers free gift wrapping.

Blue Turtle is one of only three stores in Ohio that sells Charlie Bears, a collection of stuffed animals handmade in England. Only a limited number are created each year. Blue Turtle’s stock of Charlie Bears includes the very limited Wilbur and Orville Wright bears.

Info: Blue Turtle Toys

2314 Far Hills Ave.


Shoppe Smitten: Shoppe Smitten is a family-owned boutique with a simple philosophy: “We only sell what we love and believe in.” Owner Leslie Moss originally opened the store in Springboro but has been in the Shops of Oakwood since 2022.

Shoppe Smitten carries clothing, jewelry, accessories, apothecary items, home décor and gifts. Some items are made by local makers, including Rebecca Noel’s multimedia and nature-inspired jewelry, and the “Dayton, O” line, a collaboration between Shoppe Smitten and Bogg Ministries.

Shoppe Smitten is not only a shopping destination. It also hosts events. Upcoming events include Friday Fest, featuring local vendors selling charcuterie boxes, gluten-free baked goods, herbal elixirs, gourmet soft pretzels, espresso drinks, permanent jewelry and stained glass art. Friday Fest is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays in April and May.

Info: Shoppe Smitten

2316 Far Hills Ave.

Morning Sun Florist: Morning Sun Florist is known for its exquisite floral arrangements, but stepping into the Oakwood store is so much more: polished antique furniture; luscious ferns and houseplants; hand-forged iron and glass home accessories; collage art; stoneware ceramics; and incredible beaded nature-inspired jewelry.

Darla Hiser opened Morning Sun in 1989 in Tipp City. It moved to Centerville in 2001 and relocated to Oakwood in 2018. Hiser handpicks each item in the shop — even the plants and flowers — with the goal of creating a one-of-a-kind experience for shoppers.

Info: Morning Sun Florist

2411 Far Hills Ave.


Other stores in the Far Hills shopping district include Indie West, carrying boutique brands for men, women and children; Maraluna, featuring ethical and sustainable items; Wild Poppy and Get Dressed Boutique, both offering upscale fashion; Studio 77 for unique home goods; A Spicy Olive for flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars; and the Oakwood Florist. You’ll also find chain stores Chico’s, Talbots and even Goodwill, as well as by-appointment only stationery, bridal and couture shops. Just a few miles down the road is The Little Exchange, a nonprofit gift shop.

You can also book an appointment for an indulgent French-inspired skin treatment at La De Da Salon and get an eye exam and new pair of imaginative glasses at Eye 1.

Where to eat

Breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner — even afternoon tea — is served in the Oakwood shopping district. Highlights include:

  • Central Perc European Café: The menu includes the Full English Breakfast, sandwiches and baked goods, Afternoon Tea as you’d enjoy it in the U.K. and every kind of tea imaginable. Chances are you’ll be greeted by the owners themselves with their cheery English accent. Note: Central Perc only takes cash.

  • Flyboys Deli: Salads, soups, pizzas and sandwiches are served in this aviation- and Dayton-themed deli. A rooftop bar overlooks the Oakwood shops. Flyboys opened in 2013 and is owned by a retired Air Force colonel and his wife, an East Coast deli expert.

  • The Oakwood Club: If you’re staying for dinner, The Oakwood Club is the place for steaks, fresh seafood, fine wine and old-school fine dining atmosphere. Or, just grab a cocktail at the wood-paneled bar. Note: The bar opens at 4 p.m. and dinner is served starting at 4:30 p.m.

  • Dorothy Lane Market: At the far southern end of the shopping district is Dorothy Lane Market, affectionately called DLM by locals. It’s a must-stop for foodie shopping, and you can also order coffee, sandwiches and salads to eat in-store. Or, pick up some gourmet take-out food to share with the family when you get home.
  • Other places to eat and drink include Starbucks, Tropical Smoothie Café and Graeters Ice Cream. A few miles down the street is Ashley’s Pastry Shop, a renowned family-owned bakery.
Things to do in Oakwood
  • Oakwood Farmers’ Market: Open Saturdays June 3-Oct. 14, the market at 22 Orchard Drive features fresh produce, meats, breads and bakery items plus handmade goods and food trucks.
  • Hawthorne Hill: Orville Wright’s mansion completed in 1914, the Classical Revival style home is now owned by Dayton History. Public tours are on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Go to for tickets and information.
  • Wright Memorial Library: Built in 1939, the library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s still in use and has maintained its original character.
  • Schantz Park Historic District: This garden-like neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can find a self-guided walking tour at
  • Hills and Dales MetroPark: Straddling Kettering and Oakwood, this woodland MetroPark features hiking trails, picnic areas and monuments.

Jana Collier is a longtime area journalist. Her blog,, features nostalgic recipes, small-town travel and offbeat DIY projects.

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