5.3K Flares 5.3K Flares ×

The counterculture movement is alive and well in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

This hippie-minded village in Southwest Ohio has always sort of fascinated me, ever since I first visited it during my college years. It’s colorful — often to the point of garishness — exterior drew me in, and its liberal undertones kept me interested.

What can I say? I think I’m a hippie at heart.

Yellow Springs, Ohio

Yellow Springs was founded in 1825 by about 100 families who were followers of Welsh social reformer Robert Owen. Their goal was to turn Yellow Springs into the sort of utopian community already in place in New Harmony, Indiana. However, internal conflicts between the families tore any dreams of utopia apart.

In 1846, the Little Miami Railway was completed, bringing more business, inhabitants and tourism to Yellow Springs. And so the town began to emerge in a different fashion than intended.

Yellow Springs, Ohio

Despite the whole utopian thing not working out, Yellow Springs has always been a bit artsy, and more than a bit open-minded. The town was one of the final stops on the Underground Railroad, and has a long history of racial tolerance. And, in 1979, Yellow Springs was the smallest municipality in the U.S. to pass legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

And Yellow Springs’ free-spirited history is reflected in its many store fronts, eateries and inhabitants. Bright colors adorn most buildings. Many cafes serve only locally-grown food. And don’t be surprised to see a barefooted busker or two out on the sidewalks.

Yellow Springs, Ohio

Yellow Springs, Ohio

….

Some of my favorite things about Yellow Springs?

.

The sweaters that telephone poles and trees wear year-round.

Yellow Springs, Ohio

All the colorful doors.

Yellow Springs, OhioYellow Springs, Ohio

Yellow Springs, Ohio

Yellow Springs, OhioYellow Springs, Ohio

Yellow Springs, Ohio

Yellow Springs,Yellow Springs, Ohio

 

The comic shop/used book store where books are organized haphazardly on shelves and the floor with hand-written signs.

Yellow Springs,

Salt water taffy — lots of it.

Yellow Springs, OhioYellow Springs, Ohio

 

Specialty stores like the tie-dye shop, or the import stores that sell items from far-off places like Tibet and Peru.

Yellow Springs, Ohio

Yellow Springs, Ohio

The Winds Cafe and Bakery, which only uses fresh, locally-grown ingredients.

The Winds, Yellow Springs

The Winds, Yellow SpringsThe Winds, Yellow Springs

The Winds, Yellow Springs

.

Yes, Yellow Springs is a special place. (So special, in fact, that Dave Chappelle even calls it home.) And it’s definitely worth visiting if ever you find yourself in Southwest Ohio.

——

Have you ever been to Yellow Springs, or to any similar hippie-infused town around the world?

Opt In Image
Did you enjoy this article?
Subscribe for updates!

Sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter to get plenty more updates, photos, tips, and adventurous stories delivered to your inbox each month!

No spam, I promise.

Share →
Buffer

67 Responses to A Day in Yellow Springs – Ohio’s Hippie Enclave

  1. Chris says:

    I love hippie towns! Flagstaff in Arizona was really cute for the same reasons, but had a real old time feel and a little less color.

    Australia is full of them too. Did you make it to Byron Bay while you were here? Or Nimbin or Bellingen? Great hippie towns!

    Kuranda up near Cairns probably takes the cake on the Aussie front though.

    P.S. That lunch looks amazing!
    Chris recently posted..The Country Charms of Armidale

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Ooo, good to know about Flagstaff. I’ll be there soon!

      And no, sadly I only made it to Sydney and Perth when I was in OZ (my uncle lives in Perth, so I went to visit him for about a week). But I hope to go back someday, and maybe visit a few of those towns you listed! They sound awesome.

      P.S. – The food was amazing!

  2. Kensean says:

    Ahhhh, LOVE Yellow Springs. I’m lucky enough to live about 40 minutes east of it. There was no mention of Glen Helen, the park in Yellow Springs which is absolutely GORGEOUS. Plus HaHa Pizza is wonderful. OH. And no mention of the fact that Dave Chappelle lives there?! Still a wonderful article. Yellow Springs is lovely.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hey Kensean, thanks for reading!

      Unfortunately, I couldn’t cover everything in this post; I just concentrated on the 2 main streets in town. And I’ve never tried HaHa Pizza, though I’ve heard it’s delicious! Maybe next time. :) The Winds was great, though!

      Maybe I’ll find a way to work Dave Chappelle in… ;)

  3. Marsha says:

    I simply adore quaint, hippie towns! This one definitely seems worth a visit, if not for the sweater-clad telephone poles alone.
    Marsha recently posted..Flirting, Food, and A View From The Top in Brussels

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I got really excited every time I saw something wearing a “sweater.” Haha. Telephone poles, trees, stop signs… these crocheted wonders were everywhere! I really should try to figure out why they’re there…

      But yes, if you enjoy little hippie towns, you’d love this one!

      • jafagirls says:

        Our website yarnbombing page explains why there is all the yarnbombing. The photo you took of the telegraph pole is by jafalass Karen and she calls it Karma Corner :) Just recently several people in Yellow Springs participated in international yarnbombing day july 11th :)

  4. Leslie says:

    I didn’t know Ohio and a cute, artsy hippie village! It looks adorable. I have to ask, what is that object on the toast in your food photo? Is it eggs benedict, with all but the yolk cut out of the egg? Or butter? I’m intrigued!
    Leslie recently posted..Review: ‘Art in the Streets’ exhibit at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles (photos)

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yes, Ohio does in fact have a cute, artsy hippie village! And I kind of love it. Lol.

      And that stuff on the toast is actually cheese! It’s called d’Affinois triple cream cheese, and it spread almost like butter on that toasted bread. Mmmm.

  5. Scott says:

    Went to school in Dayton for several years and never made it over here even though I constantly heard about it. So, I finally got to see what it looks like, thanks!
    Scott recently posted..Mexico Is A Really Dangerous Place According to Some Guy Who Has Never Been There

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Bummer that you never made it out there! It’s such a fun place to roam around for an afternoon. I actually could have stayed much longer, but all the shops closed up at 6 p.m., so my friend and I had to cut our adventure short.

  6. Annie says:

    It looks like such a cool place, and I never really thought I would say that about Ohio (but I’ve never been there so how can I know?).

    I love the colors. And, thanks to my Mom, I’m totally a hippie at heart too!
    Annie recently posted..Ballard Locks: The Most Famous Tourist Attraction in Seattle

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha, yes, Ohio can actually be cool once in a while! ;)

      The colors are so fun there. I was snapping photos every few feet. Hopefully my friend didn’t mind! And, I blame my mother for my hippie tendencies, too…. ;)

  7. I love Yellow Springs. Many years ago, my family went there for my birthday. We ate at Winds, and then I think we went to Young’s Dairy (pretty sure that’s close by) for some ice cream.
    The Travel Chica recently posted..Russian Cocaine in Buenos Aires?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      The Winds was sooooo good. And yes, Youngs Dairy is indeed close by. We had actually talked about going there, but then we decided to get dessert at Winds instead. So tasty!

  8. Tracey Garteiz says:

    My family and I are from Cincinnati and started visiting Yellow Springs about a year ago. Every time we visit we love it more, and have decided we are aiming to call it home. I was astonished to find such a warm welcoming open place in Ohio. I have lived in Cincinnati all of my life and only a little more than an hour away is the dream community I have been trying to find. We visit so often it’s a joke among my friends, and I’m planning my 50th Birthday celebration guess where, Yellow Springs during the October Street Fair. Hopefully we will be able to move there within a year or so. I can’t wait, to be part of this community!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      That’s so great that you’re planning a move there! I think it would be a fun place to call home. And it’s great that it’s so small, yet close to many big cities! Perfect.

  9. Robin Pitstick says:

    My husbands family is from here. We now live in NC, but go visit family yearly. Yellow Springs is so laid back friendly. You just get a good vibe being there. Also there is Glen Helen. Where the natural springs can be found along with trails and waterfalls. Its beautiful.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I agree that you just get a good vibe from Yellow Springs – it’s so true! It’s such a laid-back, happy town from what I’ve experienced.

      I really need to make it to Glen Helen next time – I’ve heard so many great things, but have never been beyond downtown YS.

  10. Randi says:

    I love Yellow Springs so much that 2 months ago, I packed up my husband and baby and moved from Los Angeles!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Wow! Yes, you must really love it! That’s awesome though. I hope it’s living up to all your expectations!

  11. I love the telephone pole sweaters. I have been to New Harmony, Indiana, and I was not a big fan. This town looks much more interesting.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Photos of the week: Wat Aran Temple in Bangkok

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I just found out the sweaters are part of a movement called “yarnbombing” – how cool is that?? Lol.

      And I don’t know much about New Harmony… but it’s good to know that Yellow Springs looks more interesting! You should check it out someday if you ever have the chance.

  12. Hairwrapshick says:

    Yellow Springs has been in my life ever since I started to drive. Love the Village itself and all of it’s surroundings. Have had many wonderful adventures there. My daughter also attended Antioch College. What an eye opening experience that was!!!!!!!!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yes, I’m sure going to Antioch would be really interesting!! It’s great to see so many others sharing their love for Yellow Springs. :)

  13. Thanks for featuring our wonderful little village. It’s a fabulous place to visit and even more fabulous place to live! Can’t imagine living anywhere else!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      My pleasure, Johanna! I’ve actually wanted to visit again for a while now so that I could blog about it, and I’m so glad I finally was able to!

  14. I have never heard of Yellow Springs but now that you’ve introduced us it does look quite nice. Reminds me of San Francisco and a lot of the beach communities in Northern California! If I get back that way I will definitely drop by.
    Debbie Beardsley recently posted..Classic and Powerful: Neoclassical Architecture

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yellow Springs may not be close to the ocean, but yes, it does kind of have that vibe. Definitely work it into your plan if ever you’re in this part of Ohio!

  15. Toni says:

    Hope you don’t mind Amanda but I’m just going to jump into your photos…LOVE the look of that place! Looks like a rainbow in a town =)
    Toni recently posted..The problem with this blogging thing is…

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha, I don’t mind at all, Toni! Wouldn’t it be great if I could go all “Mary Poppins” with these photos so you really could jump into them?

  16. Greg Goodman says:

    What a great summary of an awesome-looking town! I had no idea it even existed. Your photography does an amazing job of capturing the feel of the town with vibrance and love. Me thinks I’m about to get lost on your site for a while :)

    Greg
    Greg Goodman recently posted..London’s Iconic Big Ben in Motion: Photo of the Day

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks, Greg! I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos. I had a lot of fun taking them.

      And yes, please get as lost on my site as you’d like! :)

  17. Krista C. says:

    I love a good hippy town or neighborhood. I have never heard of Yellow Springs even though I’m from Illinois. I have been to many hippy friendly towns, Port Townsend, WA, Santa Cruz, CA, Portland, OR, Arcata, CA, etc.
    That yarnbombing is awesome, so cute.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      The yarnbombing I think is one of my favorite things in Yellow Springs! It’s just so fun and random.

      And perhaps you should plan a trip over to Southwest Ohio sometime in the future to visit this town for yourself! Illinois isn’t that far away. :)

  18. Bluegreen Kirk says:

    Hippie towns always get my vote especially one that has that much salt water taffy. Its a mystery trying to find that where I am now. Love the colors and that slice of cake look delicious!

  19. D Bryce says:

    I’m always fascinated by the response articles about Yellow Springs gets. I’ve yet to read one derogatory remark about my home town. Every time I go home it gets harder to leave (living in NC now). When I lived in Colorado, Manitou Springs would always give me that feeling of home. Hope it hasn’t changed.

  20. Dawn says:

    I grew up outside of YSO and now live just up the road into Clark Co. I love the town because it is eclectic and diverse. You can always find a good meal and drink at Peaches. There are artistic stores in which to find the perfect unique gift. And, there are some wonderful street fairs and weekend events to attend. If you’ve never been there, make a trip. Walk down through Glen Helen. See the Yellow Springs. Bring your bike or blades and hit the bike trail. You won’t be disappointed.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I love all the little shops in town. You’re right — you can find the perfect unique gift there, no matter what you’re looking for!

  21. Suzy says:

    I didn’t know about Yellow Springs, Ohio before this article. It seems like it has an interesting history, perfect for ending up somewhat quirky! I love all of the colors. I bet Yellow Springs even looks bright in winter.
    Suzy recently posted..Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland Wishes You Were Here

    • DangerousBiz says:

      The colors are great. I think it would be impossible for anyone to visit, walk through town, and leave in a bad mood. Everything just looks so cheery.

  22. Tom Stickler says:

    Clifton Gorge was a favorite hiking spot fifty years ago for my wife and me, and a visit to Yellow Springs was always part of the trip. Antioch College also accounts for the local vibe. It experienced some difficulties a few years back. Does it still exist?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Antioch is still there, but it’s currently closed. I heard they were going to try and reopen it this fall, but I’m not sure if that is actually going to happen or not…

  23. [...] the dull highway and took the scenic route through rich farmland and sleepy towns, stopping in Yellow Springs for [...]

  24. Cincy says:

    Yes, Yellow Springs is a feel-good place. I live in Cincinnati, work in Dayton, and have managed to make it over to Yellow Springs to hike in Glen Helen and Clifton Gorge. Young’s Dairy during the fall is fun. The shops tend to lean toward incense, beads, and funky clothing, but it’s a nice diversion.

    I just read today that Antioch College – which recently reopened – is offering free tuition:

    http://financiallyfit.yahoo.com/finance/article-113840-11763-4-how-to-get-a-106000-college-education-for-free?ywaad=ad0035&nc

  25. [...] a simple vegetable salad, yes, but this salad from Winds Cafe in Yellow Springs, Ohio, still makes my mouth water every time I look at it. Winds only uses fresh, locally-grown [...]

  26. [...] just so fun and random.”  DangerousBiz wrote this comment last year in her article about A Day in Yellow Springs and I  this cartoon drawing and comment my Gillian Gabriel from her article about Yellow Springs [...]

  27. Kendra Cipollini says:

    We have lived in Yellow Springs for 12 years and it is a wonderful community in which to live and raise your children. It’s more than a hippie and artist enclave; it’s also an enclave for academics. We have faculty here from Wright State, Wilmington College, Wilberforce University, Ohio State University, Wittenberg University, Central State University, University of Cincinnati, University of Louisville, Antioch College, Antioch University, University of Colorado and numerous community colleges. (I’m sure I have missed a few.) With all the artistic and academic people here, it is a creative, well-educated, liberal, open-minded and diverse community. We also love YSO because you can park your car and ride your bike or walk everywhere; we still have a hardware store, grocery, drug store, swimming pool and movie theater, so no need to go out of town or drive everywhere to live your daily life. Local activities such at t-ball, baseball, soccer, swim team, ecocamp add to the benefits of raising children here (not to mention a great public school system). A thousand-acre nature preserve practically downtown provides outdoor recreation (and a yellow spring!) as well. I could not imagine living anywhere else. We are glad that you liked it and happy to see your post and your great photos!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      It’s always great to get comments on this post from locals – it’s plain to see how much pride you have for you town, and I love that!

  28. Aaron Maurice Saari says:

    I have lived in Yellow Springs for 25 years; I commute to Cincinnati for work because I refuse to leave my little corner of the world. While I appreciate the beauty of the wider world, there is no place I’d rather be. The people, the art, the TREES, the local food, the schools, and the open-mindedness makes this a most special place to live (and visit). Thanks for the positive review, and come back to see us soon!

  29. Ian M says:

    My mother moved us to Yellow Springs in 1985 from Gainesville, FL and lived there until two years ago. In my yearly visits after I moved on in 1990, YS always felt like it hadn’t changed a bit. Moving my mother out, I began to worry–this was really the only home-town I knew: would I never get back?

    Well, not to worry, it turns out. My wife are moving there from NYC in three weeks. Can’t wait to get home.

    As you note, for me the town’s power is in its acceptance of others and its calm atmosphere. There’s not much to see, but one feels compelled to wander around anyway. Once you leave the town behind and enter southern Ohio proper, it feels like you’ve changed continents. Maybe those utopian roots rubbed off after all.

  30. [...] Yellow Springs was a town about 8 miles from my house. It was notorious for it’s hippy culture, bright colors, liberal Antioch College, and back-to-nature attitude. I felt confident that time travelers would have very little trouble fitting in there.   [...]

  31. Ashlee Conley says:

    I live in Ohio and had no clue this town existed. I was researching/making a list of “hippie” towns in that I would like to visit in the next year and stumbled upon this and so happy I did. It’s about 1 1/2 hrs from me but I’m so excited that I want to get in the car and go now!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      You definitely need to go!!! I would wait until spring or summer when the weather is nicer, but I think you’ll really enjoy it, especially if you were researching “hippie towns”!

      • Ashlee Conley says:

        Yes, I love little towns like that. They have so much character and fits me perfectly! I think I will resist the urge and wait until spring as you suggested. Thanks again.

  32. I had the chance to meet someone who had lived in Yellow Springs for 10 years while working on an organic farm in Connecticut! She was such a cool person and Yellow Springs sounds like such an inspiring place. Can’t wait to visit myself one day! Thanks for the article

  33. Pascal DS says:

    I’m from Belgium, which is (as you may know) in Europe. Far away from Yellow Springs and America in general, but as i’m seeing these pictures and reading about the atmosphere in that nice little town… i’m just aching to go there and spending a day or more… In my dreams right now, i’m just living there for the rest of my life and only getting back to Belgium to see my family and friends.

    I think i just got a hippie-heart too, and here in my country it just feels too, … well, crowded and small, too much traffic, people just rushing and doing their jobs, no nature parks where you can just be at peace… And the atmosphere here is just so old-fashioned, conservative and not at all openminded. And people in general don’t care much for arts, music (and i mean GOOD real music), … It sounds like i just want to escape, and yeah sometimes i really do.

    Some day i’ll visit Yellow Springs and hope to see some nice people and feel the good vibes there. Thanks for posting this article, ‘cuz i never heard of this town before either :) see ya!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge

5.3K Flares Twitter 51 Facebook 876 Google+ 1 StumbleUpon 4.3K Pin It Share 80 5.3K Flares ×