Photo courtesy of the Dayton Daily News.
If you enjoy Christmas lights, are anywhere near Ohio and haven’t experienced the Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill, you need to drop what you’re doing and go right now.
Seriously kids, it is a beautiful experience.
On a regular day, the historic mill in the village of Clifton is home to a nice restaurant. The mill was built in 1802 and there’s a very pretty covered bridge on site as well
But during the holidays it becomes a popular destination for kids of all ages. In addition to being adorned with four million lights, the property is home to a miniature village, vintage toy display and Santa Museum.
The lights are turned on with a single switch, making for a dramatic opening at 6 p.m. each night. But never fear if you can’t be there at 6. They turn off the lights twice an hour each evening, submerging the crowd into darkness, before flipping the switch and turning it on again. This allows everyone the opportunity to experience that special moment when everyone goes “oooh.”
They even have a laser light display that’s timed to the dramatic music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
As much as I loved the lights, I may have loved the miniature village and Santa Museum of 3,600 unique Santas best.
This event is nationally recognized and they actually received a ton of publicity last year after winning a $50,000 prize on a tv show.
The introverts in the crowd will understand when I say that I didn’t love the crowd. I stopped here last year on my way home from an after Christmas road trip the last Saturday in December.
This was extremely poor timing.
My goodness, there where people everywhere and parking was a real challenge. While event parking is free, some enterprising neighbors sell yard and driveway parking so I happily tossed ten bucks at the problem in favor of parking just a block or two away.
I will absolutely go back but I would want my next visit to be on a weeknight when it’s not so busy.
If you go, they take plastic and cash. The cost is $10 per person but kids three and under are free.
I would aim for a weeknight as opposed to a weekend because it was almost too crowded to truly enjoy when I was there. I was fine on my own but would have worried about little kids getting stepped on or lost in the crowd.
While they do sell light concessions like hot dogs, popcorn and hot chocolate, the restaurant is closed and there’s nothing with any nutritional value. In other words, eat dinner before you go. Personally, I would go to Young’s Dairy about ten minutes up the road. They have a really good menu and a delicious veggie burger.
Visit the Clifton Mill website for a full history and all the details you need before you go. It’s under an hour from Columbus, thirty minutes from Dayton and ninety minutes from my community in Vinton County. And it’s well worth the drive.
If you want to make it an overnight adventure, there’s plenty to do in Dayton plus outlet mall shopping at nearby Jeffersonville and acres of planes at the Air Force Museum. Not to mention a gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright Home in Springfield and an overwhelming amount of antiquing to be had in Springfield.
Geeze Louise, guys! I haven’t told you about any of those things. I’ll make a note to take you along on a Springfield antiquing trip and to the Wright house that happens to have a fun story of its own.
Please note that the above be picture is not my own. I thought I had taken pictures but am finding none so I borrowed a photo from the Dayton Daily News.
Now go and play your trip to see the big light display at Clifton Mill!