Destination: Yellow Springs, Ohio – Fall Weekend Yoga Workshop
by Marcia Neundorfer of Advanced RV
Friday: Dry-camping in Yellow Springs parking lot
Mike and I depart from home at 1:00PM for the 3-½ hour drive to Yellow Springs, OH, just east of Dayton, OH, where we are participating in a weekend yoga retreat. It is 89 degrees F, humid and sunny. We are driving the Advanced RV model called Pebbles, built on an arctic white standard length Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis, with a contemporary, light interior warmed by brown leather/cream suede twin beds. This interior, a weekend away and finally being on the road energize me. After a half hour, I take over the driving. We enjoy the Coffee House channel on Satellite radio, which creates a good vibe for what we’ve heard is the hippie-throw back town of Yellow Springs.
We arrive in this funky village at 4:30PM. First, we find the Bryan Community Center, where the yoga workshop will be. There is a huge parking lot, the Police Department is in the building and the center’s bathrooms are open 24 hours, so Mike suggests dry camping right here. Maybe, but I have made reservations at John Bryan State Park, two miles away, but since we were only able to get a non-electric site, we’d be dry camping anyway. But, I’m picturing a lush, green, quiet park so I am not yet convinced to stay in a parking lot in town. We park on Dayton St., in front of a Laundromat where two older guys, one with a foot-long white beard, are chatting on a bench. We walk past small shops and eateries, and stop in a bike shop for a look. On Xenia Ave., the next leg of the triangle which forms the town, we find the tiny Sunrise Café, where we have an early dinner, enjoying fresh wheat/rosemary rolls, garlic and rum sautéed flaming shrimp, and veggetti and beetballs (spaghetti squash topped with vegetarian meatballs). All was delicious. Mike admired the booths and trim all made of walnut.
We get back to the Community Center at 6PM for the 6:30 session and get the last few spots for our yoga mats. Everyone else apparently knew to get here early. There are 106 participants on mats lined up on the gym floor, facing a stage to participate in this workshop with Erich Schiffmann, teaching the Essentials of Freedom Style Yoga. At 8:30PM, after this first session ends, Mike talks to the police dispatcher who assures me that it is fine to camp in the parking lot. We save a trip in the dark to the State Park and go explore the town at night on foot. At Emporium Wines/Underdog Café on Xenia Ave, we find a wine tasting and a young band doing 60’s covers interspersed with their originals. It is a small, age-diverse crowd, with some people sitting at the few tables, some standing like us among cases of wine, and a few dancing in front of the band. Everyone is friendly and laid back.
We pull the curtains on our camper, crank up the fan and fall asleep, grateful that it had cooled off enough that we did not need the AC.
Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014: It Takes a Village, Yellow Springs, OH
About 7AM we are awakened by people getting ready to bike the Little Miami Scenic Trail, which passes right behind our camper on its 19-mile route between Xenia and Springfield. In the parking lot we meet another yoga participant and walk up the short hill into town in search of breakfast. Down S. Walnut St. we discover a large farmer’s market with produce, flowers and fresh bakery. A local woman, loading her purchases into her bike basket, recommends the bakery stand in the corner for ciabatta bread and almond croissants, which she warns us, sell out quickly. The first bakery stand we come to is not the one, but when I point out to Mike the wheat/rosemary bread we had last night, this baker says he makes all the bread for the Sunrise Café. We buy a loaf. At the Blue Oven stand the almond croissants are gone, but we buy a ciabatta bread. The houses on this street are old wood-framed, probably pre-Civil War, but painted well with pretty yards and flower gardens. Back on Xenia Ave., there is a very old log cabin that houses Ye Olde Trail Tavern. For breakfast, we sit outside at the Underdog Café, where Mike and I share a good breakfast burrito.
After the first yoga session, which is excellent, we eat lunch out of our camper at a picnic table under the trees. This Community Center is well used. The Police Department is inside, there is a game room where last night we saw a young mother and several kids hanging out, and the large gym is usually open for sports. After our picnic lunch we walk up into town for a coffee and bump into another yoga student at the Spirited Goat Coffee House. Their cookies are made by the first baker we met this morning. The owner invites us to come back tonight to hear a local 13-year-old girl he has invited to sing for Saturday’s live music. A community, “it takes a village” spirit pervades this place.
In the afternoon session, Mike asks Erich Schiffmann a question. Erich first responds that we have a cool van, which he had seen outside. Later that afternoon, while we are relaxing at the picnic table, one of the yoga students asks to see our van. I give her a tour as she takes pictures for her boyfriend, an architect, who she is sure will love our clean design. Then, she tells me that a good friend of hers, Jen Kogen, was meeting people from an RV company in Cleveland to discuss an RV rental business. That was us at Advanced RV and our good collaborator from California!
That evening we meet Tina, our yoga teacher from Willoughby, her husband Greg and another yoga student from Cleveland at the Winds Wine Cellar on Xenia Ave. for a wine tasting. We then move next door to The Winds Cafe for dinner. While waiting for our table, we nod to Dave Chappelle who is picking up take-out. He gives us a friendly, “How you all doing?” He grew up in Yellow Springs where his father was a professor at Antioch College and now he lives here with his three kids. We have a delicious mostly vegetarian dinner, surrounded by tables filled with other happy yoga participants. I am touched again by the feeling of community.
Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014: Dumping, good-bye and plans to return to Yellow Springs, OH
First thing, while it is still dark we drive the foggy road to John Bryan State Park to use the dump station. Although it appeared that we were dumping illegally under cover of early dawn, we had paid for two nights camping, which we didn’t use. The park is open and natural, with green, gentle hills. It is mostly tent camping, with lots of bicycles, and no large campers. We have our last breakfast back at the Underdog Café, happy to find Tina and Greg already there. When the session is over, we are sorry to say good-bye to Erich, the organizers Patricia and Andrew, and the other students. Mike and I make a quick exit, but stop to see the field of sunflowers just north of town on the west side of Rt. 68. Mike has a new camera and is experimenting with black and white shots. Unfortunately, he later learned that he could not convert black and white to color, so please imagine yellow sunflowers. Already, we are talking about returning next year for this yoga workshop. Whenever we are near this area, we will plan to stop in Yellow Springs for a bike ride on the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail, a hike at Glen Helen Nature Preserve, or at least a good meal in town.