Best of the Burbs: A day in Dublin

Nicholas Dekker, Columbus Alive contributor
Menya Noodle House

Begin your day in Dublin with a filling breakfast atJack & Benny's Barnstormer Diner(2160 W. Case Rd.). The diner's second location (after the campus-adjacent original) is tucked neatly into Hangar One of the Ohio University Airport at Don Scott Field. The scarlet-and-gray themed space is lined with photos of planes, pilots and astronauts, providing the backdrop for a hearty breakfast of huevos rancheros, Buckeye pancakes or the famed Gutbuster. Bonus trip after the meal: Work off the calories by climbing the old control tower in the terminal building next door, where you can watch planes coming and going from the observation deck.

Bike or drive your way toGlacier Ridge Park (9801 Hyland-Croy Rd.) in the northwest corner of Dublin. With more than 1,000 acres to explore, the park offers two bike trails, an 18-hole disc golf course and trails for seasonal horseback riding or cross-country skiing. The expansive park is named for the glaciers that carved it out centuries ago, and in the past it functioned as rolling farmland. Now visitors can explore its wetlands via a series of boardwalks or climb the 25-foot observation tower to try to spot all manner of birds. Glacier Ridge also highlights the surprising amount of park space around Dublin; over 60 parks dot the suburb, many connected to more than 100 miles of bike paths.

TheDublin Arts Council's Riverboxes project combines locally made artwork with the fun of letterboxing and geocaching. (Letterboxing is a form of treasure hunting where seekers leave letters in hidden waterproof boxes and then post clues about where to find them; geocaching is the specific use of GPS coordinates to discover the items.) Local artists created the Riverboxes, which are scattered around the Scioto River and its tributaries in Dublin. Pick up a brochure from the Dublin Arts Council (7125 Riverside Dr.) to get started hunting, and bring a journal to record what you find.

After a big breakfast and a busy morning of park exploration,TehKu Tea Company(55 S. High St.) in Historic Dublin is an optimal spot for a quick warmup. The cozy teahouse is decorated in natural colors, offering a soothing and quiet atmosphere to catch your breath. Trust the tea experts for recommending the perfect sip for your palate, then pair your drink with house-made scones, soups and other bites. TehKu also serves as an ideal base for further exploration of the walkable historic neighborhood. And if you're up for more outdoor adventures, visit the waterfalls at nearby Indian Run.

Menya Noodle House (331 W. Bridge St.) has become a go-to for slurping big bowls of authentic ramen. You can kick back in the eatery and enjoy both meat- and veggie-centric ramen, rice balls and dumplings. The pork-based tonkotsu broths are the big sellers, especially the garlicky and spicy black tonkotsu. The simple décor may not win awards, but the rich bowls of ramen make it a cozy spot you'll want to hole up in all day. Bonus for the parents: Menya features a kids' play area.

The spacious and colorfulDiamonds Ice Cream (5461 Bethel Sawmill Center) was recently named the top ice cream shop in Ohio by BuzzFeed. The Mexican ice cream parlor serves more than 40 house-made ice creams at any given time, but the real treats are in the small, rectangular cases at the end of the row: paletas. Paletas are popsicles made with fresh fruits, cookies, spices and sometimes even vegetables. Each frozen treat packs an aromatic punch, from the watermelon, mango or cookies and cream, to the butter pecan, pine nut or cucumber with chili pepper. Each one is a perfect ending to a day of exploring Dublin.