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8 ways to eat, drink and adventure on the riverway this year

Recently I was speaking with Elizabeth Connor, Great Miami Riverway Coordinator, and asked her to share her favorite things to do along the river.

I thought the list she rattled off without skipping a beat was really interesting. It was comprehensive, incorporating everything you’d want to hit on during a day out — dining, drink and entertainment mixed with a healthy dose of exercise.

This list will get you to areas where you may discover new dining destinations that you may not have found otherwise. I can personally attest that her No. 1 recommendation is worth planning a visit to sometime this spring. It’s a delicious and fun throwback that will put a smile on your face.

Alternatively, this list offers you destinations with terrific picnic packing opportunities to enjoy some al fresco dining.

>> 7 sights built along the beautiful Great Miami River

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Here’s Connor’s list of eight things to do in 2018 in her words for Riverway activities to consider adding to your calendar as the weather warms:

1. Eat at The Spot. 

This Sidney landmark, in operation since 1907, has arguably the best pie in southwest Ohio. Don’t agree? We dare you to say that to a Sidney local. While their 1920s special of “28 burgers for $1.00” no longer exists, their famous burgers still make mouths water. Located next to a National Landmark building (designed by Louis Sullivan in 1917), you can’t miss the mid-century modern neon sign that still hangs over their front door at 201 South Ohio Street, Sidney.

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2. Ride in a WACO. Dayton’s aviation history isn’t only about the Wright brothers, although it obviously wouldn’t have been possible without them. The WACO Air Museum in Troy is a great place to learn about the origins of this famous airplane, and to sign up for your own ride in the open air cockpit. Between 1920 and 1947, the Waco Aircraft Company in Troy produced a large number of civilian biplanes. The planes were marketed to traveling businessmen, explorers, and postal services. Additionally, the company produced military gliders that were used during the Normandy Invasion and other large operations in WWII. www.wacoairmuseum.org/biplane-rides.html

>> 5 badass planes at the Air Force Museum

Gerhard Albinus provides muciscal entertainment inside Spoken Bicycles during the First Friday event Friday Feb. 2 in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF (Nick Graham)

3. Grab a beer at a bike shop. It’s not often that you can grab a beer while waiting on a tune-up for your bike. In Downtown Middletown at Spoken Bicycles, however, you can do just that. Located just a short ride off the Great Miami River Recreational Trail, it’s a great destination to hang out with fellow cyclists, catch up on ride tips, get some bike maintenance, or meet up with friends. www.spokenbicycles.com

>> This business promises bikes, gears AND craft beer

Alton Brown was in Dayton, Ohio for a show at the Schuster Center. PHOTO / @altonbrown Instagram

4. Find a mural and take a selfie. It’s 2018 and yes, we’re still doing selfies. Downtown Dayton has some great options, as do Franklin, Middletown, and Hamilton. Did you know that Alton Brown (Food Network) took a picture at the Dayton Inspires mural in the Oregon District? ⬆️

Don’t forget to use the tag #GreatMiamiRiverway. www.gettothebc.com/blog/post/mural-mural-wall

>> Some of the most beautifal murals in the region

The Great Miami Riverway passes Riverscape in downtown Dayton. Here a man takes advantage of the RiverScape river run area with his kayak Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016. MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF (Staff Writer)

5. Learn to kayak and run a rapid. The Great Miami River offers play areas right in downtown Dayton for experienced whitewater kayakers. Not feeling totally confident yet? There are numerous classes through park districts and outfitters to make sure you are prepared. We recommend having a local guide take you on your first few journeys. You can leave from Troy, West Carrollton or Middletown. Visit www.facebook.com/Jimcoproductions or https://greatmiami.net/river-trips-12 to get some ideas.

>> Where to paddle in Dayton

The Eldean covered bridge, built in 1860, still carries traffic across the Great Miami River in Troy, Ohio; April 25, 2016 (Dispatch photo by (Steve Stephens)) (Steve Stephens)

6. Visit a covered bridge. Eldean Bridge in Miami County was built in 1860 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The William Ross Covered Bridge in Sidney is located in Tawawa Park — not too far from “Big Rock,” a glacial rock left from the Ice Age. Visiting a covered bridge sounded like a better header than visiting a rock, but we’ll let you decide.

>> 15 must-see historic places in Dayton

7. Sample like a judge. Do you have what it takes to judge the best cupcake? Amy Cakes in Miamisburg made national news as a contestant on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Sample a few yourself and give them a rating. We’re pretty positive it will be five stars. www.loveamycakes.com

The "St. Louis of Dayton," a canal boat used to transport freight, travels the Miami and Erie Canal near Dayton. DAYTON METRO LIBRARY / MONTGOMERY COUNTY PICTURE FILE

8. Float on a canal boat. The only remaining canal boat on the Miami Erie Canal is located at the Johnston Farm and Indian Agency in Piqua. This Ohio History site will have you exploring 2,000 years of history from American Indian mounds to mid-19th century. Tour the restored Johnston home and try not to act too surprised when you see just how small the dresses are. www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator/johnston-farm-and-indian-agency

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