Loosened restrictions allow Oxford area reopenings


The Black Covered Bridge over Four Mile Creek is one of the sites along the Oxford Area Trail System. Observer file photo

By Casey Brosokas

Even with COVID-19 restrictions loosening up in Ohio and across the country, many activities and places are still off limits. But, there are a number of outdoor activities around Oxford that are open to those willing to practice safe-distancing.

Miami University and Oxford Area Trail System

The Oxford Area Trail System (OATS) offers hiking trails surrounding Miami University and the town of Oxford. The trail system is the perfect place to enjoy a summer day in Oxford and get your steps in! Historical markers like the Black Covered Bridge and nature spots for bird watching can be found along the trails.

The Oxford Area Trail System also offers paved pathways for riding bikes. Access points for the OATS are located at the Black Covered Bridge, Leonard G. Howell Park, and the Dewitt Homestead Parking Lot. More information on the access points can be found on the OATS community organization website.

Hueston Woods State Park

Hueston Woods State Park has also recently reopened its hiking trails to the public. The state park is a 15 minute drive from Oxford and sits on 645 acres of land, offering more than enough hiking trails for a visit. Once it gets hot enough, visitors can even take a dip in Acton Lake to cool off after a long hike.

Another fun activity at Hueston Woods is  a day on the water with family or friends. Hueston Woods also offers camping during the summer, which has recently been made available due to the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, as per order of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

Hueston Woods State Park is also home to an 18-hole championship golf course. The golf course is a great place to take in the beauty of southwest Ohio while getting some exercise and fresh air. The golf course is operating under a new set of protocols to limit the touchpoints and interactions between golfers for the safest golfing experience available.

Presidential Byway Tour

The Presidential Byway Tour is a 47-mile-long drive that takes visitors through the history of the lives of two U.S. presidents who were raised in southwest Ohio, William Henry Harrison and his grandson, Benjamin Harrison. This scenic route starts at Shawnee Lookout Park, in Hamilton County, and ends north of Shawnee at Hueston Woods State Park.

Oxford parks

While playgrounds and playground equipment are still strictly off limits, the parks in the Oxford area are still great places to get a walk in, play some frisbee with friends, or even read a book. Peffer Park, located at 915 Chestnut Lane, offers walking paths and an open green field to enjoy the nice weather. Leonard G. Howell Park, located at 5094 Bonham Road, also offers a big open area for activities and walking paths that feed into the Miami University Trail System.

The Conrad Formal Gardens are located on the northeast edge of Miami University’s campus and offer a beautiful landscape for a picnic or even a photo op. The Formal Gardens has an extensive flower garden and two ponds with fountains that are stocked with elegant Koi fish.

Oxford Community Park, 6801 Fairfield Road, and Oxford Memorial Park, 2 E. High St, are also great locations for a family picnic or a spot to practice some mindfulness in the beautiful weather.

Four Mile Creek

Another open public area to consider visiting is the Four Mile Creek Metropark, located at 3742 Lanes Mill Road in Oxford. Although some say it can hardly be considered a park due to the lack of open areas, there is a place to park a car, and visitors can walk along the bed of the creek for some time in the sun. This is a great spot to bring a dog for a nice little adventure!

Indian Creek Metropark

This park, located 15 minutes south of Uptown Oxford at 6500 Springfield Road, offers a plethora of activities to do in the summer heat. The park has many hiking trails for beginners, intermediates, and even those looking to challenge themselves. It is also home to Bunker Hill Cemetery and the Pioneer Church, both popular historical sites for visitors.

The park is a great spot for birding and observing nature, as well as exploring the waterway for native flora and fauna.

Brookville Lake

Brookville Lake in Brookville, Indiana is a great spot for fishing during the summer season. Located under 30 minutes west of Oxford, it is a convenient spot for a day trip and a great spot for catching bluegill and trout during the summer season.

After some fishing, Brookville Lake also offers hiking trails and many spots for a nice picnic on the lake. This is a great spot for families or some solo fishing to clear the mind during these times.

Get a drink

Restaurants in Oxford are now open to the public for indoor and outdoor seating arrangements, all while following the specific protocols given by Gov. Mike DeWine. High Street is lined with many local businesses and restaurants looking for the support of residents.

Books & Brews, 107 E. Church St., runs drink specials every night of the week and will be starting back up their live music events on Friday nights in the near future. The outdoor seating area is a spot to relax in a quieter part of the Uptown area.

Skippers Pub, 121 E. High St., is also offering indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating area gives customers a great view of High Street and the nightlife of Oxford. Ask for a beer tower and stay for a good time.

Fiesta Charra, 25 W. High St., only has indoor seating available, but as long as you are social distancing, the environment on the inside of the restaurant is exactly what residents may need to feel like they are outside of Oxford for the evening. The restaurant offers authentic Mexican food.