Guest Post By: Rachel Rieger
A national company located in Hudson, Ohio, Leaf Filter , has the pulse on America’s housing market and decided to help its customers in their search for the perfect place to call home by collecting data on cities across the country. Analyzing statistics like home value, household income, and population (among many other factors), the company compiled the Top 20 Places to Settle Down.
As a College of Wooster graduate, I was elated to see that my little college town made the cut.
Wooster is perhaps one of America’s best kept secrets. At a glance, many don’t realize just how much this little town has to offer. This is a place brimming with small town charm and community pride.
I can say that in my four years as an honorary resident, I discovered a ton of awesome nooks and crannies to please every generation.
1) Fantastic Food Scene
Wooster’s growing downtown district is quite impressive! The wide variety of cuisines will surely satisfy any palette. Here are some of my favorite picks:
Old Jaol Restaurant and Tavern tops my list of favorite spots in Wooster. With friendly servers, lively atmosphere, and tasty food, it’s no wonder my friends and I made this our go-to choice for a fun girls’ night out.
Broken Rocks has some of the best chicken marsala I’ve ever tasted. It’s truly the perfect spot for a romantic Friday date night!
Local Roots was just up and coming when I was still a student at COW, but I remember stopping there for a quick snack a time or two. With the array of top-notch produce this year-round farm market co-op offers, their sustainable, locally sourced farm-to-table philosophy is certainly easy to get behind.
JAFB Brewing Company, while also new during my tenure at Wooster, offered a comfortable mix of local figures and college students looking to broaden their horizons.
2) Top Notch Shopping Options
At the north end of the city, you can find chain stores and restaurants galore. But the real gems are nestled in Wooster’s downtown district.
When the weather was good, one of my favorite pastimes was to take the short walk from campus to the downtown area, where I’d explore the local shops for the afternoon.
Books in Stock, with its selection of rare and used books, drew me in like a magnet. They carry everything imaginable – from long-forgotten childhood favorites to recent bestsellers I hadn’t had the time to pick up because of my coursework.
Lucky Records had also just opened when I was finishing my degree (are you noticing a trend here? Wooster is rapidly expanding!). It’s the perfect place to pick up a Christmas gift for your mom who loves Journey, and for your trendy best friend who can’t get enough of vintage tunes.
Pine Tree Barn is, hands down, my go-to place for getting Halloween pumpkins, Christmas trees, and outdoor décor. It’s a little off the beaten path compared to the other downtown locations I’ve mentioned, but make sure to check it out and enjoy the countryside views!
3) Opportunities for adventure
If you’re looking for family-friendly fun, Wooster is a great place to be! Here are a few places that hosted some of my best memories:
Acres of Fun is a great pick for all ages. With a putt-putt course, go-karts, indoor roller-skating arena, laser tag, and arcade games galore, no one can possibly be bored here!
Ramseyer Farms is the best spot for fall fun! Find your way through their giant, twisting corn maze, take a hayride, or pick your perfect pumpkin for carving here!
Movies 10 always has the best movies, and is the perfect rainy day activity! Pre-purchase tickets to a midnight premier for a big franchise movie for even more fun (I dressed in costume to see the premier of Catching Fire here, and it’s in my top 5 college memories!)
The Ohio Light Opera, which calls Wooster home, is a great source of entertainment if you love operetta and musical theater! These performances are so high quality, you’ll feel like you’re attending a show on Broadway.
4) First Rate Schools
Okay, maybe I’m a little biased with this one, but, The College of Wooster is truly a great asset to the Wooster community.
The formidable Kauke Arch can be seen when approaching the city from the south, and the campus continues to lend to the small town charm from there. Not to be forgotten is COW’s independent study program, which many students choose to tackle right in the community!
The Wooster City School District is also excellent. With a state-of-the-art high school, and wonderfully supportive staff, this is a school district that will help your child grow into a well-rounded citizen.
5) Breathtaking Views
As with many college students, I had a bit of wanderlust during my stay at Wooster (who am I kidding, I still do!). But I always stopped short of buying an expensive plane ticket or booking a hotel.
Instead, I ventured outside of campus to take in some of the amazing views right in my own backyard, so to speak.
Christmas Run Park was a favorite spot of mine for sightseeing. I discovered Christmas Run while volunteering as a freshman. With the giant wooden castle of a playground and beautiful walking trail, I found the perfect place to commune with nature.
I’ll save you from an endless list of places to catch a view in Wooster. But, I will leave you with this picture I took at L.C. Boles Golf Course (by The Wooster Inn) the morning after pulling a classic college all-nighter. Doesn’t that look like the perfect place to settle down?
Rachel attended the College of Wooster from 2010 to 2014, which now seems like a lifetime ago. She currently works at Leaf Filter, Inc. where she works with a remarkable team to help customers protect their biggest asset – their homes.
Here’s Rachel after she completed her own Independent Study!
Thank you Rachel for your great guest post-we loved having an article written from a College of Wooster Alumni point of view.