Jeffrey and I rode our bicycles, lightly packed for an overnight, in search of handmade to the town of Troy, Ohio. The cycling was gorgeous as we moved alongside the river on the Great Miami River Recreational Trail. A thirty mile ride almost entirely on the bike path. I love a short trip that has all the markers of vacation with none of the hassles of long drives and heavy suitcases. Our trip nailed it. I’m excited to share our little adventure with you.

The Stay.

We stayed at The Charlotte bed and breakfast, a turn of the century Colonial Revival home. The owners Terri and Loraine are five star hosts and the Charlotte is located in the heart of historic Troy. An easy walk from the house to nearly any in town destination. Their house and our room was beautifully decorated, comfortable, cool and clean. I slept nine hours solid! Loraine made one of the best breakfasts I have ever had. Waking up to the wonderful smell of quiche, fried green tomatoes with bacon jam and endless coffee was a magnificent start to our day. I recommend a stay here for anyone in need of a clean and pampered get away that doesn’t want to spend a bunch of time getting to a destination. The Charlotte is a superb place to collect down time and the hosts are so welcoming and they really understand and love people. Having a home spot like this made the rest of our adventure possible.

The Coffee.

We drink a bit of coffee! If you are into independent coffee shops Purebread Coffee is a definite destination. I love indie coffee shops because they are all decorated with personality from the owners, the coffee is mostly wonderful and they tend to have local treats! We met Noah, an owner, on our second trip in for coffee. Noah keeps a crisp and clean shop with a focus on flavor and brewing method. Jeffrey recommends the yama tower, an overnight cold brewed coffee with a serious punch and a deep intense flavor profile without the bitterness. Baked goods were crafted by Farmhouse Bakery a farm to table bakery here in Troy. The handmade pop tart in the last picture was flaky and delicious.


 Basil’s on the Market was just around the corner from where we were staying. Honestly, everything was just around the corner from where we were staying. I ordered the Friday special at Basil’s, a bone-in pork chop with mango salsa and seasonal veggies. I could not resist dessert. Peanut Butter Mudslide, YUMMY!

The Town.

After dinner we toured the square. Troy has built one of those highly effective roundabouts with a fountain and beautiful landscaping in the center. We trekked up and down every street and explored all the corner nooks while window shopping and watching the hustle of the night life. These recessed corners with shops and restaurants make the large square a delight to wander around. I was in awe with Troy’s amazing architecture. There is so much historical charm and character in this town. I took a crash course in American architecture on my phone to learn what some of the building styles were. We also found two maker spaces, a yarn shop, a shoe repair shop, a 1950s vintage hair salon and a vintage movie theater that plays old movies. Troy is also on the river which is another romanic spot to sit and relax.



There were a lot of cool places to shop. Troy has everything from a bike shop to furniture and antique shops to shoe repair. We were only in town for 24 hours so we picked one that was focused on handmade. Pashamama is a certified fair trade shop packed full of handcrafted items. I couldn’t fit much on Jeffrey’s bike for the ride home and yet I had saved some of my money specifically to shop here. I wanted so much. Being in the handmade market I have a monumental appreciation for people getting treated fairly and getting paid. I bought my bff a pair of eco friendly socks and got myself a pair of flashy earrings. The panniers would still zip shut for the ride home this time.

Sewing, Fashion and a Step Back in Time.

Julia Sutherly, a long time clothing collector and a partner of Sycamore Spring Clothier , came to The Charlotte and gave me a full introduction to the authentic historical period clothing her business creates. This was surely the highlight of my handmade trip. I got to pick her brain for almost two hours. After talking with Julia I know she is fully knowledgable and super passionate about what she loves to do. I have a huge appreciation for her and the work but I am saving the details. I will feature Julia and Sycamore Spring Clothier in a stand alone blog in 2019. Stay tuned.

More Time Travel.

We were fortunate enough to get a full tour of the Overfield Tavern Museum in Troy. The museum is a fully-restored, 1808 log tavern that continues to stand on its original plot of ground near the Great Miami River and just off the square. The place has an amazing collection of historic artifacts, including clothing and textiles, that date to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. When I walked in the small cozy tavern I could smell 200 year old wood fire smoke and I felt like I had stepped back in time. We got to see some early American textiles and textile tools here. It was quite a treat and calling the tour informative doesn’t do it justice.

Our tour guide, Terry Purke, is a walking encyclopedia of history. That is what everyone in town told us when we mentioned his name and now I’m telling you because it’s true. I learned new terms like Dog Run, Girdling trees and what it meant to the early colonizers to “Fort-up.” Terry covered all the history immensely well. I enjoyed and appreciated all of his knowledge. He kept the facts fun and spun some stories that really gave insight into the time period. Can you believe he holds history in his brain for multiple museums in town? I’m not sure how he does it!

In the end it was tough getting back on the trail home. Everyone was excited to chat and show me something we missed. Troy is truly a rich city in Ohio and our trip was a delight. I am genuinely thankful for the connections and new friendships I have made here. Thank you! everyone that took time out of your schedule to meet, share and let me be a part of your story. You have enriched my story because of it and made the world a better place to live in.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!