A few weeks ago I packed my three kids in the car and we headed for Butler County, Ohio. I knew Butler County was near my two very best friends who live in Cincy and home to the first IKEA in Ohio but other than that I knew nothing about the area. I was ready to explore the infamous donut trail with my family, and watch my son geek out at EnterTrainment Junction, my kids were excited to explore and of course more than ready to check into our hotel. Hotels for my kids are like the coolest things ever. They love everything about them - and they have more than once asked if we could take a staycation and go to a hotel in Columbus - for the pool of course. Apparently our house just can't compete with a hotel. My husband had a work meeting Saturday morning, so we went without him Friday afternoon and he met us there Saturday early afternoon. Traveling for my first time with all three kids was definitely an adventure but one I wouldn’t trade for the world.
I had the entire car packed and ready to go so that we could leave right after school pickup, which made it really easy for me because it gave all three of my kids an opportunity to nap and it helped us bypass almost all traffic. We got to the hotel around 6 and got all checked in, they had super cute little welcome bags for us, which was such a treat after a long drive with the three kiddos. Those bags came in handy later when my kids were “STARVING” and I had forgot our snacks in the car. :( I was luckily able to park very close to the doors which was such a blessing because we had so much stuff as you can see in the picture below. I like to go prepared for every situation so we’re never caught off guard. Games to entertain the older kids, snacks, lots of diapers, emergency formula for the baby, and of course their special blankets and security items. This trip that was even more important because I was solo for the first half of the trip. No time for error! ;-)
Friday evening we just relaxed at the hotel, played games, watched television, and ordered LaRosa’s Pizza. I ordered a medium for myself and the two older kids but I definitely should have added a breadstick or salad because the one pizza wasn’t enough to truly fill us up. We had a really nice refrigerator and kitchen area so I wish I would have used that a little more. Next time :)
Saturday morning my kids woke me up by jumping on the bed eager to get out the door and hit the donut trail. Our first stop was a donut shop not far from out hotel in West Chester. Stan The Donut Man was the perfect first stop and the wonderful ladies who worked there gave us a bag full of delicious donuts and a few extra passports so my kiddos could each have one. Next up we hit Milton’s Donut Shop, which housed my favorite donut, made out of a croissant. Not quite a cronut in form but delicious all the same. I don’t think I can ever eat a regular donut again. We then headed to Martin’s Donuts, known forever by my kids as the pink donut shop. They have a fruity pebble donut that was a favorite for both of my kids. By the time we left Martin’s my kids admitted they had full bellies and wanted to finish the donut trail the next morning, so we decided to head to our next stop...EnterTRAINment Junction.
EnterTRAINment Junction is any train lover's dream and I have two in my family, my son and my husband. I was actually really disappointed that my husband missed this part of our trip, I knew he would have loved it. We plan to go back soon though, so no worries. The kids really loved it, from the model trains, the train themed play space, and the actual train ride that they got to ride, they were on cloud 9. I can’t wait to go back as a whole family and watch my husband and son go crazy over the model trains. Of course, they have a gift shop that was incredibly hard to pull my kids out of.
We decided to stick with the train them and head to Bagger Dave’s near our hotel for lunch. The menu, cups, and other decor was focused around trains and there was a model train moving throughout the restaurant. At this point it was kind of a blur, because all three of my kids needed naps, and I needed my husband to get to town pronto. I do know I order a veggie burger and fries and really loved it, my daughter ordered the mac n cheese and my son had a burger. They both scarfed down their meals which was a huge win! Our waitress was incredibly kind and really went above and beyond my expectations. At one point my daughter thought she wanted to order the sloppy joe and the waitress went back and got her a sample so she would try it - like that never happens!! That was just one of many things she did during that visit that made me feel a little more relaxed, and as a mom alone with three kids in a new city - that was HUGE!!!
After lunch we headed back to our hotel so the kids could relax and it was the perfect meeting spot because my husband was in town!! Finally! It should go without saying that I adore my kids, but it was hard work being out of town alone with 3 kids under the age of 6. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our trip - the part my husband got to join us on. Drive in movie, delicious breakfast, and one of the most beautiful parks in Ohio.
I can’t wait to share all about that with you soon, but for now here are some of our pictures from Day 1. Have you ever been to Butler County? I highly recommend it.