Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wooster, OH Makes a Picture Postcard College Town

Downtown Wooster and the Wayne County Court House
      Eric and I were first introduced to Wooster, OH when we met Cindy and Will there for dinner at South Street Market in 2006.  It was a memorable meal and in the center of downtown with its Beaux Arts Wayne County Court House.  I also recalled it as the home to a frenemy early in my career, before the term became popular.  I still got some chills when we visited Thomas and Rolland for a weekend there recently.

College of Wooster
      Probably known best as home to the Ohio Light Opera and the College of Wooster, the former is a summer repertory company founded by James Stuart that makes its home at the
college.  Their performances run from mid-June through Mid-August performing late 19th and early 20th centuries American and British musical theatre.

Alumni House
The College of Wooster is the other centerpiece in the town where some 2,000 students attend this private liberal arts school that is consistently ranked as one of the top in the nation.  We walked through the campus and it certainly lives up to its reputation with beautiful buildings spanning several periods of architecture. 

Secrest Arboretum
      At the edge of town was the Secrest Arboretum.  It's a working space for the adjacent The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute and Research and Development Center.  Wooster residents reap the benefits from their work together as the arboretum is ever-changing with expansions.  I was impressed with the multiple garden 

Skip and Letti's Water Garden
Beuhler Interlude Garden
areas meandering about a winding path introducing secluded areas along the way.  One of the newer areas included a long slide that leaves one at the bottom of the ravine for an uphill walk to rejoin the garden path.  Unfortunately, at the end of the slide was some collected rain water and we all ended up with wet bums!  I was particularly drawn to the amphitheater that was laid out in front of us on a hillside in ancient Roman fashion.  The seating had the appearance of large boulders placed at random, but upon a closer inspection were actually pre-formed concrete sections placed on different sides to achieve a more natural look.  With many events scheduled throughout the year, this outdoor park is well worth a visit even if there is nothing special happening.

John Streeter Garden Amphitheater
      We traveled back into town to explore some of the many shops.  The library was a newer Post Modern structure and provided restroom dryers for our still wet pants.  Thomas works for Hospice so our first stop was at their secondhand store, Friendtique, across the street.  We ventured into the Uptown Downtown Antique Store next door while Eric visited The Wooster Book Company complete with free coffee while browsing and a resident black cat.  If you're a fan of antiques, this is a town to supply many hours of shopping pleasure.  The new block of buildings where the Freelander Department Store once stood is a natural fit with the town architecturally, and almost fully completed to host 21st century businesses.

The Town Square
      Thomas, Rolland, and I had been to Broken Rocks Café and Bakery last year (reviewed on 7/9/2011), so I offered that as a suggestion for lunch.  I was remembering their exceptional cinnamon rolls.  Thomas mentioned a Hungarian bakery on the square so we decided to check it out.  Tulipán Hungarian Pastry & Coffee Shop (look for a later review) was our decision that day with its soups, crépes, and extensive selection of European baked goods.  What a jewel in the center of town.

Gallery in the Vault
     Around the corner was the Gallery in the Vault offering the works of several artists.  The tasteful and unique pieces were displayed throughout the converted bank building.  Across the square was Everything Rubbermaid, a leftover from the days when Rubbermaid was headquartered in Wooster.  It's in the old Annat's Department Store building and contains four floors of molded plastic containers.  

      I was still thinking about those cinnamon rolls so we made a stop at Broken Rocks.  Too late, they were all gone for the day.  Next time!

I miss the guys when they go away on the weekends!

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