We’re coming off of an exciting race weekend at Mid-Ohio, where Blake Koch scored a track-best start and finish. Here at LeafFilter Racing, we’re pumped to see what the next race will bring. But, we also know that getting there is half the fun of it! This leg of the track-to-track road trip will have you going to some little-known gems, as well as tried and true favorites. So what are you waiting for? Strap on that seatbelt, and hit the road already!
Last race: August 12 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Next race: August 18 at Bristol Motor Speedway
Time on the road: About 7 hours
Best route: I-77 South
Start Your Engines
Remember stopping in Columbus, OH in week 3 of the road trip? Well, this week, we’re going to explore just a little bit further outside the big city, in a town called Westerville. At over 36,000 residents, Westerville is far from a small town, but you’ll certainly get the same warm welcome you’d find in one!
Get the local experience by making your first stop at Graeter’s. Here, you’ll get to enjoy the lusciously creamy ice cream that locals have loved since 1900. Next check out the Uptown Deli & Brew, featuring refreshing craft beers by Temperance Row Brewing Company, as well as delicious deli creations. Or, if it’s still a little too early in the day for ice cream or sandwiches, stop by Jimmy V’s Grill & Pub for a hearty brunch. For a little twist on your breakfast favorites, we recommend the breakfast quesadilla or the monster grilled cheese.
If you’ve got a young travel buddy, Westerville has a few fun spots for them too! The Naturally Curious Kids toy shop is sure to delight. And the Inniswood Metro Gardens is a place the whole family can enjoy while strolling through the 121-acre wonderland. Then, take the little ones for a tea party at the Asterisk Supper Club. This charming spot, with its floor to ceiling bookshelves, will take you back to simpler times as you sip on tasty tea and nibble on a finger sandwich or two.
Next up, we’re stopping in Athens, OH, home of Ohio University (not to be confused with Ohio State University!). The college town certainly has a lot to offer visitors. There are many dining options, but OMG! Rotisserie should be first on your list. It might seem obvious, but you absolutely must order a chicken dish, and top it off with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy. If you’re not in the mood for chicken, a trip to Kiser’s Barbecue is in order. Here, you’ll get a taste of true, down home barbecue favorites. Finally, top off at Jackie O’s Brewery, and take a tour of the facility while you’re at it!
With a college campus in town, lodging option in Athens are nearly endless. For a must-experience camping excursion, Hocking Hills, located just outside of town, is a wonderful option. You’ll never want to leave this little slice of heaven. But if camping isn’t quite your style, the Bodhi Tree Guest House & Studio is a unique place where you can truly unwind for the night.
Charleston is the place to find food like you’ve never experienced it before. First, grab some of the local goods to snack on at Capitol Market (the truffles at the Holl’s Swiss Chocolatier booth, alone, are worth the stop!). Then, get the perfect pairing at Black Sheep Burrito and Brews. Or, if burritos aren’t your thing (which is doubtful), go to Laury’s Restaurant for a mouthwatering filet or decadent seafood risotto. Are you traveling with your significant other? Have a date night at The Chop House instead. Their prix fixe menu will satisfy any palette. Just be sure to save room for a hand crafted drink or a glass of one of their 500 wines at The Block Restaurant and Wine Cellar.
If you have any room left for delicious foods after your stop in Charleston, well, you might be a bottomless pit. But, fear not, Wytheville has some tasty treasures as well. Nothing will satisfy like a slaw-dog from the hot dog experts at Skeeter’s Hot Dogs. And when we say experts, we mean it. They’ve been around since 1925! Didn’t get to Skeeter’s in time for lunch? The Wohlfhart Haus Dinner Theater is another great option. The German-themed dinner theater will provide live entertainment and one-of-a-kind dinner options in one place.
After you’ve had your fill, take it easy for a bit and head on over to Snoopers Antique Mall. With constantly rotating offerings, you never know what sorts of goodies you’ll find to take home. Missing all the NASCAR excitement? A night at Wythe Raceway might fill the void. Not only can you catch an adrenaline-filled race, but you can even camp there for the night! Or, if you’re not in the mood to rough it, head on over to the Bolling Wilson Hotel, and ask for a room with a view of the sprawling, scenic landscape below.
Last Stop: Bristol, TN
It’s time to get pumped – we’ve finally made it to race weekend! Before you head on over to the track to cheer on Blake in the Food City 300, check out these Top 7 Hot Spots Around Bristol Motor Speedway. From paintballing to a drive-in movie theater to a bakery and more, Bristol is jam packed with awesome things to see and do.
Did you find any hot spots we didn’t mention? Tell us in the comments or let us know on Facebook!