The Big Darby Plains Scenic Byway - Worth the Drive
Byway (noun) – a less traveled side road.
The words “highway” and “byway” are often coupled together and thrown around as a means of describing conduits of transportation. In reality though, highways and byways are nothing alike. While one is used as a way to accelerate a trip from point A to point B, the other gives you reason to pause, to harken back to the days of the Sunday Drive. If you’re in the mood to slow your roll, smell the roses (or the wild petunias) and meander the gorgeous countryside of Union County, we invite you to take a trip along the Big Darby Plains Scenic Byway.
Here’s what you’ll find on this picturesque ride:
Big Darby Creek – One of the best things about the Big Darby Plains Scenic Byway is its easy access to Big Darby Creek. Recognized by The Nature Conservancy as a “national treasure”, this state-designated scenic waterway weaves and winds its way along 84 miles through four different counties. The creek boasts breathtaking scenery, 44 species of freshwater mollusks and 100 different species of fish. If you’re looking for the perfect excuse to unplug, grab your canoe or fishing pole and spend the afternoon floating along Big Darby Creek.
Covered Bridges – In case you haven't noticed, covered bridges are kind of a big deal in these parts. While once plentiful in the United States, they are now a dying breed. Union County is home to six historic covered bridges, which were all built in the late 1860s and 1870s by Reuben Partridge of Marysville, Ohio. Each bridge tells a unique story and remains an important part of the fabric of Union County.
Nature Preserves – Back in the day—we're talking pre 1800s—Ohio was home to more than 1,000 square miles of prairies. The largest concentration of these prairies was in the Darby Plains. While the land was once thought to be unusable, much of it has been tilled, drained and converted into incredibly valuable soil for farming corn and other grains. What hasn’t been developed remains largely untouched. A drive along the Big Darby Plains Scenic Byway should definitely include a stop at Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve, Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve and Milford Center Prairie State Nature Preserve. In addition to peaceful terrain and historic tombstones, you’ll find more than 50 different species of prairie plants, including coneflowers, the previously mentioned wild petunias, prairie grasses, smooth aster and the rare, rough-leaved goldenrod.
Quaint Towns – Other notable points of interest along the Big Darby Plains Scenic Byway include the Village of Plain City, Unionville Center and the Village of Milford Center. From the first Union County courthouse to mom and pop restaurants, hardware stores and the historic Farmers National Bank in Plain City, you’ll enjoy small-town charm and a quiet moment away from the hustle and bustle.