The Visitors Center is the first place to stop when you go to Carriage Hill Farm. Here you will find a small museum with artifacts and large photos of the Arnold Family who originally settled this property in the 1800’s. A small theater shows a film about the farm and there is a reproduction child size farm playroom all on the first floor. The Country Store is located below.
Taking either the wide stairway or the elevator to the lower level you enter a very charming Country Store. The store was originally housed in one of the family homes of the Arnold Family. It was located in a little yellow cottage which was a hoot and a holler away from the main house. It belonged to one of the Arnold children. It served as the farm offices and as the little country store. When the farm became part of the Five River Metro Parks, a Visitors Center was built and the little Country Store was moved.
Once inside you cannot tell you are no longer in the cottage. It is exactly the same with just a few minor changes. Changes that anyone might make anyway. The main reason it is so popular is the wall of candy in bins to choose from. The families line up as the come in. Everyone expects to wait. Each child in turn ponders and chooses his candy according to the money clutched in his hands. No one is impatient because they know when it is their turn no one will be rushing their child to hurry up, least of all the very patient proprietor dressed in 1880 garb.
Until recently all candy was exactly one cent per piece even at a loss to the store. Now the candy is sold for pennies. 2, 3, 4, or 5 pennies per piece and the variety is still the same old fashioned candies they have always carried. Squirrel Nut Chews, licorice, lemon drops, root beer barrels, Swedish Fish, Sixlets, malted milk balls, really, too many to list. Behind the counter are large glass jars with more choices. Maple sugar leaves are fifty cents as is pop and dill pickles from the barrel.
It is fun to see children order, change their mind, reorder and watch them count their money left so they can choose more. The candies are taken out and counted and placed in a little paper sack. The sack is given to the child and you can watch them digging in as they wait for their brothers and sisters to choose. Sometimes you may wait for quite some time and mothers take this time to inspect the rest of the Country Store while fathers stand with the children.
There are reproduction paper dolls, vintage style new books, old fashioned kitchen ware such as cookie cutters and utensils like potato mashers. Beautiful pottery bowls and dishes are available. Stuffed bears and toys, bolts of calico, tin toys, some jewelry, tin yard ornaments and cases of items that used to be sold but are now on display.
There is a loom for weaving rugs, placemats, and table runners. Sometimes there is a costumed person running it but at the present time it is silent. The items were sold in the store once upon a time. It has been some years now.
After the candy has been chosen by each family member, including mothers and fathers of course, the families walk out to the patio area which is landscaped in wild grasses and old fashioned shrubs. In the fall you will find cornstalks tied at the posts and leaves scuttling and catching in clumps. Here are old fashioned benches, wood table and chairs or sturdy metal picnic tables with wide umbrellas to shelter you from the sun or rain. In the distance you can view the horses in the field and an area where lambs and ewes are occasionally placed surrounded by a log fence.
A visit to the Country Store is a must when you come out to Carriage Hill Farm!
The Country Store at Carriage Hill Farm is famous in the Dayton Ohio area. It is located right off I-70 just a couple of miles from I-75 at 7800 E. Shull Road, Huber Heights, OH 45424.
It is open 10-5 M-S and 12-5 on Sundays
Source: Personal visits and from the Carriage Hill Farm Web Link